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

Quotations

  • ''Meanwhile, the men, with vestiges of pomp,
    Race memories of king and caravan,
    High-priests, an ostrich, and a juju-man,
    Go singing through the footpaths of the swamp.''
    Jean Toomer (1894-1967), U.S. poet. Georgia Dusk (l. 17-20). . . Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, The. Richard Ellmann and Robert O'Clair, eds. (2d ed., 1988) W. W. Norton & Company.
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  • ''O singers, resinous and soft your songs
    Above the sacred whisper of the pines,
    Give virgin lips to cornfield concubines,
    Bring dreams of Christ to dusky cane-lipped throngs.''
    Jean Toomer (1894-1967), U.S. poet. Georgia Dusk (l. 25-28). . . Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, The. Richard Ellmann and Robert O'Clair, eds. (2d ed., 1988) W. W. Norton & Company.
  • ''some genius of the South
    With blood-hot eyes and cane-lipped scented mouth,
    Surprised in making folk-songs from soul sounds.''
    Jean Toomer (1894-1967), U.S. poet. Georgia Dusk (l. 6-8). . . Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, The. Richard Ellmann and Robert O'Clair, eds. (2d ed., 1988) W. W. Norton & Company.
  • ''Superstition saw
    Something it had never seen before:
    Brown eyes that loved without a trace of fear,
    Beauty so sudden for that time of year.''
    Jean Toomer (1894-1967), U.S. poet. November Cotton Flower (l. 11-14). . . Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, The. Richard Ellmann and Robert O'Clair, eds. (2d ed., 1988) W. W. Norton & Company.
  • ''And there, a field rat, startled, squealing bleeds,
    His belly close to ground. I see the blade,
    Blood-stained, continue cutting weeds and shade.''
    Jean Toomer (1894-1967), U.S. poet. Reapers (l. 6-8). . . Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, The. Richard Ellmann and Robert O'Clair, eds. (2d ed., 1988) W. W. Norton & Company.
  • ''one seed becomes

    An everlasting song, a singing tree,
    Caroling softly souls of slavery,
    What they were, and what they are to me,
    Caroling softly souls of slavery.''
    Jean Toomer (1894-1967), U.S. poet. Song of the Son (l. 19-23). . . Norton Introduction to Poetry, The. J. Paul Hunter, ed. (3d ed., 1986) W. W. Norton & Company.
  • ''O land and soil, red soil and sweet-gum tree,
    So scant of grass, so profligate of pines,''
    Jean Toomer (1894-1967), U.S. poet. Song of the Son (l. 6-7). . . Norton Introduction to Poetry, The. J. Paul Hunter, ed. (3d ed., 1986) W. W. Norton & Company.

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Portrait in Georgia

Hair--braided chestnut,
coiled like a lyncher's rope,
Eyes--fagots,
Lips--old scars, or the first red blisters,
Breath--the last sweet scent of cane,
And her slim body, white as the ash
of black flesh after flame.

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