Raymond Antrobus, Paul Mendez & Kevin Okoth on Claude McKay

Raymond Antrobus, Paul Mendez & Kevin Okoth on Claude McKay

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London Review Bookshop

14 Bury Pl

London

WC1A 2JL

United Kingdom

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That Year Again: a series of events marking this year’s many significant centenaries, inspired by the writing about them in the LRB archive.

About this event

‘Much of Claude McKay’s early work – including the poems in Harlem Shadows so often celebrated for peaceably ushering in the Harlem Renaissance – was produced in a moment of political tumult,’ Kevin Okoth wrote in a piece about McKay for the LRB last year. Harlem Shadows was published in 1922 and stands alongside the better-known masterpieces of that year in its distillation of the spirit of the age and its outsize influence. If it is only now starting to receive its due, perhaps that’s because it sounds nothing like ‘The Waste Land’: ‘For me,’ McKay wrote in his author’s note to the collection, ‘there is more quiet delight in “The golden moon of heaven” than in “The terra-cotta disc of cloud-land”.’

Joining Okoth to discuss Harlem Shadows in the context of McKay’s extraordinary life and work are the poet Raymond Antrobus, whose latest book includes a poem dedicated to McKay, and the author and LRB contributor Paul Mendez.

If you’d like to hear more of McKay’s work before attending this event, the LRB and Bold Tendencies are hosting a special collaboration on Friday 12 August: Paul Mendez will read a selection of poems from Harlem Shadows between performances by the James McVinnie Ensemble of pieces by 20th-century and contemporary American composers exploring McKay’s themes: Black identity, queer sexuality, immigrant experience and the lights of New York City.

*THIS EVENT IS IN-PERSON, AT THE BOOKSHOP*

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