Langston Hughes/Jack Rummel; with additional text by Heather Lehr COVER: Poet and writer Langston Hughes photographed on a Harlem street in Poems by Langston Hughes. Dreams. Hold fast to dreams. For if dreams die. Life is a broken-winged bird. That cannot fly. Hold fast to dreams. For when dreams. Langston Hughes‟ poetic arsenal has produced a major impact on the African Langston Hughes‟ poetry is used to encourage his people during their.
|Language:||English, Spanish, Arabic|
|Genre:||Academic & Education|
|ePub File Size:||18.42 MB|
|PDF File Size:||13.80 MB|
|Distribution:||Free* [*Regsitration Required]|
The Collected Poems of. LANGSTON HUGHES. "[Hughes] is one of the essential figures in American litera- ture. His career is much larger than the body of his. Classic Poetry Series. Langston Hughes. - poems -. Publication Date: Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri, the second child of school teacher. Langston Hughes Poems. I, Too. I, too, sing America. I am the darker brother. They send me to eat in the kitchen. When company comes,. But I laugh,. And eat .
Papers, stories, poems the whole world knows — The ever growing history of man Shadowed by my hand: I could not love it. Twentieth Century Literature He stated, "I never read the theoretical books of socialism or communism or the Democratic or Republican parties for that matter, and so my interest in whatever may be considered political has been non-theoretical, non-sectarian, and largely emotional and born out of my own need to find some way of thinking about this whole problem of myself. Yet it seems I see mankind More tortured than the blind. Nothing in his life even suggested that the feat was possible, not to say desirable or necessary.
Rivers themselves have always been symbols of connectedness and the endless flow of time, of complexity and of life and the birth of great civilizations, which Hughes asserts his ancient brothers helped to build. Though he deliberately speaks in a singular first person, his experience is not a singular one.
Hughes writes this poem living vicariously through the experiences of generations of black people. Hughes wrote from his own experiences as well as those of the misfortunate and downtrodden people he sought out for inspiration Haugen The poem uses short phrasing and several spondees, as well as alliteration with hard consonant sounds to convey this determined, almost threatening tone.
At the mercy of ambivalent or malicious white landlords, the experience of one's home falling into disrepair was familiar to many impoverished black citizens. The poem is structured mostly in indignant rhetorical questions from a black tenant to his white slumlord about the condition of his rental property. The tenant muses that it is hard to figure how the white landlord doesn't seem to fall when climbing the rickety stairs.
Again, the strength of the black man comes out in the third and fourth stanzas, as the persona of this poem refuses to pay unreasonable rents and does not bend to the threats of violence and homelessness presumably posed to him, implying in a not-so-subtle way that these are no threats at all to his own strength: The poem continues, depicting an arrest in the form of cleverly rhymed tercets using ominous onomatopoeia, followed by lines in the style of a declaratory newspaper headline, illustrating the slant with which the media reports confrontations between black men and law enforcement: The voice of the poem is communicated, again, by omitting the hard end consonants e.
There is a natural feeling to Langston Hughes's writing, both poetry and prose, which is largely as a result of his characters' and personas' unique, recurring and authentic voices O'Daniel This poem has likely had a continuous resonance with Hughes' black readers, who at one time or another may have been told by their own mothers that they may be treated differently or unfairly, but to just keep fighting on and living according to their means.
Much of Hughes's poetry uses this deliberate dialect, and even draws from the very African American art forms of jazz, blues and spirituals in creating his poetic sound.
In the context of the Harlem Renaissance, when jazz and blues were exploding along with literature and poetry, it makes sense that Langston Hughes naturally integrated the African American forms of music which were becoming increasingly popular among white and black audiences alike, into his literary work, and vice versa. Hughes once said of jazz: The Negro people perfected the art of swallowing their pain in smiles, whether it was to appease their white oppressors or to keep themselves sane. Hughes often emphasized the importance of continued gaiety and laughter when he spoke.
Olendzenski December 17, African music, and akin to the heartbeat sustaining black America, with the racket of modern life. It proves that even when speaking in prose, Hughes's very soul was poetic. Many poets write for their own personal fulfillment, not hoping to have a great readership or convey any particular social message to others.
This was not Langston Hughes. In his introduction to Modern Black Poets: Gibson writes of Hughes: During the Twenties Hughes was turning outward, using language and themes, attitudes and ideas familiar to anyone who had the ability to read. The gray head of Mr. Yacobowski looms up over the counter.
He urges his eyes out of his thoughts to encounter her. Blue eyes. Slowly, like Indian summer moving imperceptibly toward fall, he looks toward her. Somewhere between retina and object, between vision and view, his eyes draw back, hesitate, and hover. At some fixed point in time and space he senses that he need not waste the effort of a glance. He does not see her, because for him there is nothing to see. How can a fifty-two-year-old white immigrant storekeeper with the taste of potatoes and beer in his mouth, his mind honed on the doe-eyed Virgin Mary, his sensibilities blunted by a permanent awareness of loss, see a little black girl?
Nothing in his life even suggested that the feat was possible, not to say desirable or necessary. And something more. The total absence of human recognition — the glazed separateness. She does not know what keeps his glance suspended. Perhaps because he is grown, or a man, and she a little girl. But she has seen interest, disgust, even anger in grown male eyes.
Yet this vacuum is not new to her. It has an edge; somewhere in the bottom lid is the distaste. The distaste must be for her, her blackness. Morrison, pp. I am blind. I cannot see. Color is no bar to me. I know neither Black nor white. I walk in night. Yet it seems I see mankind More tortured than the blind. Can it be that those who know Sight are often doomed to woe?
Or is it that, seeing, They never see With the infinite eyes Of one like me? Rampersad, p. Morrison restates the same idea by indicating us how the prejudiced Mr. Yacobowski fails to see Pecola. In fact, the white household provides her with whatever she lacks: Her sheer obsession with serving the white family prevents her from doing her motherly and spousal duties.
Thus, Pecola and her sister are degraded not only by the white, but also by their very own mother who fails to convey any motherly passion — whatsoever.
It was in the empty house That I came to dwell And in the empty house I found an empty hell. Why is it that an empty house, Untouched by human strife, Can hold more woe Than the wide world holds, More pain than a cutting knife? Therefore, even the notion of a welcoming home where is the last resort to stick to from a racist society which casts an accusing eye over them, if not ignoring them, fails Pecola and her brother as well.
I'm looking for a house In the world Where the white shadows Will not fall. There is no such house, Dark brothers, No such house At all. Probably it was one of the woes Hughes is lamenting in the poem above. It seems that the notion of the American Dream which once assured the first immigrants to the New World — regardless of their sex, race and finance — a prosperous future to be achieved through perseverance fails Morrison: First in the heart is the dream.
Then the mind starts seeking a way. A long time ago, An enslaved people heading toward freedom Made up a song: Hold On! The plow plowed a new furrow Across the field of history. Into that furrow the freedom seed was dropped. From that seed a tree grew, is growing, will ever grow. That tree is for everybody, For all America, for all the world. May its branches spread and its shelter grow Until all races and all peoples know its shade.
Rampersad, pp. Fourscore and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. That these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.
Across the chapters Of recorded time Shadows of so many hands Have fallen, Among them mine: Papers, stories, poems the whole world knows — The ever growing history of man Shadowed by my hand: My vote, my labor, lodges, clubs, All this A prelude to our age: 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. Except for McKay, they worked together also to create the short-lived magazine Fire!! Devoted to Younger Negro Artists. Hughes and his contemporaries had different goals and aspirations than the black middle class.
Hughes and his fellows tried to depict the "low-life" in their art, that is, the real lives of blacks in the lower social-economic strata.
They criticized the divisions and prejudices within the black community based on skin color.
The younger Negro artists who create now intend to express our individual dark-skinned selves without fear or shame. If white people are pleased we are glad. If they are not, it doesn't matter. We know we are beautiful. And ugly, too. The tom-tom cries, and the tom-tom laughs. If colored people are pleased we are glad. If they are not, their displeasure doesn't matter either.
We build our temples for tomorrow, strong as we know how, and we stand on top of the mountain free within ourselves. His poetry and fiction portrayed the lives of the working-class blacks in America, lives he portrayed as full of struggle, joy, laughter, and music. Permeating his work is pride in the African-American identity and its diverse culture. He confronted racial stereotypes, protested social conditions, and expanded African America's image of itself; a "people's poet" who sought to reeducate both audience and artist by lifting the theory of the black aesthetic into reality.
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. Hughes stressed a racial consciousness and cultural nationalism devoid of self-hate. His thought united people of African descent and Africa across the globe to encourage pride in their diverse black folk culture and black aesthetic. Hughes was one of the few prominent black writers to champion racial consciousness as a source of inspiration for black artists.
A radical black self-examination was emphasized in the face of European colonialism. At a time before widespread arts grants, Hughes gained the support of private patrons and he was supported for two years prior to publishing this novel.
In , Hughes and Ellen Winter wrote a pageant to Caroline Decker in an attempt to celebrate her work with the striking coal miners of the Harlan County War , but it was never performed. It was judged to be a "long, artificial propaganda vehicle too complicated and too cumbersome to be performed.
Maxim Lieber became his literary agent, —45 and — Chambers and Lieber worked in the underground together around — Hughes' first collection of short stories was published in with The Ways of White Folks. He finished the book at a Carmel, California cottage provided for a year by Noel Sullivan, another patron.
Overall, they are marked by a general pessimism about race relations, as well as a sardonic realism. In , Hughes received a Guggenheim Fellowship. The same year that Hughes established his theatre troupe in Los Angeles, he realized an ambition related to films by co-writing the screenplay for Way Down South. In Chicago, Hughes founded The Skyloft Players in , which sought to nurture black playwrights and offer theatre "from the black perspective.
The column ran for twenty years. In , Hughes began publishing stories about a character he called Jesse B. Semple, often referred to and spelled "Simple", the everyday black man in Harlem who offered musings on topical issues of the day.
In , he spent three months at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools as a visiting lecturer. He wrote novels, short stories, plays, poetry, operas, essays, and works for children. With the encouragement of his best friend and writer, Arna Bontemps , and patron and friend, Carl Van Vechten , he wrote two volumes of autobiography, The Big Sea and I Wonder as I Wander , as well as translating several works of literature into English.
From the mids to the mids, Hughes' popularity among the younger generation of black writers varied even as his reputation increased worldwide. With the gradual advance toward racial integration , many black writers considered his writings of black pride and its corresponding subject matter out of date.
They considered him a racial chauvinist. Hughes wanted young black writers to be objective about their race, but not to scorn it or flee it.
Hughes's work Panther and the Lash , posthumously published in , was intended to show solidarity with these writers, but with more skill and devoid of the most virulent anger and racial chauvinism some showed toward whites. He often helped writers by offering advice and introducing them to other influential persons in the literature and publishing communities. This latter group, including Alice Walker , whom Hughes discovered, looked upon Hughes as a hero and an example to be emulated within their own work.
One of these young black writers Loften Mitchell observed of Hughes:. Langston set a tone, a standard of brotherhood and friendship and cooperation, for all of us to follow. You never got from him, 'I am the Negro writer,' but only 'I am a Negro writer. Hughes, like many black writers and artists of his time, was drawn to the promise of Communism as an alternative to a segregated America. Many of his lesser-known political writings have been collected in two volumes published by the University of Missouri Press and reflect his attraction to Communism.
An example is the poem "A New Song". In , Hughes became part of a group of black people who went to the Soviet Union to make a film depicting the plight of African Americans in the United States. The film was never made, but Hughes was given the opportunity to travel extensively through the Soviet Union and to the Soviet-controlled regions in Central Asia, the latter parts usually closed to Westerners.
In Turkmenistan , Hughes met and befriended the Hungarian author Arthur Koestler , then a Communist who was given permission to travel there. As later noted in Koestler's autobiography, Hughes, together with some forty other Black Americans, had originally been invited to the Soviet Union to produce a Soviet film on "Negro Life",  but the Soviets dropped the film idea because of their success in getting the US to recognize the Soviet Union and establish an embassy in Moscow.
This entailed a toning down of Soviet propaganda on racial segregation in America. Hughes and his fellow Blacks were not informed of the reasons for the cancelling, but he and Koestler worked it out for themselves. Hughes also managed to travel to China and Japan before returning to the States. Hughes's poetry was frequently published in the CPUSA newspaper and he was involved in initiatives supported by Communist organizations, such as the drive to free the Scottsboro Boys.
Partly as a show of support for the Republican faction during the Spanish Civil War , in Hughes traveled to Spain  as a correspondent for the Baltimore Afro-American and other various African-American newspapers.
He was more of a sympathizer than an active participant. He signed a statement supporting Joseph Stalin 's purges and joined the American Peace Mobilization in working to keep the U. Hughes initially did not favor black American involvement in the war because of the persistence of discriminatory U.
Jim Crow laws and racial segregation and disfranchisement throughout the South. He came to support the war effort and black American participation after deciding that war service would aid their struggle for civil rights at home. They provided a foundation for nontheistic participation in social struggle. Hughes was accused of being a Communist by many on the political right, but he always denied it.
When asked why he never joined the Communist Party, he wrote, "it was based on strict discipline and the acceptance of directives that I, as a writer, did not wish to accept.
He stated, "I never read the theoretical books of socialism or communism or the Democratic or Republican parties for that matter, and so my interest in whatever may be considered political has been non-theoretical, non-sectarian, and largely emotional and born out of my own need to find some way of thinking about this whole problem of myself.
He moved away from overtly political poems and towards more lyric subjects. When selecting his poetry for his Selected Poems he excluded all his radical socialist verse from the s. Hughes' life has been portrayed in film and stage productions since the late 20th century. Spike Lee 's film Get on the Bus , included a black gay character, played by Isaiah Washington , who invokes the name of Hughes and punches a homophobic character, saying: Hughes' Ask Your Mama: The novel Harlem Mosaics by Whit Frazier depicts the friendship between Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, and tells the story of how their friendship fell apart during their collaboration on the play Mule Bone.
The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University holds the Langston Hughes papers — and the Langston Hughes collection — containing letters, manuscripts, personal items, photographs, clippings, artworks, and objects that document the life of Hughes.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Langston Hughes disambiguation. Famous Concert Singer , with Steven C. Poetry portal African American portal Children's literature portal. New York Times. Retrieved August 9, Realism in the Novels of the Harlem Renaissance. The Big Sea. Retrieved December 15, Leach, Langston Hughes: A Biography , Greenwood Publishing Group, , pp. African-Native American Scholars. Retrieved July 30, Principle and Politics", in Leon F.
Nobody ever cried in my grandmother's stories.