Cullen, Countee P(orter)
- Joseph A. Brown
(b ?New York, May 30, 1903; d New York, Jan 9, 1946). American writer. His actual birthplace is disputed. He was adopted about the age of fifteen by the Reverend Frederick A. and Carolyn Cullen, of the Salem Methodist Episcopal Church in Harlem. His classically-focused education at New York University (BA 1925) and Harvard University (MA, English and French, 1926) significantly influenced his work, as is evidenced by the frequent allusions to mythology and drama in his poems and plays. Cullen’s use of the poetic diction and forms evocative of the English Romantics (especially Keats) distinguish him from his peers who were exploiting themes rooted in black folk culture and were experimenting with forms taken from popular black music, especially jazz and blues. In 1925 his first collection of poetry, Color, was published, quickly followed by Copper Sun (1927), The Ballad of the Brown Girl...