Léopold Sédar Senghor Poems

Léopold Sédar Senghor was a prominent Senegalese poet, philosopher, and politician. He played a significant role in the Negritude literary and cultural movement, which celebrated African identity and heritage.

Senghor’s poetry explored themes of love, nature, and the African experience, while his political career included serving as Senegal’s first President. His work contributed to decolonization and the recognition of African culture globally.

New York

by Léopold Sédar Senghor

‘New York’ by Léopold Sédar Senghor serves as a call to action for the city’s people to uplift and absorb as a means of rejuvenation its Black citizenry.

This poem by Léopold Sédar Senghor highlights a number of the beliefs he helped outline in creating the concept of "Négritude" that he is attributed with. Mainly, the poem points out the vacancy of love and warmth that exists in white society without the presence of Black (African) culture and people. It is a beautiful poem that stands as an ode to not just New York but to its melting pot of culture as well.

New York! At first I was bewildered by your beauty,

Those huge, long-legged, golden girls.

So shy, at first, before your blue metallic eyes and icy smile,

So shy. And full of despair at the end of skyscraper streets

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