Claude Mckay
Jamaican Poet Extraordinaire!

subscribe here if new
Custom Search




I took great pride in writing this article on Claude Mckay, not only because he is a world famous Jamaican, but because I can relate to his humble beginnings.

Jamaican Poet, Claude Mckay

Born in James Hill, Clarendon on 15th September, 1889, he began writing poetry as a schoolboy. He worked as a policeman in Spanish Town and when he was twenty-two had his first volume of poems, Songs of Jamaica (1912) published.

In 1912 McKay moved to the United States where he attended Tuskegee Institute in Alabama and Kansas State University. He continued to write poetry and in 1918 his work was praised by both Frank Harris and Max Eastman. The following year, his poem, If We Must Die, was published in Eastman's journal, The Liberator.

Frank Harris encouraged McKay to obtain writing experience in England. In 1919 McKay travelled to England where he met George Bernard Shaw who introduced him to influential left-wing figures in journalism.

This included Sylvia Pankhurst, who recruited him to write for her trade union journal, Workers' Dreadnought. While in London McKay read the works of Karl Marx and becomes a committed socialist.

In 1921 McKay returned to New York and became associate editor of The Liberator. Over the next year the journal published articles by McKay such as How Black Sees Green and Red and He Who Gets Slapped. He also published his best known volume of verse, Harlem Shadows (1922).

In 1922 McKay went to Third International in Moscow where he represented the American Workers Party. He stayed in Europe where he wrote Trial by Lynching: Stories About Negro Life in America (1925) and Home to Harlem (1928), a novel about a disillusioned black soldier in the US Army who returns from the Western Front to live in a black ghetto; which incidentally was the most popular by a black American.

This was followed by other novels such as Banjo (1928), Gingertown (1932) and Banana Bottom (1933).

McKay gradually lost faith in communism and returned to the United States in 1934. Employment was difficult to find and for a while he worked for the Federal Writers' Project. McKay's published work during this period included his autobiography, A Long Way From Home (1937) and Harlem: Negro Metropolis (1940).

Unable to make a living from writing, McKay found work in a shipbuilding yard. In 1943 he suffers a stroke and the following year was baptized into the Roman Catholic faith.

In 1945 his essay, On Becoming a Roman Catholic, was published. Claude McKay died in Chicago on 22nd May, 1948.

Three of his selected quotes includes:

  1. 'Idealism is like a castle in the air if it is not based on a solid foundation of social and political realism.'
  2. 'Nations, like plants and human beings, grow. And if the development is thwarted they are dwarfed and overshadowed.'
  3. 'If a man is not faithful to his own individuality, he cannot be loyal to anything.'

For an even more detailed biography of this famous Jamaican, visit this Wikipedia webpage.

Here too are some of his most adored poems courtesy of PoemHunter.com.


Pages Related To Claude Mckay, The Poet


Reference:

  • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/ARTmckay.htm

Thanks For Reading!
Like What You Just Read?

Great Articles You Might Have Missed

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

And Before You Go!

You are welcome to join my special friends list and receive exclusive updates (like this), tips, trivia and stories from lovers of Jamaica! Just enter...

Also connect with My-Island-Jamaica.com on Social Media: 
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

Thank You!

Need Help?

We have a cherry list of top Jamaican companies that might be able to help you. Please click here to see them, our preferred partners and site sponsors.

copyscpe
Top Of Page
Wellesley Gayle

What's New? Click Here And See

New!  I've created a Welcome Audio. Just click the Play button below to listen.

Please subscribe here to get my latest updates.

SEARCH THE SITE



Site Sponsors

jamaica_click_down_here_visit_our_sponsors

Our Preferred Sponsors (below)

(Our Sponsorship Policy)

Luna Sea Inn
Luna Sea Inn Photographers in Jamaica
Wedding Photographers
Jamaican Souvenirs
Best Jamaican Souvenirs Cars For Sale In Jamaica
Cars For Sale

Click Here to Visit Our Sponsors' Page

Did You Miss These?

What's New?

Below is a list of the very latest articles I posted on the site.

Recent Articles

  1. Best Vacation Villas In Jamaica - And A Recommendation

    Jun 22, 17 12:21 AM

    I'll share with you the best villas in Jamaica - and then I'll share a little one bowled me over

    Read More

  2. My First Encounter With Dreadlocks

    Jun 21, 17 03:00 PM

    I enjoyed Rosemarie Gordon's article on the history of Jamaican dreadlocks. It brought back many poignant memories for me of my early life in Jamaica.

    Read More

  3. The red flowering tree seen growing in Jamaica

    Jun 21, 17 12:17 AM

    QUESTION:. What is the name of the red flowering tree seen growing in Jamaica? ANSWER:by Wellesley Gayle Hi Vaughn, I think you are speaking of the

    Read More

  4. THANK YOU for an awesome site!

    Jun 21, 17 12:14 AM

    Just wanted you to know I found your site to be a invaluable tool in helping my daughter with her school project on Jamaica. THANK YOU for an awesome

    Read More