Quotes on Keats

Rumaan Alam


The Snowy Day is a classic for a reason. Keats’ illustrations are so inviting you almost don’t notice how modern his eye is. The text is perfectly poetic, at once surreal and yet so real; a hard note to strike, as anyone who’s ever tried to write for small children (and their caregivers) will agree. And the simple fact that its protagonist is a black boy is revolutionary even decades on. It’s important not to sell Keats’ work short by discussing it only through the lens of race, but leaving aside the question of blackness would be either disingenuous or treacherous, like claiming Muhammad Ali “transcended race.” The blackness of The Snowy Day is indivisible from its excellence.”