Selected Poems by Langston HughesWith the publication of his first book of poems, The Weary Blues, in 1926, Langston Hughes electrified readers and launched a renaissance in black writing in America. The poems Hughes wrote celebrated the experience of invisible men and women: of slaves who rushed the boots of Washington; of musicians on Lenox Avenue; of the poor and the lovesick; of losers in the raffle of night. They conveyed that experience in a voice that blended the spoken with the sung, that turned poetic lines into the phrases of jazz and blues, and that ripped through the curtain separating high from popular culture. They spanned the range from the lyric to the polemic, ringing out wonder and pain and terror-- and the marrow of the bone of life.
The poems in this collection were chosen by Hughes himself shortly before his death in 1967 and represent work from his entire career, including The Negro Speaks of Rivers, The Weary Blues, Still Here, Song for a Dark Girl, Montage of a Dream Deferred, and Refugee in America. It gives us a poet of extraordinary range, directness, and stylistic virtuosity.
Poetry Analysis 130: "Harlem" by Langston Hughes
A Reading Guide to Langston Hughes
Langston Hughes was a central figure in the Harlem Renaissance , the flowering of black intellectual, literary, and artistic life that took place in the s in a number of American cities, particularly Harlem. A major poet, Hughes also wrote novels, short stories, essays, and plays. If white people are pleased we are glad. We know we are beautiful. And ugly too. This approach was not without its critics. And still are.
James Mercer Langston Hughes February 1,  — May 22, was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri. He moved to New York City as a young man, where he made his career. One of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form called jazz poetry , Hughes is best known as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance. He famously wrote about the period that "the negro was in vogue," which was later paraphrased as "when Harlem was in vogue. Growing up in a series of Midwestern towns, Hughes became a prolific writer at an early age. Although he dropped out, he gained notice from New York publishers, first in The Crisis magazine, and then from book publishers and became known in the creative community in Harlem.
Langston Hughes became the voice of black America in the s, when his first published poems brought him more than moderate success. Throughout his lifetime, his work encompassed both popular lyrical poems, and more controversial political work, especially during the thirties.
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Langston Hughes was one of the most important writers and thinkers of the Harlem Renaissance, which was the African American artistic movement in the s that celebrated black life and culture. Hughes's creative genius was influenced by his life in New York City's Harlem, a primarily African American neighborhood. His literary works helped shape American literature and politics. Hughes, like others active in the Harlem Renaissance, had a strong sense of racial pride. Through his poetry, novels, plays, essays, and children's books, he promoted equality, condemned racism and injustice, and celebrated African American culture, humor, and spirituality. Choose another Writer or Artist. Twentieth century writer and poet Langston Hughes.
He was an African American writer. Hughes spent time in Paris and after returning to the United States, he worked as a busboy in Washington, D. It was there in , that his literary skills were discovered after he left three of his poems beside the plate of American poet Vachel Lindsay, who recognized Hughes's abilities and helped publicize his work. Langston Hughes was active in social and political causes, using his poetry as a vehicle for cultural protest. Hughes wrote over 50 books and his drama Mulatto was performed times on Broadway.