Friday, February 1, 2013

Langston Hughes

Feb 1, 1902- May 22, 1967 

Langston Hughes published his first poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” in 1921. Hughes has quite an impressive resume. He wrote 20 plays, several non-fiction and children's books, novels, 10 short stories, operettas, scripts, song lyrics and newspaper columns. He was a social activist. Hughes was one of the earliest innovators of the then new literary art form jazz poetry. He is known for his work during the Harlem Renaissance. ,
Hughes was probably the foremost poet among African Americans. His poetry earned him the title America’s Black Poet Laureate. His importance later for African-American literature has been immense. He sought not only to sing of Black America in his poems, but to do it in everyday language. Hughes was of the first and most successful writers to incorporate African-American musical traditions like jazz, blues and spirituals into literature.
In 2002 on the 100 celebration of his birth date, United States issued a commemorative postage stamp in his honor. 
I found it difficult to choose a favorite poem because there are so many of his poems I have come to appreciate over the years. This book of poems by Langston Hughes is one of my favorites.

Many of Hughes’s best early poems explore the nature of and the beauty in the African element of African-American identity.
My People
The night is beautiful,
So the faces of my people.
The stars are beautiful,
So the eyes of my people.
Beautiful, also, is  the sun.
Beautiful,also are the souls of my people.
Dreams are a recurring theme in Hughes’s work. For Hughes, poets are not just dreamers, but dream keepers for their people.
The Dream Keeper
Bring me all of your dreams,
You dreamers,
Bring me all of your
Heart melodies
That I may wrap them
In a blue cloud-cloth
Away from the too-rough fingers
Of the world.

Humor is laughing at what you haven't got when you ought to have it.”
Langston Hughes
Another thought for the day: 

Life is where What If runs away with Why Not 

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