Damas, Léon

Damas, Léon

(lāôN` dämä`) (Léon-Gentran Damas), 1912–78, French poet, b. French Guiana. With Léopold SenghorSenghor, Léopold Sédar
, 1906–2001, African statesman and poet; president (1960–80) of the Republic of Senegal, b. Joal. The son of a prosperous landowner, Senghor was extraordinarily gifted in literature and won a scholarship to study at the Sorbonne
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 and Aimé CésaireCésaire, Aimé
(Aimé Fernand Césaire) , 1913–2008, West Indian poet and essayist who wrote in French. After studying in Paris he became concerned with the plight of blacks in what he considered a decadent Western society.
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 he was one of the first adherents of négritudenégritude
, a literary movement on the part of French-speaking African and Caribbean writers who lived in Paris during the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. Adherents of négritude
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, a cultural movement emphasizing black consciousness. His poetry mirrors his intense personality; it is agitated and syncopated in syntax and graphic representation on the page. Anthologies of his verse include Black Label (1956) and Pigments (1960). His African Songs of Love, War, Grief, and Abuse (1961) contains brief verses sympathetically portraying Guianan village life. He also published an autobiographical work, Return to Guiana (1938).
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