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Portrait in Georgia

Portrait in Georgia


Jean Toomer

Portrait in Georgia Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

Now there's a mouthful. Let's break this sucker down into its itty-bitty parts, starting with the easiest:Free Verse. "Portrait in Georgia has no rhyme or meter. You know what that means, Shmoopers...


As little as we know about the figure in the portrait, we know even less about this poem's speaker. Given that this poem is a bit of a blazon (see "Form and Meter"), we might go out on a limb and g...


A-ha! Here's something totally clear about "Portrait in Georgia": it takes place in Georgia. Glad we got that covered. But what, if anything, does that tell us? To figure that out, we might have to...

What's Up With the Title?

"Portrait in Georgia" is just that—a portrait, in Georgia. By that, all we really mean is that Toomer is, with words, painting a picture of a person for us, and that person is probably in Georgia...

Calling Card

If there's one thing Toomer's known for, it's his stirring writing on race. And his poetry often comes in images—fragments, even—that zero in on racial issues in his day. In his novel Cane, a b...


This poem carries with it chapters of complex history. It's gruesome, confusing, and very, very ambiguous. But it's also a stunning example of how poetry can create layers of meaning that we can't...


Toomer once wrote "In life nothing is only physical," he maintained, "there is also the symbolical. White and Black. West and East. North and South. Light and Darkness. In general, the great contra...

Steaminess Rating

To be fair, the sexual nature of this poem depends on how you read it (for more on this, see our "Setting" section), but we're gonna go ahead and give this poem an R rating, if only for its horrifi...

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