Damas, Léon [key] (Léon-Gentran Damas), 1912–78, French poet, b. French Guiana. With Léopold Senghor and Aimé Césaire he was one of the first adherents of négritude, 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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