Countee Cullen
FameRank: 5

"Countee Cullen" was an African-American poet who was a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance. (He pronounced his name "Coun-tay," not "Coun-tee.")

If you enjoy these quotes, be sure to check out other famous poets! More Countee Cullen on Wikipedia.

My poetry, I think, has become the way of my giving out what music is within me.

Yet do I marvel at this curious thing:/ To make a poet black, and bid him sing!

[W]e have always resented the natural inclination of most white people to demand spirituals the moment it is known that a Negro is about to sing. So often the request has seemed to savor of the feeling that we could do this and this alone.

So in the dark we hide the heart that bleeds, And wait, and tend our agonizing seeds.

If I am going to be a poet at all, I am going to be POET and not NEGRO POET.

For we must be one thing or the other, an asset or a liability, the sinew in your wing to help you soar, or the chain to bind you to earth.

The play is done, the crowds depart; and see / That twisted tortured thing hung from a tree, / Swart victim of a newer Calvary.

There is no secret to success except hard work and getting something indefinable which we call the "breaks." In order for a writer to succeed, I suggest three things -- read and write -- and wait.

The key to all strange things is in thy heart..../ My spirit has come home, that sailed the doubtful seas.