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The Collected Poems

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Spanning five decades and comprising 868 poems (nearly 300 of which have never before appeared in book form), this magnificent volume is the definitive sampling of a writer who has been called the poet laureate of African America--and perhaps our greatest popular poet since Walt Whitman.  Here, for the first time, are all the poems that Langston Hughes published during his Spanning five decades and comprising 868 poems (nearly 300 of which have never before appeared in book form), this magnificent volume is the definitive sampling of a writer who has been called the poet laureate of African America--and perhaps our greatest popular poet since Walt Whitman.  Here, for the first time, are all the poems that Langston Hughes published during his lifetime, arranged in the general order in which he wrote them and annotated by Arnold Rampersad and David Roessel. Alongside such famous works as "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" and Montage of a Dream Deferred, The Collected Poems includes the author's lesser-known verse for children; topical poems distributed through the Associated Negro Press; and poems such as "Goodbye Christ" that were once suppressed.  Lyrical and pungent, passionate and polemical, the result is a treasure of a book, the essential collection of a poet whose words have entered our common language.


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Spanning five decades and comprising 868 poems (nearly 300 of which have never before appeared in book form), this magnificent volume is the definitive sampling of a writer who has been called the poet laureate of African America--and perhaps our greatest popular poet since Walt Whitman.  Here, for the first time, are all the poems that Langston Hughes published during his Spanning five decades and comprising 868 poems (nearly 300 of which have never before appeared in book form), this magnificent volume is the definitive sampling of a writer who has been called the poet laureate of African America--and perhaps our greatest popular poet since Walt Whitman.  Here, for the first time, are all the poems that Langston Hughes published during his lifetime, arranged in the general order in which he wrote them and annotated by Arnold Rampersad and David Roessel. Alongside such famous works as "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" and Montage of a Dream Deferred, The Collected Poems includes the author's lesser-known verse for children; topical poems distributed through the Associated Negro Press; and poems such as "Goodbye Christ" that were once suppressed.  Lyrical and pungent, passionate and polemical, the result is a treasure of a book, the essential collection of a poet whose words have entered our common language.

30 review for The Collected Poems

  1. 4 out of 5

    Charity

    I am insanely in love with Langston Hughes' poetry. My favorite: 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? I am insanely in love with Langston Hughes' poetry. My favorite: 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?

  2. 4 out of 5

    Madeline

    Awesome and passionate and stirring and lovely, all in ways a 21st century Midwestern white girl probably isn't fully qualified to appreciate. "Justice That Justice is a blind goddess Is a thing to which we black are wise: Her bandage hides two festering sores That once perhaps were eyes." "The Negro Speaks of Rivers I've known rivers: I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human rivers My soul has grown deep like the rivers. I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns w Awesome and passionate and stirring and lovely, all in ways a 21st century Midwestern white girl probably isn't fully qualified to appreciate. "Justice That Justice is a blind goddess Is a thing to which we black are wise: Her bandage hides two festering sores That once perhaps were eyes." "The Negro Speaks of Rivers I've known rivers: I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human rivers 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." "Songs I sat there singing her Songs in the dark. She said; 'I do not understand The words'. I said; 'There are No words'." Read for: Modern Poetry

  3. 4 out of 5

    Winter Sophia Rose

    Insightful, Timeless, Heartfelt, Realistic & Compelling! A Powerful & Beautiful Read! I Loved It!

  4. 4 out of 5

    B. P. Rinehart

    It's a comprehensive anthology of Langston Hughes' poems, that's all you need to know. It's a comprehensive anthology of Langston Hughes' poems, that's all you need to know.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jelinas

    When I’ve seen someone do something really well, it often inspires me to try it for myself – especially as it pertains to writing. When I read a really good book, it makes me want to write fiction. When I hear a really good performance, it makes me want to write songs. And after reading The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, I want to write poetry so badly that all of my thoughts have been forming in blank verse for days. I first discovered Langston Hughes in high school. I was part of our school When I’ve seen someone do something really well, it often inspires me to try it for myself – especially as it pertains to writing. When I read a really good book, it makes me want to write fiction. When I hear a really good performance, it makes me want to write songs. And after reading The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, I want to write poetry so badly that all of my thoughts have been forming in blank verse for days. I first discovered Langston Hughes in high school. I was part of our school’s Academic Challenge Bowl team (yes, it’s even nerdier than it sounds) and one of my assignments was to read through this fat anthology of American Literature. The book had a section on the Harlem Renaissance. For the most part, I felt like a poser whilst reading it – I hadn’t really experienced the oppression or suffering in my fourteen years of life that Arna Bontemps and Claude McKay were describing. It made me vaguely uncomfortable to try to understand – how could I, an Asian teen living in the mostly-Caucasian suburbs and attending a predominantly Hispanic school, understand the woes and triumphs of a black man fighting for human rights in 1920s Harlem? But then I got to 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? *** I knew what it meant to have a dream deferred. In some ways, a dream deferred is worse than a dream completely crushed. When a dream is crushed, you can let it go and start to heal. But a dream deferred leaves you with hope, leaves you hanging on. Sometimes you think you’ll never heal. And the reactions to this situation can vary from day to day. You might be angry one day, despondent the next, okay with it a few days later, and then back to anger by the end of the week. Langston Hughes understood it. And I understood Langston Hughes. And, suddenly, I felt like I could read Bontemps and McKay and understand them, too. I started picking up all the Hughes I could get my hands on. I haunted the library that summer, looking for poems I’d skipped over. I didn’t care much for poetry at that point in my life, but reading Hughes changed that almost instantly. Suddenly, I loved the lyrical quality that separates poetry from prose. So when I ran into this book at Barnes and Noble a few years back, I just had to get it. And I’ve been slowly reading through it ever since, savoring the verse and the rhythm and the words. Hughes writes about a rainbow of topics, not all of them serious. He writes about love, freedom, poverty, oppression, beauty, pain – and every other shade of life experience you can imagine. He’s famous for his contribution to the Harlem Renaissance, but his work transcends the movement. Hughes is relatable. He took his specific suffering and sees in it the thing that connects us all – humanity. He had a gift for showing you that glint of commonness amongst all the differences. But Langston Hughes didn’t just write about the plight of the black man. I love that this volume includes his verses for children – fanciful verse, without a trace of the fire and sorrow that surge through so many of his poems for adults. Through the course of reading this book, Langston Hughes has been cemented in his position as my favorite poet. He expresses so perfectly the gamut of the life experience. He understood it. And when I read him, I can, too.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Emma Sea

    To my shame, I'd never heard of Langston Hughes before this year (don't judge me too harshly; I bet you've never heard of Witi Ihimaera). It's kind of bleedin' obvious, but wow, amazing! I didn't like the actual book too much; the binding was poor and quite a few pages popped out, and I didn't like the font, or some of the section title page layouts. The four stars reflects very much my rating of this particular physical book, not the poetry. Which is a ten. I'd recommend buying a different editi To my shame, I'd never heard of Langston Hughes before this year (don't judge me too harshly; I bet you've never heard of Witi Ihimaera). It's kind of bleedin' obvious, but wow, amazing! I didn't like the actual book too much; the binding was poor and quite a few pages popped out, and I didn't like the font, or some of the section title page layouts. The four stars reflects very much my rating of this particular physical book, not the poetry. Which is a ten. I'd recommend buying a different edition.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    The wisdom by which I govern my life, I find in the poetry of Langston Hughes. Beyond color, beyond era, this man sings a song of life which is in harmony with the music of my thoughts: it pulls me through the day-to-day drudgery, it whips me from my laziness and sadness, it ignites my rage against inhumanity, it laughs with my joy, and it shows me how to celebrate a life in all of its moments. Each of us has a poet or poetry that will speak to us if we allow it to. So much of it seems incompreh The wisdom by which I govern my life, I find in the poetry of Langston Hughes. Beyond color, beyond era, this man sings a song of life which is in harmony with the music of my thoughts: it pulls me through the day-to-day drudgery, it whips me from my laziness and sadness, it ignites my rage against inhumanity, it laughs with my joy, and it shows me how to celebrate a life in all of its moments. Each of us has a poet or poetry that will speak to us if we allow it to. So much of it seems incomprehensible and boring, but only because one does not feel any connection with the author, the words, the meaning. Hughes is my poet. Find him or find your own, but do yourself the favor of discovering that sweet song that blends with your own internal music.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Camille

    A book that belongs in every poetry lovers' house. He was brilliant and his poems withstand the test of time. A book that belongs in every poetry lovers' house. He was brilliant and his poems withstand the test of time.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Shayana

    Have you ever read something that made your face frown and made you think-what?! Well the poem Mother to Son by Langston Hughes did that exact thing to me. As I read this poem our face turned upside down. The struggle of the poem is the best. It was that the mother's life was really rough, she didn't want her son to go through what she went through.The Imagery, Man ! the imagery used in the poem is the common imagery that is used in everyday life. However, not thought about in that same way. Thi Have you ever read something that made your face frown and made you think-what?! Well the poem Mother to Son by Langston Hughes did that exact thing to me. As I read this poem our face turned upside down. The struggle of the poem is the best. It was that the mother's life was really rough, she didn't want her son to go through what she went through.The Imagery, Man ! the imagery used in the poem is the common imagery that is used in everyday life. However, not thought about in that same way. This poem is realistic. We can picture most of the things that are in "Mother to Son". These are some reasons why you can like this poem but there are many more ! The imagery in the poem is really outstanding , but you may not catch it as soon you read it. That's how good it is! The usage of it is normal but you have to think outside of the box to get it. Whenever you see imagery you see everyone use commonly. Also this way is common but used in a different way. Most would understand. "Don't you set down on the steps", as the mother says. You may think she is talking about the stairs we walk on but she explains the trials and tribulations of being alive. Which means the ways of living life as in happiness and or the struggle. In this specific poem, you can find alot of struggle. As we mentioned in the paragraph above, struggle can be found alot in this poem. She had alot of problems she has been put through , but is trying to let her son know that life isn't always happy and filled with joy. There are something that you are going to be scared to do and somethings that you are going to be able to get through. "Where there ain't no light. So, boy, don't you turn back." This phrase tells you that there can be nothing but you still do not give up on it ! Anything can be hard or can make you feel like you are strugling but you can not back down from it. Perserverance is the key word here! So you say you can acutally picture what she is saying ?! Yes you can picture the way the mother explains herself . She makes it seem like you are in the poem, which makes it realistic. You can see that the mother is been put through alot and you can say that it realisitic because you can put yourself into her shoes. Once you can relate to something it has become realistic. This poem can relate to alot of people so you can call it realistic So what some mother's can't relate to Mother to Son the thing about this poem someone can learn from it ! Being a mother and growing up, having a hard life of course you wouldn't want your child having to deal with the something. She wants her child to have a life that she couldn't enjoy. Most people still this day can relate to how realistic Mother to Son is, anybody's mom can sit their child down and tell their child how rough their life was, just imagine all the hard times your mom went through. Maybe not having any lunch money or having to wait months and months to get a new pair of sneakers, because their wasn't enough money in the house hold.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Emilie Frechie

    When I teach American Lit., and more specifically the Harlem Renaissance, Hughes resonates with students more than any other. He has the ability to define the American identity, particularly for young readers, in a focused way that is unmatched. I had a student in one of my most challenging classes ever, raise his hand and say that he thought that the issues with violence in the inner city were just the "explosion or collision" of so many generations of "deferred dreams." The class fell silent t When I teach American Lit., and more specifically the Harlem Renaissance, Hughes resonates with students more than any other. He has the ability to define the American identity, particularly for young readers, in a focused way that is unmatched. I had a student in one of my most challenging classes ever, raise his hand and say that he thought that the issues with violence in the inner city were just the "explosion or collision" of so many generations of "deferred dreams." The class fell silent that day, and does every day that I recount that insight to other classes.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Batya K.

    Honestly English-language poetry reached its peak with Hughes, the rest of us should probably give up.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Daniel L.

    A Towering Achievement, a Poet of the People Langston Hughes has been called "the Shakespeare of Harlem." The quality of his poems are certainly worthy of comparison to the Bard's Sonnets. I would add one more nickname: "the Walt Whitman of Harlem." Langston Hughes, as other reviewers have stated, was also very much a poet of the people, not just African American but all Americans. Langston Hughes's poetry sheds a powerful light on the Black experience in all its complexities, from every perspect A Towering Achievement, a Poet of the People Langston Hughes has been called "the Shakespeare of Harlem." The quality of his poems are certainly worthy of comparison to the Bard's Sonnets. I would add one more nickname: "the Walt Whitman of Harlem." Langston Hughes, as other reviewers have stated, was also very much a poet of the people, not just African American but all Americans. Langston Hughes's poetry sheds a powerful light on the Black experience in all its complexities, from every perspective. This book is "must reading" for anyone wanting to learn more about the people and cultures of the United States, and its debt to people of African descent. Included in this masterful anthology are essays on the life of Langston Hughes and his poetry. The primary poems are divided by decades; other work is included in three appendices. The first appendix comprises poems circulated by the Associated Negro Press but were never part of the general canon. The second appendix contains poetry for children, though readers interested in this area will want to acquire a copy of Hughes's "Black Misery." The third appendix includes additional poems attributed to Langston Hughes and whos authenticity has been confirmed since the first edition of the "Collected Poems of Langston Hughes." My only complaint with this book is not with its contents but the flimsy soft cover. A more substantial cover is a necessity, for this is a book that I, like so many other people, turn to over and over again. It is easy to take for granted how much of American culture has its roots in African-American culture, especially literature and music. If you are looking for an example of this notion, you have come to the right place. Langston Hughes's poetry is steeped in Jazz rhythms and social consciousness; it is, at the same time, an assertion of black civil rights and an astute observation of black (and, by extension, American) cultural awareness. In short, it is "must reading" for anyone with an interest in any of these areas.It's a big book, certainly not something one can devour in a single sitting. Then, again, one wouldn't want to; this is a collection of poems to savor and reflect upon.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sadia Mansoor

    The struggle Blacks went through, The rights Blacks were deprived of, The pain, the humiliation, the slavery Blacks had to bear, The patience Blacks had to endure, The suffering & injustice Blacks had to live with . . . All in all was perfectly pictured by Hughes' poetry (Y) This is one of the best collection of poems for understanding Black Literature The struggle Blacks went through, The rights Blacks were deprived of, The pain, the humiliation, the slavery Blacks had to bear, The patience Blacks had to endure, The suffering & injustice Blacks had to live with . . . All in all was perfectly pictured by Hughes' poetry (Y) This is one of the best collection of poems for understanding Black Literature

  14. 5 out of 5

    Gayle Pitman

    I'm someone who often has a hard time "getting" poetry. When I read Langston Hughes, particularly poems like "Dear Lovely Death," "Mother to Son," and "Memo to Non-White Peoples," I get it. I checked this book out of the library, and now I'm going to buy a copy. Some of these poems I'll read again and again. I'm someone who often has a hard time "getting" poetry. When I read Langston Hughes, particularly poems like "Dear Lovely Death," "Mother to Son," and "Memo to Non-White Peoples," I get it. I checked this book out of the library, and now I'm going to buy a copy. Some of these poems I'll read again and again.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Angèle

    I studied Langston Huges' poetry with my English teacher this year and I absolutely loved it! I fell in love with his style of writing... so lovely I studied Langston Huges' poetry with my English teacher this year and I absolutely loved it! I fell in love with his style of writing... so lovely

  16. 4 out of 5

    Marc Kohlman

    An unsurpassed collection of poems full of breathtaking beauty, dazzling use of music, majestic pride and celebration of the human spirit! I read the book as part of a course I took on Langston Hughes work from August to December of last year. Now that I have finished college, I can finally write this review. The poems explore the complexity of Hughes own character and the events of his own time. What really struck me about the poems was how they centered on an array of different subjects and ar An unsurpassed collection of poems full of breathtaking beauty, dazzling use of music, majestic pride and celebration of the human spirit! I read the book as part of a course I took on Langston Hughes work from August to December of last year. Now that I have finished college, I can finally write this review. The poems explore the complexity of Hughes own character and the events of his own time. What really struck me about the poems was how they centered on an array of different subjects and are able to look beyond their own time forecasting what we will face in ours. The incredible life-span story of Hughes and the experiences which inspired many of his famous poems also was interesting to me. "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" is one of my favorites of Hughes poems because of its collective representation, the separation of the individual with "My" and its message of survival and perseverance. The poem was also significant to me as a Mulatto person through the nostalgic, reverent, unifying and historical pride at the heart of it. I loved how Hughes really chronicled the history of Africa's roots through the rivers that have played roles in the story of African peoples journey from their homeland to the USA. "The Weary Blues" is lyrical with alliteration, rhyme, couplets and slam rhymes most effective. The uses of Standard American English and Blues language was also interesting. Under the surface of the depressive shroud of the poem, it carries the theme of moving forward and never give in to depression and hardship. This poem certainly painted the picture of the constant stress Hughes needed to shake off but cannot escape. The poem "Laughers" is amazing because it addresses the struggles of the common working African-American person. The appreciation of peoples culture past and present struck a chord with me and how each person has their own line in a sort of envelope structure. It was interesting how dancers, singers and laughers are indented twice. The poem provides a Blue Collar mentality in African-American culture, which is quite Geo-political. Two other poems from this collection that I liked were "The Negro" and "My People." The nature and labor-based imagery of those two are intriguing. They show how African-Americans laugh at Fate when an outside voice asks them why they are laughing. The poem has a proud tone to it. While Fate has the control in the end, "Loud Laughers" African-Americans make their own destiny whereas with the "Loud-Mouthed" it is out of their hands. "Prayer" is a brief rhetorical poem that addresses theological questions to God and answers them- which I think speaks volumes. it covers a huge religious scope with its tone transitions, confusion and decisiveness in a despondent way. Poems such as "Jazz Band in a Parisian Cabaret" illustrates the Jazz influence to a number of Hughes late poems as it switches between different languages, club atmosphere and romantic words. it is a very internationally generated poem. Another of Hughes poems that I enjoyed was "Midwinter Blues" with the use of a single verse sung only once, change in chord and singing in different lines. The tight rhyme scheme was well used too. Dialect is barely used in this poem in the romantic conflict with the female speaker, influenced by Blues culture. The poems in "Fields of Wonder" are both spectacular with their unparalleled language and awesome power. They address important topics ranging from pain, suffering, death, natural seasons and expression of feeling. The poems are universal and lyrical through Hughes use of music and exclusion of racial and political arguments. The movement, ambivalence and emphasis placed on the self makes the poems in that collection rousing. The poem "One Way Ticket" in contrast is optimistic, a welcome transition from the apparent dreariness in "Fields of Wonder." I liked the poem particularly for its movement, conversational dialogue and expression of feeling which Hughes often holds back in most of his writings. It is simple and direct on stereotypical subjects using humor, rhythm and Blues. "Ode to Dinah" I liked for its use of non-natural imagery, flow and the "quarter of time" symbolized by a coin. It focuses on Communism and economics very clearly. Following this poem, "Blues In Stereo" also refers to time, referring to an ancient river and using natural elements in contrast to its predecessor. Its representation of poor people living in the wild as "savage" is very flat out as well as its allusion to Colonialism. The poem is a pleasurably messy one indeed. "Horn of Plenty" was sarcastic as it played on the African-American stereotypes. The poem even called integration a joke and represents the disparity between economics and class using $ and cents signs, It certainly addresses what is not wisely invested in and has yet to change, which are major issues in societies today. Hughes "Gospel Cha-cha" impressed me with its references to Afro-Haitian Voodoo religion, its heavy use of gospel music, natural imagery related to it as well as economics. "Is it True" is another poem that contains different cultural influences, particularly with Spanish language. While the poem is silent and briefly uses music, it addresses the voices that are not listened to, triumph over difficulty and African-American folk culture that is not recorded. "Ask Your Mama"I thought was amazing with its references to different street addresses, swift movement and singularity. The poem raises the question" Why speak a lesser language when you have more elegant ones? Its main assertion is the heart of the African-American community still beats strongly. The metaphor of Martin Luther as a Unicorn was interesting and the phrase repetitions of the poem drove it forward. "Bird in Orbit" encompassed similar details to "Ask Your Mama". "Jazzet Muted" spoke to me through its sense of loss, image of fire, darkness and the oppression of African-Americans. Hughes really expresses the anger let loose in the Juke Joint and Harlem club settings. "Quarter of the Negroes" is a poem immersed in music with African drums, piano, maracas and gospel references. The usage and mentions of foreign languages and countries certainly was cool along with popular cultural and political figures from Jazz artists, writers, revolutionaries to elected African presidents. "Ride, Red, Ride" used many of the same features but raised the question of how does a movement/change happen? "Shades of Pigmeat", a more comedic poem, turned negative facts positive while it addresses stereotypes and racial persecution through Hughes effective use of Satire. The poems of Hughes final book "The Panther & the Lash" while they seem like a less hopeful collection centers on the Civil Rights Movement and also Dope addiction. It represents the marginalization of the African-American population and impatience to see progress happen. Politically, Hughes last volume of poems is effective and while the tone is more militant, the poems contributed to the momentum of the Black Freedom Movement. This collection of Langston Hughes poems is a marvelous one, bringing together all of the pieces by one of the most renowned poets in American history. If you are not familiar with Hughes work, this book is a must-read for all people. The poems messages transcend nation, experience and circumstances.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Austin Evans

    It would be seriously remiss if middle schoolers were not exposed to the poetry of Langston Hughes at some point during their middle education. There are many brilliant gems in this collection of poems but one of the poems I would have my students read is as follows: "I loved my friend/ He went away from me./ There’s nothing more to say./ The poem ends,/ Soft as it began-- / I loved my friend." The elegantly beautiful poem offers so much with so few words. It reveals the unspoken sentiments of l It would be seriously remiss if middle schoolers were not exposed to the poetry of Langston Hughes at some point during their middle education. There are many brilliant gems in this collection of poems but one of the poems I would have my students read is as follows: "I loved my friend/ He went away from me./ There’s nothing more to say./ The poem ends,/ Soft as it began-- / I loved my friend." The elegantly beautiful poem offers so much with so few words. It reveals the unspoken sentiments of loss while also leaving Love and loss are certainly not strangers to each other. In order to love something, one has to put part of themselves in to it and there is always a risk of losing that investment. Middle schoolers are figuring this out as they reach out to and latch on to anything that will help them to ground their identity. Sometimes though, the friends they pour so much of themselves into stray away. What happens next is a turmoil, a void where love longs to be again. This emptiness, frustration, and pain, while perhaps never fully healed, can certainly be processed through the art of expression. In order to give students the skills to use language as a tool for processing complex emotions like love and loss, I would have them first analyze and interpret Langston Hughes poem in groups. Their objective in these groups would be to conjecture why Mr. Hughes is feeling the way he is and what happened to his friend. After group discussion we would bring the topic to whole class discussion and hear the different theories. I would then introduce students to the six-word memoir as explained by Kelly Gallagher in Write Like This and have them write about a time they felt loss. By limiting the amount of words students would be compelled to choose only the most imperative and emotive words to get their meaning across, much like Langston Hughes did in his poem.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Megan Hevener

    Looking at the poem, "Harlem," students will be able to see how figurative language can enhance a poet's voice. Hughes uses a great combination of imagery and similes to help describe when dreams are not acknowledge taking a special look at Harlem. First read: I will read the poem to the students and they will read along silently. Second read: They will use Beer's strategy: Sensory Key Code to find what sparks their five senses in this short poem. They will underline and make the appropriate sen Looking at the poem, "Harlem," students will be able to see how figurative language can enhance a poet's voice. Hughes uses a great combination of imagery and similes to help describe when dreams are not acknowledge taking a special look at Harlem. First read: I will read the poem to the students and they will read along silently. Second read: They will use Beer's strategy: Sensory Key Code to find what sparks their five senses in this short poem. They will underline and make the appropriate sensory code beside the line. Third read: students will make comments on what they notice that is new or something that is more clear to them after reading it again. After this, students will think about a dream/goal that did not come true for them. They will write a poem incorporating similes and imagery into their poem just like Hughes's poem.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kristýna Marková

    His poetry is just so incredible. It tugs at your heart strings. I was never one to relish in a poetry, but after discovering Langston Hughes’s poetry a few years ago, I started to get more into it. I still think that poetry should be felt, more than talked about, because to me that is the purpose of poetry. To make you feel. And Langston Hughes’s poems did just that. I was always curious about African-American culture, and he offered an insight right into it. I especially love his poems “I, Too” His poetry is just so incredible. It tugs at your heart strings. I was never one to relish in a poetry, but after discovering Langston Hughes’s poetry a few years ago, I started to get more into it. I still think that poetry should be felt, more than talked about, because to me that is the purpose of poetry. To make you feel. And Langston Hughes’s poems did just that. I was always curious about African-American culture, and he offered an insight right into it. I especially love his poems “I, Too” and “Harlem, Dream Deferred”. What happens to a dream deferred? Everyone has dreams, and everyone has certain expectations of what their life is going to look like. Or, what they want it to look like. But more than anyone, African-Americans, and Black people in general, have been the ones to put off their dreams the most. Sometimes that’s all that it was, all that it could be. A dream. A dream they knew would never come true. Hughes’s poetry is in most part about the oppression of black people and the comparison of life of blacks and whites. About the opportunities they are not given. “O, let my land be a land where Liberty Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath, But opportunity is real, and life is free, Equality is in the air we breathe. (There's never been equality for me, Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.") About the things taken from them. About what happens to people who aren’t allowed to grow. Or at least, not in the way they would want or need. They are about hope. They are words for his fellow blacks to not to despair. Better times will come and the whites will realize what they have done to them. It’s horrible to think that now, more than fifty years later, there’s still so many people who think otherwise. But luckily not the majority. But he also celebrates blackness, he sees the beauty of it and the rich history they have that is oftentimes taken from them. Hughes’s poetry is raw and very touching. It’s full of raw emotions. Hope. Anger. Disappointment. Sadness. It makes you stop and think about his words. It hits you, and that is probably exactly what he wanted. So what does happen to a dream deferred? I think in this poem Hughes tries to explain what happens to people with unfulfilled dreams. Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? what is the it he’s talking about? Is it a person’s soul? Does one become uninterested. Vague. Or fester like a sore – and then run? Does one become angry, evil even, lashing out at everyone? Does it stink like rotten meat? Does it force you to think about it all the time? Does it make you feel like you failed? Or does it make you angry because you never really had a chance? Or crust and sugar over – like a syrupy sweet? Or does it make you lax, like why would you even try if there’s no way for you to succeed anyway? Maybe it just sags, like a heavy load. Makes you feel tired because of how things are. How difficult they are, no matter how hard you try they still stay difficult. Or does it explode? In "Harlem [1]", “Puzzled", Hughes talks about life in Harlem, where they were practically separated because no whites wanted to live in black neighbourhoods. In the poem, Hughes describes Harlem as the edge of hell, so we can only imagine, what life there must have been like. Remembering the old lies, the old kicks in the back, the old “Be patient”. The old lies probably meaning you will get that job, you will get that house, and they never kept their word. You will get your rights when it’s your turn, but it’s never their turn, as we continue seeing even today. Now when the man at the cor ner store says sugar’s gone up another two cents, and bread one, and there’s a new tax on cigarettes. Life in poverty. Basically living in slums. Surviving from one day to another. Not knowing what’s gonna come next. We remember the job we never had, never could get, and can’t have now. Because we’re coloured. They were discriminated because of the colour of their skin. They were seen as less than just because of them being black. So we stand here, on the edge of hell, in Harlem, and look out on the world and wonder what we’re gonna do in the face of what we remember. How can they change their situation, if everyone judges them, before they even know them? How can they change their situation if no one gives them a chance? They remember the promises that were made to them and I just think how angry and powerless they must feel, when the system works against them, and I find it absolutely disgusting how anyone can think that they are any better just because they are white. The colour of one’s skin says nothing about one’s character.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Chris Harrison

    “The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes” contains every poem that Langston Hughes ever published. It is an expansive collection that encompasses his entire 40 year plus career. Reading it is an enlightening experience! I loved too many poems to mention. Here are a few that speak volumes. "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" 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 daw “The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes” contains every poem that Langston Hughes ever published. It is an expansive collection that encompasses his entire 40 year plus career. Reading it is an enlightening experience! I loved too many poems to mention. Here are a few that speak volumes. "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" 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. "Advice" Folks, I'm telling you, birthing is hard and dying is mean — so get yourself a little loving in between. "Death In Yorkville" (James Powell, Summer, 1964) How many bullets does it take To kill a fifteen-year-old kid? How many bullets does it take To kill me? How many centuries does it take To bind my mind — chain my feet — Rope my neck — lynch me — Unfree? From the slave chain to the lynch rope To the bullets of Yorkville, Jamestown, 1619 to 1963: Emancipation Centennial — 100 years NOT free. Civil War Centennial: 1965 How many Centennials does it take To kill me, Still alive? When the long hot summers come Death ain’t No jive. "Me and My Song" Black As the gentle night Black As the kind and quiet night As the deep productive earth Body Out of Africa Strong and black As iron First smelted in Africa Song Out of Africa Deep and mellow song Rich As the black earth Strong as black iron Kind As the black night My song From the dark lips Of Africa Deep As the rich earth Beautiful As the black night Strong As the first iron Black Out of Africa Me and my Song

  21. 5 out of 5

    Arash

    A good poetry book ...

  22. 5 out of 5

    J

    Let me start off by saying: • I don't even like poetry • We live in a time (August 2017) when the poems in this collection are highly relevant and, in my view, required reading • I should have started by reading one of Hughes' shorter collections; it would have cut out a lot of the weaker poems This huge, exhaustive collection of Langston Hughes' works contains all kinds of poems. There are political ones—Communist, mostly, as that seems to have been Hughes' ideal. There are ones about race and the Let me start off by saying: • I don't even like poetry • We live in a time (August 2017) when the poems in this collection are highly relevant and, in my view, required reading • I should have started by reading one of Hughes' shorter collections; it would have cut out a lot of the weaker poems This huge, exhaustive collection of Langston Hughes' works contains all kinds of poems. There are political ones—Communist, mostly, as that seems to have been Hughes' ideal. There are ones about race and the black experience in America. There are other snapshot-like poems on various topics, some of them hinting at Hughes being a homosexual, as was suspected. My favourite poems from this collection are the ones about racism and, more broadly, being black in America from the 1920s to the 1960s. They are powerful without being overwritten or obscene. They tell a lot in a few simple stanzas. What's more, reading them made me indescribably sad at how much of the world that Hughes wished people would live in by now—and which he predicted for the future—is not yet a reality. It's horrific to see how much of the struggles of black people (and other marginalized populations) continue at the same level as 75 years ago. It makes you ask: How much have we really done? Will people hate others for the colour of their skin forever? A maddening road to travel down, and one that many people of colour are forced to travel to this day. For a list of my favourite poems, please visit: https://imgur.com/gallery/AGUcS I wasn't a big fan of the rest of the poems in this collection. There are many short poems (1-3 stanzas) that consist of an intriguing concept, but don't develop the thought in full. Also, there are a chunk of poems hailing Communism—specifically the Russian and Chinese variety. Regardless of my views on the subject (that you shouldn't glorify any political system), the poems aren't written very... poetically. They read like a manifesto, and the momentum of the collection as a whole is lost whenever one of the drier of these poems appears. It is difficult to rate this book because some of the poems are 5* are others are 2*. Overall, my rating system is such that 4* means I would read other books like this, and 3* means reading this kind of book once was enough. While I might not have loved every poem, I would certainly read other similar books.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany

    My first experience with Ask Your Mama (must get up a performance with students!), and some of the later and children's work. Really wonderfully layers and nuances a look at Hughes' career, a career that is usually only marked in anthologies by some poems of his teens and twenties. Really, Ask Your Mama seems to, for me, help me think about Hughes' interaction with the artistic and musical currents in the early 60s. I'm moving on to the biographies next, but it seems like Ask Your Mama in partic My first experience with Ask Your Mama (must get up a performance with students!), and some of the later and children's work. Really wonderfully layers and nuances a look at Hughes' career, a career that is usually only marked in anthologies by some poems of his teens and twenties. Really, Ask Your Mama seems to, for me, help me think about Hughes' interaction with the artistic and musical currents in the early 60s. I'm moving on to the biographies next, but it seems like Ask Your Mama in particular shows little evidence of Hughes' poetry falling off as he aged. And so thanks to this read through, I begin to think of Hughes and Levertov, Hughes and Clifton, Hughes and Brooks, Hughes and Black Arts more centrally, Hughes and O'Hara by way of Baraka?--as well as looking back, at Hughes in the tradition of Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (along with Dunbar). This of course, having not overmuch read the associated criticism. I'm headed to Rampersad's bio next, so we'll see what he does with the work. Regarding the collection and edition, I do wish that a bit more specificity in terms of composition and publication information was offered within the text itself. Dates don't obtrude and deflect reader attention that much, do they? The jacket description, that it's good for scholars or dabblers alike, seems a bit too optimistic.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Anima

    Every single poem in this collection proves that L.Hughes is a man of great power of thought and sensibility. Critics describe him as a poet with radical views who portrayed the African American life in the 20's through 60's, but to me he is the voice that tells us truths about all people who have to work hard to make a living, about those who have no other choice than to follow the 'leaders'. He talks about native Africans working in the Johannesburg mines, but aren't we all doing similar jobs Every single poem in this collection proves that L.Hughes is a man of great power of thought and sensibility. Critics describe him as a poet with radical views who portrayed the African American life in the 20's through 60's, but to me he is the voice that tells us truths about all people who have to work hard to make a living, about those who have no other choice than to follow the 'leaders'. He talks about native Africans working in the Johannesburg mines, but aren't we all doing similar jobs ( defined as more or less academic or elegant) for the wealthiest 1% that have about 50 % of the world's wealth? He talks about things from our daily life, such as walls- universal witnesses of pain, joy, hate and love that are feelings crossing through our life regardless of the place on earth where we live.The stories of the 'Naughty Child' and of the 'Girl' are about events that can happen to people around us in every country, city or village of the world. If you read the collection take few more minutes for the 'Shades of Pigment' and ' Same in Blues'- two outstanding poems that will touch your heart and will battle your mind.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jimmy

    It is a lot of reading and not all of it is good, but I loved most of what I read. What a fascinating man. I would love to watch some documentaries about his life.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    How did I make it to my 58th year without reading Langston Hughes? This was a fascinating and exhilarating journey through someone else's eyes. Hughes led a life that took him through much of the turbulence of the 20th century--his race and his intellect combining to keep him an outsider in many waysto both white and black cultures of the day. He wrote evocatively of the Harlem he knew and the jazz that he loves using language and themes that bring you into that scene as few others have. His ear How did I make it to my 58th year without reading Langston Hughes? This was a fascinating and exhilarating journey through someone else's eyes. Hughes led a life that took him through much of the turbulence of the 20th century--his race and his intellect combining to keep him an outsider in many waysto both white and black cultures of the day. He wrote evocatively of the Harlem he knew and the jazz that he loves using language and themes that bring you into that scene as few others have. His early work is powerful stuff, the middle era (marked by an anger and bitterness which propelled him towards Communism as an answer to the inequalities of American society) less so. His later years are marked by poems in a deeper and quieter, although no less insightful, analysis of race and the history of black Americans. Very highly recommended.

  27. 4 out of 5

    C.P.

    It is an amazing and prodigious body of work by a great poet. Though you may not agree with everything he wrote, you cannot argue with the persuasive passion of his verse. He is also not afraid of writing short poems, which are some of his most affecting and effective. The work has a broad range of themes, as broad as life itself, and not at all limited to the "black experience". Hughes is one for the ages. It is an amazing and prodigious body of work by a great poet. Though you may not agree with everything he wrote, you cannot argue with the persuasive passion of his verse. He is also not afraid of writing short poems, which are some of his most affecting and effective. The work has a broad range of themes, as broad as life itself, and not at all limited to the "black experience". Hughes is one for the ages.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Will

    Harlem Renaissance! Jazz! Blues! It's not that this collection is bad, just sprawling. There is no reason why anyone needs to read ALL of these poems. -- Update: Upon rereading, I find myself more sympathetic and enamored with Hughes ability to be playful, experimenting with lyrical form. I suppose that time and openness to other opinions have given me a new perspective to begin exploring and enjoying his vast body of work. Harlem Renaissance! Jazz! Blues! It's not that this collection is bad, just sprawling. There is no reason why anyone needs to read ALL of these poems. -- Update: Upon rereading, I find myself more sympathetic and enamored with Hughes ability to be playful, experimenting with lyrical form. I suppose that time and openness to other opinions have given me a new perspective to begin exploring and enjoying his vast body of work.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jazzy Lemon

    A luscious collection of poetry and verse of all sorts by the unsurpassable Langston Hughes. Words to make you laugh, cry and think, from the political to the sublime, with a section written for children.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Brandon

    Hughes is the man, of course.

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