Jean Toomer

(26 December 1894 – 30 March 1967 / Washington D.C.)

Jean Toomer
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Jean Toomer was an American poet and novelist and an important figure of the Harlem Renaissance. His first book Cane is considered by many as his most significant.

Life and Career

Early Life

Toomer was born Nathan Eugene Pinchback Toomer in Washington, D.C. His father was a prosperous farmer, originally born into slavery in Hancock County, Georgia. Nina Pinchback was also of mixed ethnic descent. Her father was Louisiana Governor P. B. S. Pinchback, the first African American to become governor of a U.S. state. (Both of Toomer's maternal grandparents had white fathers. Pinchback's father was a planter and his mother was a mulatto slave who was freed before ... more »

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Comments about Jean Toomer

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  • Freshman - 877 Points Lamont Palmer (2/19/2006 7:35:00 AM)

    Largely obscure now, but a very fine poet in his day.

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Best Poem of Jean Toomer

A Certain Man

A certain man wishes to be a prince
Of this earth; he also wants to be
A saint and master of the being-world.
Conscience cannot exist in the first:
The second cannot exist without conscience.
Therefore he, who has enough conscience
To be disturbed but not enough to be
Compelled, can neither reject the one
Nor follow the other...

Read the full of A Certain Man

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