Countee Cullen

Topics: Poetry, Harlem Renaissance, New York City Pages: 1 (405 words) Published: September 6, 2007
Countee Cullen was born May 30, 1903 in New York City, Cullen was raised in a Methodist parsonage. Little is known of his father and mother or of his early years in New York but Countee Cullen was born with the name Countee LeRoy Porter and was abandoned by his mother at birth. Countee was raised by his grandmother, Mrs. Porter, but it is unclear where the location of his birth was in fact located because he was very secretive about his life to the community. Countee Cullen was considered an important poet of the "Negro Awakening." As a schoolboy, Cullen won a citywide poetry contest and saw his winning stanzas widely reprinted. With the help of Reverend Cullen, he attended the prestigious De Witt Clinton High School in Manhattan. and began writing poetry at the age of fourteen. He developed early as a poet, "I Have a Rendezvous with Life," "The Ballad of the Brown Girl," and "The Shroud of Color" are poems that Cullen included in color , his first book of verse, published the same year that he graduated from NYU. In 1922, Cullen entered New York University where his works attracted critical attention. His poems were published in The Crisis, under the leadership of W. E. B. Du

Bois, and Opportunity, a magazine of the National Urban League. He won the Witter Bynner Undergraduate Poetry Prize and other awards for his poem, "Ballad of the Brown Girl." A brilliant student, Cullen graduated from New York University Phi Beta Kappa. That same year, Harper published his first volume of verse, Color, and he was admitted to Harvard University where he completed a master's degree in 1926. Cullen lived in Paris for two years and like Richard Wright and James Baldwin experienced relatively little racial discrimination there. He was able to finish a long narrative poem, "The Black Christ," which he published together with other poems in 1929. In addition to his writing, Cullen taught in the New York City Public Schools from 1929 until his death....
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