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Expression Of The African American Experience Through Poetry During The Harlem Renaissance

1178 words - 5 pages

Poetry is something that affects everyone that reads it. If you find the kind that you like then you only tend to read that type, and sometimes that is all a person needs because that certain type of poetry is so connected to them. In the Harlem Renaissance era there were a lot of poets who brought African American voices into the mainstream of American society. This is the type of poetry that really touched people and pushed them to read more poetry like it. Langston Hughes, Lucille Clifton and Colleen McElroy were all poets that wrote about what being an African American in the United States was like and what they had to deal with throughout their lives. None of these were happy poems. ...view middle of the document...

African Americans needed to be felt connected to something or someone because a lot of them did not have anyone for a very long time. They did not know if they had family they should be looking for or parents. They knew nothing but what was told to them by other African Americans. When they all became free and some of them had children, this is when this poem comes into play. This is what they are going to tell their children because through it all, “Of shackles and slaves and bill of rights.” They made it and these are the stories that have turned into facts that they will now pass on and believe.
Study the Masters is a poem that Lucille Clifton wrote and it varies in some ways to Hughes and McElroy’s poetry and in other ways is very much the same. This is a poem about a girl watching her Aunt Timmie iron sheets for the master poet and how she had bigger dreams than just ironing. Most African Americans would take any job that they could get and would do anything to try and keep that job, even if they hated it. Some, like Aunt Timmie, had bigger and better dreams. She dreamt in words, “some Cherokee, some masai and some huge and particular hope.” This was something that was not unusual. Her Aunt Timmie wanted more, more for her and for this girl watching her. The girl who was watching her soon is going to become her Aunt Timmie, whether she knows it or not. This is a lot like McElroy’s poem because of how stories were passed down, the skills of how to use an iron are going to be passed down. This differs in a lot of ways because of how this girl learns of these stories, which are not stories but the truth. This is how she is going to live when she is older, and in McElroy’s poem they had already past those stages in her poem.
Langston Hughes is a poet that got through to people about how hard is was to live in a place, like America, where you lived with people that thought of less then you, but you knew that the only difference was a color. Whites did not except blacks. This was the bases of all of this. In his poem Dream Variations it talks...

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