Reliving the Harlem Renaissance (Imaginative Poetry)

“Art must discover and reveal the beauty which prejudice and caricature have overlaid.”
―Alain Locke

A bluesy drenched the old south.

The roaring twenties hummed a woeful dirge-

ushering in the great migration.

The north looked attractive with an artistic hue and

literal jazzy paradise that I just wanted to soak in.

A perfect haven for an African poetess to thrive.

Harlem sat seductively on an intellectual bed of cultural,

social and artistic reformation.

I felt the refreshing breeze filled with epiphanies from

the Harlem river.

The tickling caress of freedom ushered in a new

black culture.


A cloud of artistic magic covered Harlem.

My eyes feasted on Aaron Douglas’s silhouette like

painted murals on public buildings- exemplifying

the “New negro”.

“Migration series”  sent nostalgic shivers all

over my body- reminding me of my history and heritage.

I felt at home.

I run my fingers all over Meta Warwick fuller’s sculpture,

“Ethiopia awakening” which depicted the essence of


Archibald J. Motley’s 1929 painting of the blues tickled

my musical mind. I fitted right in!


The flowers of literature, philosophy and activism

bloomed across Harlem- igniting my poetic flame.

I witnessed Alain Leroy Locke birth the Harlem

Renaissance with his compilation, “The new negro”.

I met Claude McKay at the edge of my consciousness.

He became my mentor amidst injustice and molded

me a fighter.

His poem, “If we must die” became my inspiration in

the presence of social injustice.

I fell in love with Langston Hughes- quietly stalked him

in blues and jazz clubs.

His well crafted Jazz Poetry bribed my soul with the

“weary blues”.

His travel experience and knowledge took me back

to Africa with his poem, “The Negro speaks of rivers”.

I got hooked to his vibe like glue after the 1926 essays,

“The Negro artist and Racial Mountain” where he

said; “One of the most promising of the young Negro poets said

to me once, “I want to be a poet–not a Negro poet,” meaning,

I believe, “I want to write like a white poet”; meaning subconsciously,

“I would like to be a white poet”; meaning behind that,

“I would like to be white.” And I was sorry the young man

said that, for no great poet has ever been afraid of being himself”.

This enlightened me deeply and made me understand the kind

of poet I want to be.

Langston Hughes’s torch still lights inside the mansion of my heart.

I celebrated with my girl, Zora Neale Hurston when her Novel-

“Their eyes were watching God” became a success.

Worked with Alice Dunbar Nelson for a considerable time.

Campaigned with her for the passage of the dyers anti lynching

bill amidst challenges.

Her articles, academic journals re-awakened the activist in me.

I cheered for Arna Bontemps  when his first novel, “God sends

Sunday” got considerable attention. I was so proud of him!

I had dinner with W.E Du Bois and he took me for a long ride

through history and Pan-African concepts.

Initiated me through the “Crisis” and taught me how to use

art to promote black causes.


The sound of jazz created a heavenly concert in Harlem-

A combination of the boogie blues, ragtime and minor

chord sounds.

I danced the jitterbug to Duke Ellington’s swing feel at

the cotton club.

Got lost in a day dream as he romanced the chords and

his bassist lay down a great groove.

I grooved to Louis Armstrong’s hot jazz- a mind blowing

mix of drums, bass, banjo, and the guitar- creating an

amazing crescendo.

See, I was the flapper doing the Lindy hop at the

Savoy ballroom.


And right now, I am the poetic globetrotter, the griot,

the time traveler peering through the Harlem

Renaissance portal-

Reliving the 20th Century- a period where black poets,

artists, musicians, actors, and intellectuals


A period, a poet in these times can only imagine.


The world needs more writers, poets and artists.


©FloetryC 2017


***Langston Hughes Citation: The Nation, 1926***


Author: AfroetryC

I am an African woman and a mother to a precious little angel. I love to use the term "Afro-floetic Queen" mostly to describe my poetry and my roots. I love, soul music and inspirational bits of knowledge to offer advice and counseling to those who need it. I can be very witty, straight forward but fun. Ha. ha... A colorful perception of the world - expressed in my poetry. I want to inspire people with my Poetry...give them hope, while also advising them. Life is a learning process and i am happy when one of my pieces directly affects or inspires one of my readers. Let's take a detour around experience, and let me fill your minds with sweet poetic juices.... Note: Just changed my user name from FloetryC to AfroetryC because the latter is more personal and describes my Spoken Word Poetry better.

2 thoughts on “Reliving the Harlem Renaissance (Imaginative Poetry)”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s