Listen up. On this day, The Daddy is feeling Countee Cullen, who was born on May 30, 1903. He was a lyric poet influenced by English poet John Keats.
Cullen is tied to the Harlem Renaissance, that period of great outpouring of literature of black Americans. However, Cullen was different from many of the poets of that time like Langston Hughes in that he wrote in the traditional English style of poets like Keats and Shelley and was resistant to the modernist technique. And he considered poetry to be "raceless." Nonetheless, his best poems dealt with racial themes, such as "The Black Christ."
Cullen wrote a novel dealing with life in Harlem entitled, "One Way To Heaven." He also wrote sonnets and short lyrics. But his best works were in poems, especially poems that hit on themes that lie at the heart of African Americans existence.
His volumes of poetry include:
* Copper Sun,
* The Black Christ, and
* On These I Stand
Perhaps Cullen is best known for the poem "Yet Do I Marvel."
Yet Do I MarvelI doubt not God is good, well-meaning,
And did He stoop to quibble could tell why
The little buried mole continues blind,
Why flesh that mirrors
Him must some day die,
Make plain the reason tortured
Tantalus Is baited by the fickle fruit,
If merely brute caprice dooms Sisyphus
To struggle up a never-ending stair.
Inscrutable His ways are, and immune
To catechism by a mind too strewn
With petty cares to slightly understand
What awful brain compels His awful hand.
Yet do I marvel at this curious thing:
To make a poet black, and bid him sing!