The first poet I chose from the Harlem Renaissance was the American poet, Countee Cullen This 1920s artistic movement produced the first large body of work in the United States written by African Americans. (Brown, 2012) The work, Yet Do I Marvel, took a racial theme, lynching of a black youth for a crime he did not commit. The poem is stark and makes reference to Sisyphus and speaks of how life is a struggle up a never ending stair. It speaks to God as if to wonder why, knowing that God is benevolent he does not stop the unreasoning actions of brutes against, “flesh that mirrors him”, meaning the black race. (Brown, 2012) This line is important as it shows that the black consciousness is coming to recognition of their own worth taken
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The Grimke family was a bi-racial family whose members included both slave owners and abolitionists. (Angelina. Grimke, 2012 Grimke's mother, Sarah Grimke was a white woman who left her husband with the child since her parents did not approve of the marriage. However, at the age of seven, Angelina returned to her father. While she spoke to her mother, they never saw one another again. (Angelina. Grimke, 2012
The poem chosen by Grimke is, The Eyes of My Regret. She, like Cullen speaks of dragging herself up a well-worn path, reminiscent of his endless stairway. She speaks in colors that are quite beautiful and descriptive and yet they are repetitious and painful for the poet. She speaks of seeing and how the “gold dropping away of the sun” meet and mingle before the trees. She speaks of eyes watching her, “The same two eyes that draw me forth, against my will dusk after dusk” and ends the poem saying these eyes keep her lonely tearless and numb as they are. ”the eyes of my Regret”. (Angelina. Grimke, 2012)
As with Cullen she seems to see life as difficult and the beauty in life is compromised by something inside that pulls her to feel sad and tortured. She was highly educated as Cullen was. Angelina attended prestigious liberal schools in Minnesota and Massachusetts, earning a Physical Education degree at the Boston Normal School of Gymnastics. She later taught at the Armstrong Manual Training School and Dunbar High School in Washington, DC.