Claude McKay

McKay’s first book of poetry, Songs of Jamaica, was published in 1912. These were the first works ever published in Jamaican Patois, a dialect of English words spoken in an African structure. Read more about Claude McKay.

America

‘America’ by Claude McKay balances ideas of loving and hating the United States. McKay explores the good parts of the country, the strength and vigor it contains as well as the bad.

Harlem Shadows

‘Harlem Shadows’ by Claude McKay memorably addresses the lives of Black sex workers in Harlem. The poet describes their experience while also acknowledging their strength.

If We Must Die

‘If We Must Die’ by Claude McKay powerfully encourages the reader to stand up for and with the Black community. One should show strength in the face of discrimination, he says.

The Harlem Dancer

‘The Harlem Dancer’ by Claude McKay is a thoughtful poem about a dancer’s inner life. It speaks on the duality of what people see and what people experience.

To Winter

‘To Winter’ by Claude McKay is a love letter to the cold winter months. The narrator of the poem laments the arrival of spring, as it means the winter has ended.

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