Complete Poems

Complete Poems

Claude McKay
Edited and with an Introduction William J. Maxwell
Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 456
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5406/j.ctt3fh51t
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  • Book Info
    Complete Poems
    Book Description:

    McKay's first poems were composed in rural Jamaican creole and launched his lifelong commitment to representing everyday black culture from the bottom up. Migrating to New York, he reinvigorated the English sonnet and helped spark the Harlem Renaissance with poems such as "If We Must Die." After coming under scrutiny for his communism, he traveled throughout Europe and North Africa for twelve years and returned to Harlem in 1934, having denounced Stalin's Soviet Union. By then, McKay's pristine "violent sonnets" were giving way to confessional lyrics informed by his newfound Catholicism.

    McKay's verse eludes easy definition, yet this complete anthology, vividly introduced and carefully annotated by William J. Maxwell, acquaints readers with the full transnational evolution of a major voice in twentieth-century poetry.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09497-2
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. INTRODUCTION: CLAUDE MCKAY—LYRIC POETRY IN THE AGE OF CATACLYSM
    (pp. xi-xlvi)
    William J. Maxwell

    This is the first complete collection of the poems of Claude McKay (1889–1948), proud child of black Jamaica, diehard bohemian, globe-trotting social radical, so-called playboy of the New Negro Renaissance, and author of ballads, sonnets, stories, novels, memoirs, and political commentary. Here, readers can find a comprehensive, fully annotated edition of McKay’s verse, 323 poems in all. Each of his five published volumes is included, as well as eighty-seven previously unpublished poems, representing all phases of his shifting career, and sixty-one uncollected works taken from prestigious and obscure English, Jamaican, and American journals. McKay’s widely recognized importance makes it...

  5. JAMAICAN PERIODICAL POETRY, 1911–12
    (pp. 1-18)
  6. SONGS OF JAMAICA (1912)
    (pp. 19-85)
  7. CONSTAB BALLADS (1912)
    (pp. 86-129)
  8. EARLY ENGLISH AND AMERICAN POETRY, 1916–22
    (pp. 130-151)
  9. HARLEM SHADOWS (1922)
    (pp. 152-196)
  10. “THE CLINIC,” CIRCA 1923
    (pp. 197-207)
  11. “THE YEARS BETWEEN,” 1925–34
    (pp. 208-222)
  12. “CITIES,” CIRCA 1934
    (pp. 223-240)
  13. “THE CYCLE,” CIRCA 1943
    (pp. 241-269)
  14. FINAL CATHOLIC POETRY, 1945–47
    (pp. 270-280)
  15. NOTES TO THE POEMS
    (pp. 281-392)
  16. WORKS CITED IN NOTES TO THE POEMS
    (pp. 393-394)
  17. INDEX OF FIRST LINES
    (pp. 395-400)
  18. INDEX OF TITLES
    (pp. 401-406)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 407-410)