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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  • Rookie - 796 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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Famous Poets
Best Poem of Jean Toomer

Her Lips Are Copper Wire

whisper of yellow globes
gleaming on lamp-posts that sway
like bootleg licker drinkers in the fog

and let your breath be moist against me
like bright beads on yellow globes

telephone the power-house
that the main wires are insulate

(her words play softly up and down
dewy corridors of billboards)

then with your tongue remove the tape
and press your lips to mine
till they are incandescent

Read the full of Her Lips Are Copper Wire

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