Poetry of the Harlem Renaissance


The Harlem Renaissance, also known as the Black Literary Renaissance, was a revolutionary time for the literary world. During the 1920s and 1930s, African-American culture began to truly flourish. The movement began in the poor urban neighborhood of Harlem in New York City. It is categorized by Africa-American artists, writers, and poets exploring Black America and its history. The movement was meant to challenge both racism and white paternalism as African-American artists began to establish a culture and identity unique to the African-American community. If you perform a people search on the Harlem Renaissance, you will find the most famous artists and writers of the movement.

Gwendolyn B. Bennett

  • Additional Poems: A collection of Gwendolyn B. Bennet’s poems including “Song,” “Lines Written at the Grave of Alexandre Dumas,” “Hatred,” “Secret,” and “Sonnets.”

Arna Bontemps

  • Selected Poems: Has “A Black Man Talks of Reaping,” “Golgotha Is a Mountain,” and “Southern Mansion.”

Countee Cullen

  • Selected Poems: Contains “Incident,” “Tableau,” and “To John Keats, At Spring Time.”
  • "Yet Do I Marvel": Cullen’s poem about the lynching of a black man for a crime he did not commit.

Marion Vera Cuthbert

  • Her Works: Provides the titles of all of her primary and secondary works which have been published in various novels available for purchase.

Alice Dunbar-Nelson

Jessie Redmon Fauset

  • "Oblivion": This page has Jessie Redmon Fauset’s famous poem “Oblivion” transcribed on it.

Angelina W. Grimke

  • Famous Works: Provides link to her poems “Tenerbris,” “The Black Finger,” “A Winter Twilight” and “For The Candle Light.”

Langston Hughes

  • Langston Hughes 2004: Link to a .PDF file of a book that contains all of Langston Hughes’ most famous poems.

Zora Neale Hurston

James Weldon Johnson

  • Five Poems: Provides links to five of James Weldon Johnson’s famous poems “Brothers,” “The Creation,” “Mother Night,” “O Black and Unknown Bards,” and “The White Witch.”

Nella Larsen

  • "Sanctuary": Link to Nella Larsen’s work “Sanctuary” the story she was accused of having plagiarized from Sheila Kay-Smith.

Claude McKay

  • Many Poems: Link to all of Claude McKay’s many poems including “The Easter Flower,” “Flame-Heart,” “The Tropics in New York,” “America,” “The City’s Love,” and “Adolescence.”

Esther Popel

  • Three Poems: Link to a page that has three of Esther Popel’s famous poems – “Blasphemy,” “God Grant Me Strength,” and “October Prayer.”

Anne Spencer

Jean Toomer

  • Short Stories: Link to a page that has three of Jean Toomer’s short stories: “Becky,” “Seventh Street,” and “Bona and Paul.”

Ida B. Wells-Barnett

Each of these artists had made a significant contribution to society in the 1920s and 1930s. Reading their works will help you appreciate the Harlem Renaissance much more fully.