Langston Hughes (Harlem Renassaince Writer 1902 - 1967)

Discussion in 'Poet & Poetess Biographies' started by MsJacquiiC, Apr 14, 2008.

  1. MsJacquiiC

    MsJacquiiC
    Provocative
    Poetica Magnifique Staff Member
    6,017
    115
    248
    Jun 8, 2006
    Female
    Tennessee
    2
    [float='left'][​IMG][/float]
    Langston Hughes (1902-1967)

    James Langston Hughes (1902-1967) is the poet laureate of African-American experience — a popular writer of the Harlem Renaissance who gave hopeful expression to the aspirations of the oppressed, even as he decried racism and injustice. Hughes, who claimed Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Carl Sandburg, and Walt Whitman as his primary influences, is particularly known for his insightful, colorful portrayals of black life in America from the twenties through the sixties.

    Hughes was unashamedly black at a time when blackness was demode, and he didn’t go much beyond the themes of black is beautiful as he explored the black human condition in a variety of depths. In visual media, his sexuality was the subject of two plays by African American playwrights. In the 1989 film, Looking for Langston by British filmmaker Isaac Julien, Hughes is reclaimed as a black gay icon — a reclamation Julien saw as necessary because Hughes' sexuality has historically been ignored or downplayed.

    In addition to poetry, Hughes published fiction, drama, autobiography, and translations, including the well-known “Simple” books: Simple Speaks His Mind, Simple Stakes a Claim, Simple Takes a Wife, and Simple's Uncle Sam. He edited the anthologies The Poetry of the Negro and The Book of Negro Folklore, wrote an acclaimed autobiography (The Big Sea) and co-wrote the play Mule Bone with Zora Neale Hurston. His work continues to serve as a model of wide empathy and social commitment.


    [FIELDSET="Harlem By Langston Hughes"]
    What happens to a dream deferred?
    Does it dry up​
    like a raisin in the sun?​
    Or fester like a sore—​
    And then run?​
    Does it stink like rotten meat?​
    Or crust and sugar over—​
    like a syrupy sweet?​

    Maybe it just sags​
    like a heavy load.​

    Or does it explode?​


    Langston Hughes, “Harlem” from Collected Poems. Copyright © 1994 by The Estate of Langston Hughes. Reprinted with the permission of Harold Ober Associates Incorporated.
    [/FIELDSET]

    [FIELDSET="Mother to Son By Langston Hughes"]
    Well, son, I’ll tell you:
    Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
    It’s had tacks in it,
    And splinters,
    And boards torn up,
    And places with no carpet on the floor—
    Bare.
    But all the time
    I’se been a-climbin’ on,
    And reachin’ landin’s,
    And turnin’ corners,
    And sometimes goin’ in the dark
    Where there ain’t been no light.
    So boy, don’t you turn back.
    Don’t you set down on the steps
    ’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
    Don’t you fall now—
    For I’se still goin’, honey,
    I’se still climbin’,
    And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.



    Langston Hughes, “Mother to Son” from Collected Poems. Copyright © 1994 by The Estate of Langston Hughes. Reprinted with the permission of Harold Ober Associates Incorporated.
    [/FIELDSET]

    [FIELDSET="The Negro Speaks of Rivers By Langston Hughes"]
    I’ve known rivers:
    I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of
    human blood in human veins.​
    My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

    I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
    I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
    I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
    I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln went down to
    New Orleans, and I’ve seen its muddy bosom turn all golden in​
    the sunset.​

    I’ve known rivers:
    Ancient, dusky rivers.

    My soul has grown deep like the rivers.



    Langston Hughes, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” from Collected Poems. Copyright © 1994 by The Estate of Langston Hughes. Reprinted with the permission of Harold Ober Associates Incorporated.[/FIELDSET]
     
    Tags:
  2. MsJacquiiC

    MsJacquiiC
    Provocative
    Poetica Magnifique Staff Member
    6,017
    115
    248
    Jun 8, 2006
    Female
    Tennessee
    2


    Tribute.

    Dream de' poesy I have of you
    Stroking the sun and swallowing rivers
    Whole. Emancipated Hero!
    Yay! That we may know the truth
    of your simple words' strength.
    Shine on...
     
  3. MsJacquiiC

    MsJacquiiC
    Provocative
    Poetica Magnifique Staff Member
    6,017
    115
    248
    Jun 8, 2006
    Female
    Tennessee
    2
    Langston Hughes has been my favorite poet since before I even began writing; The one (with his stories of Semple and especially the Mother to Son piece) who inspired me to write my words poetically. It is with a special gratitude that I post such tribute to him. Strength in his words keeps shining.

    Jacquii.

    ps - Happy National Poetry Month!
     
  4. Eric

    Eric
    New Member
    51
    1
    0
    Apr 10, 2008
    soon to be in N.C.
    0
    Jacquii,

    I love Langston Hughes work he is one of many favorite poets of mine, thank you for the article, I have a big book of his poetry and he inspires some of my own. Do you know Pablo Neruda? He is a Chilean poet and is also very good. Thank you for sharing this piece


    Eric
     
  5. MsJacquiiC

    MsJacquiiC
    Provocative
    Poetica Magnifique Staff Member
    6,017
    115
    248
    Jun 8, 2006
    Female
    Tennessee
    2
    Hey ERIC - you're very welcome - I'm actually gonna make a section especially for the biographies - I thought it would be nice to have some tributes for fellow Poets and Poetesses for National Poetry Month - Now I feel it's so enjoyable reading these posts that it should make for a nice section - Will eventually have 100s of biographies!

    And yes - Pablo Neruda is on the list - There was actually an answer on Jeopardy a few weeks ago - Neruda was the answer... I missed it LOL - Couldn't think of his name to save my life - but yeah... There will DEFINITELY be a Neruda biography included - I'll make it the next biography I post actually ;)

    Jacquii.

    ps - Thanx for taking the time to comment :yes3:
     
  6. PaintedDiary

    PaintedDiary
    Artistic
    JPiC Mentor Premium VIP
    4,652
    11
    173
    Jun 23, 2006
    Female
    Channeling Rainbow
    0
    Dear Ms Jacquii,

    Thank you for this awesome post! Mr. Hughes is definitely one of my favorites and I remember your post about reading his biography as well. Having a section dedicated to "profound poetry" will be awesome! What a reference section! Maybe we could ask members to PM you with an interest to "Adopt A Poet"( and contribute and will help with costs). Love this!

    Perhaps Sanchez, Giovanni, Maya, or Phyllis Wheatley can be next...:)

    Kim ;)
     
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page

Loading...