Jean Toomer was born in Washington, D.C. in 1894.
Toomer’s major work Cane was heavily influenced by his early career as an educator in rural Georgia. ‘Karintha’, the first piece in Cane, announces many of the work’s larger themes and strange style. The brief, impressionistic story touches on female sexuality and male desire, and shifts between prose and poetry, anticipating the form of Cane to come – is this a novel? A story cycle? A collection of fragments? A century after its composition, Cane still feels odd and fresh.
First published in Cane, Boni and Liveright, 1923 and available to read here