Chief WorksAt the age of 21, Cullen employed the standard English ballad stanza for "Incident," an impromptu but sturdy memoir of meeting a vulgar, impudent boy his own age. Set in Baltimore, the three-stanza recollection focuses on a youthful anticipation spoiled by an adversary's out-thrust tongue, which is both childish and ominous of future encounters with racism. The inevitable epithet "Nigger" reminds the speaker of the invisible boundary between blacks and whites. Composed in the raw stages of the poet's development, "Incident" minimizes action and states poetry's aims — to clarify and enlarge on human behaviors and attitudes in a single image.That same year, Cullen produced a more polished effort, "From the Dark Tower," a fourteen-line Petrarchan sonnet that illustrates the form's division into octet and sestet for the purpose of presenting a problem and a solution. In the opening five-beat lines, he speaks generally about the
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Cullen, English ballad stanza, soulful flute music., opening fivebeat lines, white domination suppresses, youthful anticipation