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Harlem Nights and Footstep Blues is a poetry collection consisting of 65 poems. The poems are separated into 11 distinct sections that tell their own story while still fitting into the overall story of the collection. Although not limited to African American influences and content, the collection is very much inspired by the work of African American poets and writers like Langston Hughes, Paul Laurence Dunbar, James Baldwin, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Frederick Douglass and from the black cultural, social, and artistic revival that took place during the period known as the Harlem Renaissance.
Harlem Nights and Footstep Blues is about encapsulating the Harlem Renaissance state of mind and encouraging young black minds to express themselves and “catch a glimmer of their own beauty” as Langston Hughes urged his young black contemporaries to do in his essay “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain” (1926), albeit with modern flair. The creative license that black artists had to express themselves and their art during the Harlem Renaissance is the blueprint for the poetry and artistic expression in the collection. Harlem Nights and Footstep Blues is rooted in a modern sense of black cultural, social, and artistic rebirth while paying homage to the artistic foundation laid by the great pioneers of the past.

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Reviews

Here are some of the great reviews that are all over the web.

  • This is such a tender collection of poetry. McLean’s writing style is very clear and while many of the poems caused me to stop and reflect, I did not have to figure out what he was saying, which I thoroughly appreciated. I love the transparency of his heart on the issues of love and loss, even as he shared the part he played in the downfall of certain relationships. With intensity and great poignancy, he penned his frustration of being a black man, a black person in America, yet managed to do so without spewing hatred. With gentleness, yet also with a straightforward approach, he fused consciousness and a desire for people to ‘wake up’ and realize what is going on all around them with grace and no judgment. He allows his well-crafted poetry to reveal his heart, his mind, his passion, his pain. And my response is I hear you….loud and clear!

    Poetry lovers are sure to enjoy this collection and I urge you to give it a try.

    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

    – Tumika Patrice Cain, Say What?? Book Club Link

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