Poetically Speaking

Claude McKayApril is National Poetry Month here in the United States.  National Poetry Month is the largest literary celebration in the world, with tens of millions of readers, students, K-12 teachers, librarians, booksellers, literary events curators, publishers, bloggers, and, of course, poets marking poetry’s important place in our culture and our lives every April.  It was started by the Academy of American Poets in 1996.

Those who follow PaisleyPerspective know that I am a poet.  Of my many activities, poetry is one of my oldest passions in addition to politics and social activism.  I have written poetry since I was nine years old. I’ve studied the art of poetry while in college as well as currently.  There are so many poets I have yet to read and study.  Today the “Poem a Day” poem from the Academy of American poets is by Claude McKay.  I have also received poems by him in February via The Poetry Foundation.  The art of poetry surrounds us each day, especially if we listen to lyrically based music.  Join me in learning about poets of the past and the present.

Claude McKay was born in Jamaica on September 15, 1889. His older brother, who possessed a library of English novels, poetry, and scientific texts, educated him. In 1912, McKay published a book of verse called Songs of Jamaica (Gardner), recording his impressions of black life in Jamaica in dialect.  McKay was a key contributor to the Harlem Renaissance in addition to speaking out against racism.


After the Winter

by: Claude McKay, 1889 – 1948

Some day, when trees have shed their leaves

And against the morning’s white

The shivering birds beneath the eaves

Have sheltered for the night,

We’ll turn our faces southward, love,

Toward the summer isle

Where bamboos spire to shafted grove

And wide-mouthed orchids smile.

And we will seek the quiet hill

Where towers the cotton tree,

And leaps the laughing crystal rill,

And works the droning bee.

And we will build a cottage there

Beside an open glade,

With black-ribbed blue-bells blowing near,

And ferns that never fade.

This poem is in the public domain.


To learn more about Claude McKay click here to visit the Poetry Foundation website.  To learn more about National Poetry Month click here and visit the Academy of American Poets website.  I encourage you to open your mind to the joy of poetry, read a poem, find an event near you, or take your hand at writing a poem

Sources: poetryfoundation.org and poets.org


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