For Black History Month, every Friday in Stanza we’ll highlight a different movement that was essential to African American poetry—and the literary landscape of America overall. This week we take a look at the Harlem Renaissance, whose legacy can still be felt today.
When considering essential movements in American poetry, no conversation would be complete without a discussion of the Harlem Renaissance. With a lyricism seated in the popular blues and jazz music of the time, an awareness of black life in America, its assertion of an independent African American identity, and its innovation in form and structure, the poetry of the Harlem Renaissance is unmistakable. The immediate effects of the movement would echo into the Negritude movement of the 1930s and extend into conversations of modern American poetry today.