Subscribe: by Email | in Reader

Incident -- Countee Cullen

       
(Poem #1304) Incident
 Once riding in old Baltimore,
 Heart-filled, head-filled with glee,
 I saw a Baltimorean
 Keep looking straight at me.

 Now I was eight and very small,
 And he was no whit bigger,
 And so I smiled, but he poked out
 His tongue, and called me, "Nigger."

 I saw the whole of Baltimore
 From May until December;
 Of all the things that happened there
 That's all that I remember.
-- Countee Cullen
           (1925)

I have often referred to poems that, despite their age, show no signs of
being dated. Cullen's "Incident" is one of the very few I've seen that have
only gained in effectiveness with the passing years. The extreme severity
with which the word 'nigger' is viewed makes the epithet far more shocking
today than it would have been in 1925, and the poem's conclusion utterly -
indeed, almost heartbreakingly - believable.

Ironically, while Cullen strongly insisted that he be viewed as a "poet",
rather than a "Black poet", today's poem is by far his best known (and, IMO,
his most memorable). I am highly ambivalent about the term "Black poet" -
while, on the one hand, it does recall absurdities like "lady novelist", on
the other it is undeniable that Cullen's race would have had a strong
influence on the treatment society afforded him, and, thus, an influence on
the way his life, experiences, and ultimately work were shaped. While his
poetic merits were indeed independent of the colour of his skin, the
association of bodies of literature with the social groups that produced
them is neither new nor, I feel, entirely wrong. Cullen was a great poet,
yes, but he also contributed to that canon that captured the experience of
being a black American, and I am unconvinced that that is irrelevant.

On the gripping hand, the term does focus on what is merely one aspect of
his life and work (a problem that postcolonial writers are facing even
today) - even if Black poetry *is* a genre, it is not a genre on the same
axis that defines, say, humorous poetry - and yet, it is frequently treated
as such. On balance, I tend to agree with Cullen - he was, first and
foremost, a poet, and it is a pity that history has not remembered him
primarily as such.

martin

Biography:
  http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/ccullen.htm

57 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Martin DeMello said...

What argument, what eloquence can avail against the power of that one word
"niggers?" The man of the world annihilates the whole combined force of all
the anti-slavery societies of the world by pronouncing it.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
Journal [March 1845]

Rellut2004 said...

Can I see other people's comments of this poem. My email is

Invertir en oro said...

Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about information and love learning more on this.

Inversiones en petroleo said...

Good morning, I like to find information to help me grow as a person, thanks for sharing this valuable information, good job

Ideas de negocios said...

Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, but I am firmly convinced of this and love to learn more about the subject. If possible, acquire knowledge, would you update your blog with more information? It is very helpful to me

viagra online said...

do you have more biographical info about this mysterious author!

Anonymous said...

I am regular readеr, how аre you eveгyboԁy?
This ρaгagraph pοsteԁ at thiѕ web site is actually nice.
Review my web-site :: v2 electric cigarette

Space Matters Real Estates said...

Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I will definitely return. Plots for sale in Hyderabad
Plots for sale in Banjara Hills
Plots for sale in Jubilee Hills
Plots for sale in Manikonda
Plots for sale in Madhapur
Plots for sale in kondapur
Plots for sale in Gachibowli
Plots for sale in Kukatpally

Anonymous said...

I feel that is among the so much vital info for me. And
i'm glad reading your article. However should remark on some basic things, The site taste is ideal, the articles is actually nice : D. Just right job, cheers

Also visit my blog post - best hemorrhoid treatment

Anonymous said...

Basically thе flex belt is а belt you strap on about youг waist and 3 spесіfically placeԁ pаds are what aіԁ сontrаct уοur abѕ.


my weblog - Http://itellyou.At/

Anonymous said...

I am extremely impressed with your writing abilities and also with the structure to your blog.
Is this a paid subject matter or did you customize it yourself?

Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it is rare to look a nice blog like this one today.
.

Look at my blog post: cheap party pills

William Smith said...

your blog is good and nice post. Business Services | Home Cleaning Products | I learn something more challenging on distinct blogs everyday.

Michael Syaukas said...

Nice Post, Thanks for your very useful information... I will bookmark for next reference

zarena cantik said...

perfect perfect fried rice, good post for the beginners as well..Super Prema, loved the presentation very much
Selaput Dara Buatan
Vimax asli Canada
Obat Perangsang
viagra usa
Bio Slim Herbal
Boneka Full Body
vimax canada

Kang Yudi said...

I like reading it, thanks a lot.
bisnis pulsa elektrik

Obat Herbal said...

Seberat apapun beban masalah yang kamu hadapi saat ini, percayalah bahwa semua itu tidak pernah melebihi batas kemampuan kamu.

Saras Seksi said...

Mengobati Kutil di Kemaluan _ Kutil kelamin atau jengger ayam adalah pertumbuhan kulit yang tidak wajar berbentuk kecil dan keras yang disebabkan oleh infeksi virus Mengobati Kutil di Sekitar Kemaluan

Obat Kanker Payudara Stadium 4 _ Kanker payudara stadium 4 merupakan fase dimana sel kanker sudah sangat parah dan sangat ganas. Kemungkinan untuk penyembuhan secara total bagi pasien pun sangat kecil. Jual Obat Kanker Payudara Stadium 4

Obat Wasir _ Nah untuk anda atau keluarga anda yang sedang mengidap penyakit wasir beradrah atau ambeien jangan khawatir atau cemas karena sekarang telah hadir Jual Obat Wasir

Kutil di Kemaluan _ Kutil kelamin merupakan salah satu penyakit seksual menular yang paling umum, yang disebabkan oleh human papillomavirus (HPV). Obat Kutil di Kemaluan

obat kanker _ Selama ini kita tahu bahwa kanker hanya bisa diobati dengan terapi kemo. Namun tampaknya persepsi ini harus dihapus dan dibuang sejauh-jauhnya. Kenapa? Karena sebenarnya ada obat alami untuk membunuh sel kanker Obat Kanker Ampuh

Obat Wasir Berdarah _ Bagaimana cara terbaik untuk mengobati wasir secara alami? Wasir atau dikenal juga dengan ambeien merupakan salah satu jenis penyakit yang sangat mengganggu. Obat Wasir Berdarah Tanpa Operasi

Kemaluan Keluar Nanah tapi Tidak Sakit _ Kemaluan Keluar Nanah Tapi Tidak Sakit itu penyakit apa ? berbahayakah apa obatnya ? silahkan baca artikel berikut . Obat Kemaluan Keluar Nanah tapi Tidak Sakit

Obat Sipilis Resep Dokter _ Sipilis adalah penyakit menular seksual (PMS) yang disebabkan oleh Bacterium Treponema pallidum. Penyakit ini sering disebut ‘peniru ulung’ karena banyak tanda-tanda dan gejalanya Obat Sipilis Herbal Resep Dokter

Post a Comment