The Harlem Renaissance Poem Analysis

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The New Negro Renaissance, more formally known as the Harlem Renaissance, earning it’s name from the 1925 anthology by Alain Locke, had many effects on many people, but it can be best described as a revolution, a cultural uprising where the high level of Black poetry, production and art demanded, and, in turn, received the mainstream appreciation and accolade which it rightly deserved. It is described as the most important and so discussed period in African American literacy, and indeed twentieth century literacy as a whole.

Black poets felt segregating in their writing, and forced into the inforced, repressive form of the western white poets of the time. With their writing founded upon tribal, native songs full of pride and passion, the migration to a set form imposed upon them left a stale taste, a further example of how black people were repressed, not allowed to
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He used the Western form in a very non-Western way, exploring themes and ideas that had never been present in the writings of white America. The most poignant example of this can be seen in “The Harlem Dancer”, a poem which uses a traditional form to explore non traditional subject matter. The Shakespearean sonnet sees the Dancer as a performer, which is a figure for the black artist. In the nightclub, applauded by young men and their young prostitutes, the half-veiled, beautiful dancer dances suggestively to the music. Her voice is not compared to that of a wailing saxophone, which would be a stereotypical black instrument, but to the delicate music of a “blended flute”. In the following line, “the nightclub begins to fade out as the poet places the flutes on the lips of “black players on a picnic day.”” This natural innocence and wholesomeness is in stark contrast with the loud and lewd nature of the nightclub.
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