His first collection of poetry was published in 1925, and he was one of the leading lights of the Harlem Renaissance, the famous flowering of African-American culture between the world wars, although he also spent some years as an expatriate living in France. He is considered one of America's finest poets of any period, and with Langston Hughes and James Baldwin, he is one of the greatest gay African-American writers of the century. His books include Color, Copper Sun, Ballad of the Brown Girl and One Way to Heaven. For the last 12 years of his life he taught junior high school in New York City.
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