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Price: $325.00


African-American poet, novelist, children’s writer and playwright. He enjoyed critical acclaim during the Harlem Renaissance.  Toward the end of his life he was a high school literature teacher.  Sadly, he died of high blood pressure and uremic poisoning at the age of 42. 

SIG – Vintage fountain pen ink signature on a small sheet of lined paper. Professionally matted in burnish goldstone board with a sepia-tone giclee print of the poet and a typeset copy of his poem Color.

Cullen graduated from Harvard with a master’s in English.  He worked as an assistant editor for Opportunity Magazine. Between 1928-34 he traveled back and forth between France and the US (as did many Black artists and performers). By 1929 Cullen had published four volumes of poetry.  One of his more controversial books, The Black Christ and Other Poems, (1929) was criticized for the use of Christian religious imagery.  Cullen compared the lynching of a black man to the crucifixion of Jesus.

From 1934 until his death, Cullen taught high school English, French and writing at Frederick Douglass High School in New York. Despite the “nobility of teaching,” it seems somewhat sad that the only sustained work Cullen could find was in secondary education. In his final years he wrote two works for young readers:  The Lost Zoo and My Lives and How I Lost Them.

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