Angelina Weld Grimke's Poetry and Use of Nature Essay
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Angelina Weld Grimké was born in Boston, Massachusetts February 27, 1880 to Archibald Henry Grimké and Sarah E. Stanley. As a result, Grimké was born into a rather “unusual and distinguished biracial family” (Zvonkin, para. 1). Her father was the son of a slave and her master, who also happened to be the brother of the two famous abolitionist Grimké sisters: Angelina and Sarah. Grimké’s mother, Sarah, was from a prominent, white middle class family; she left Grimké and her African American husband due to racial pressure from her white family and, as a result, Grimké was raised entirely by her father. Angelina Weld Grimké, besides working as a teacher in the capital, was also a well known playwright, essayist, and poet. Her work has…show more content… As stated before, most of Grimké’s work was produced during the Harlem Renaissance, a time when racial issues were becoming more to the public forefront. Although she was quite involved in the betterment of people of color, as can be seen by a number of her poems and plays that discussed racial issues, she did not want race to define who she was as a writer. “Feeling constrained by the label ‘race writer’, they opted for what they considered more universal themes appropriate to the art of poetry and insisted on the freedom to follow their individual muse.” (Honey/Bloom, 225-226). Grimké also used nature to symbolically represent racial issues, ranging from racial injustice to racial pride, in her poems. Although she did not want her work to be defined as ‘race writing’, she did understand, especially since she herself came from a biracial background, the importance of ending racism and supporting the betterment of people of color. One poem that uses nature in such a manner, mainly that of racial pride, is the poem “At April”: “Toss your gay heads,/ Brown girl trees;/ Toss your lovely gay heads;/ Shake your brown slim bodies;/ Stretch your brown slim arms;/ Stretch your brown slim toes;/ Who knows better than we,/ With the dark, dark bodies,/ What it means/ When April comes a-laughing and a-weeping/ Once again/ At our hearts?” (Grimké/Herron, 65).
In this poem, Grimké uses the imagery of trees to describe the beauty