The writer of these verses was born in the Clarendon Hills of Jamaica in 1889. In 1911 he published a small volume in the Negro dialect, and later left for the United States where he worked in various occupations and took courses in Agriculture and English at the Kansas State College. In the spring of this year he visited England to arrange for the publication of his poems.
Claude McKay is a pure blooded Negro1, and though we have recently been made aware of some of the more remarkable achievements of African Art typified by the sculpture from Benin, and in music by the 'Spirituals,' this is the first instance of success in poetry with which we in Europe at any rate have been brought into contact. The reasons for this late development are not far to seek, and the difficulties presented by modern literary English as an acquired medium would be sufficient to account for the lacuna; but the poems here selected may, in the opinion of not a few who have seen them in periodical form, claim a place beside the best work that the present generation is producing in this country.
I. A. Richards