Poet associated with the Harlem Renaissance and known for Color, a landmark poetry collection. His other works include Copper Sun, Harlem Wine, and Tableau.
He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from New York University and went on to pursue a graduate degree in English at Harvard University.
He wrote several prose works for children. One of these, My Lives and How I Lost Them, was written from the point of view of his cat.
He was briefly married to Yolande Du Bois. Following his divorce, he wed his longtime friend, Ida Mae Robertson.
He was a contemporary of fellow Harlem Renaissance figure Langston Hughes.