McKay, Claude: If We Must Die: The Essential Claude McKay
Ecco Press, paperback
Publication Date: August 15, 2022
Publisher Marketing: A searing collection from trailblazing poet Claude McKay, selected and with a new introduction by Nicole Sealey
Claude McKay is known as a seminal figure in the Harlem Renaissance who wrote powerful and lasting poetry about the Black experience, both in his home country of Jamaica and in the US, where he spent many years of his life. Experiencing racism and prejudice in both places, he wrote unsparingly about the exploitation and oppression of Black people, in poetry that has stood the test of time and continues to feel shockingly relevant today.
In this collection of essential poems, with a new introduction that frames McKay's work for today's reader, lauded poet Nicole Sealey has gathered some of his most resonant and enduring work, including "If We Must Die," perhaps his most famous poem. Ranging in tone and subject--from a prideful celebration of his African heritage to a moving tribute to his mother's life and peaceful death to a furious challenge to white bigots--McKay wrote fiercely and imaginatively about the complex realities he faced in both his home and adopted countries.
If We Must Die is a deeply engaging and multilayered collection from one of the twentieth century's most resounding voices.