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Claude McKay By Claude McKay 1890-1948 was American writer born in Jamaica He was educated by his older brother who possessed a library of English novels poetry and scientific books He was one of the impressive men of the Harlem Renaissance in black literature of the 1920s and he was known for his poems and novels of black life First in he wrote Songs of Jamaica and Constab Ballads both in 1912 and later in the United States After 1914 several of his poems were published in various American periodicals they were primarily lyric works decrying injustice After World War I McKay lived in England and France and visited the USSR He also served as an editor of and contributor two periodicals The Liberator and The Masses Harlem Shadows was published in 1922 and released the famous poem The Tropics in New York McKays first novel Home to Harlem written in 1928 showed a vivid picture of a black soldiers life in New York City after his return from World War I and it was a popular success Other novels by McKay include Banjo in 1929 set on the waterfront of Marseille and Banana Bottom in 1933 about Jamaica McKays poetry and prose were notable for his use of traditional forms to express unfamiliar ideas and themes many of which related to the black experience in the United States He also wrote an autobiography A Long Way from Home in 1937 and a study of his own Harlem Negro Metropolis written in 1940 In 1942 he converted to Roman Catholicism and renounced his former philosophy He died in 1948 The Tropics in New York Critiqued by This poem by Claude McKay was published in Harlem Shadows in 1922 and is considered one of his best poems ever It starts out describing various fruits that were no where to be found growing in New York or even the United States
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