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Storm Ending

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Thunder blossoms gorgeously above our heads,
Great, hollow, bell-like flowers,
Rumbling in the wind,
Stretching clappers to strike our ears . . .
Full-lipped flowers
Bitten by the sun
Bleeding rain
Dripping rain like golden honey—
And the sweet earth flying from the thunder.

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Storm Ending

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  • An important figure in African-American literature, Jean Toomer (1894—1967) was born in Washington, DC, the grandson of the first governor of African-American descent in the United States. A poet, playwright, and novelist, Toomer’s most famous work, Cane, was published in 1923 and was hailed by critics for its literary experimentation and portrayal of African-American characters and culture.

    As a child, Toomer attended both all-white and all-black segregated schools, and from early on in his life he resisted being classified by race, preferring to call himself simply American. A descendent of both white and black heritage, his father left his family when he was only one year old, leaving Toomer to be raised by his mother and grandfather—Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback—who had been a Union soldier during the Civil War and later served as Acting Governor of Louisiana during Reconstruction.

    After graduating from the highly regarded all-black Dunbar High School, Toomer began to...

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