For the Fisherman Who Found His Room in the Sea by Claude McKay

For the Fisherman Who Found His Room in the Sea by Claude McKay

16 March 2012 literature 0

For the Fisherman Who Found His Room in the Sea- Claude McKay

I am currently engulfed in the novel “Home to Harlem” by Claude McKay. Mckay is one of the stalwarts of Caribbean poetry that we learned in school; I am now finding out that he is one of the stalwarts of Black literature on a whole. Born in Clarendon, Jamaica he migrated to the US in 1912 and was faced with black life in a white washed world.

This is one of the most exciting books I have read in a while. Just as I love blaxploitation films this book has opened up centuries gone by and make them seem tangible to me. So close that last night I dreamt I was right there in Harlem Renaissance “Uptown” with Jake and the gang. The story follows Jake who’s longing to return to Harlem from Europe finally happens and we are with him through his movements around NYC. The language is so vivid the scenes play out before my eyes. Published in 1928 it is seen as one of the classics, cataloging the struggles, hopes and direct reality of the early Harlem Renaissance.

Claude McKay

This excerpt speaks for this post:

A red-brown West Indian among them volunteered to sing a Port-of-Spain song. It immortalized the drowning of a young black sailor. It was made up by the bawdy colored girls of the port, with whom the deceased had been a favorite, and became very popular among the stevedores and sailors of the island.

“Ring the bell again,
Ring the bell again
Ring the bell again
But the sharks wont puke him up.
Oh, ring the bell again.

“Empty is you’ room
Empty is you’ room
Empty is you’ room
But you find one in the sea.
Oh, empty is you’ room

“Ring the bell again,
Ring the bell again
Ring the bell again
But we know who feel all the pain
Oh, ring the bell again.”

The song was curious, like so many Negro songs of its kin, for the strange strengthening of its wistful melody by a happy rhythm that was suitable for dancing”

Strength to his family and friends

 

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