Thank you to Ana Maria Caballero for this post. Hughes is definitely one of the greats.
“Langston Hughes, although only twenty-four years old, is already conspicuous in the group of Negro intellectuals who are dignifying Harlem with a genuine art life. . . .”wrote author Du Bose Heyward in the New York Herald Tribune in 1926. Despite such praise, Hughes was derided by his fellow black writers of the time for allowing race to be a main character in many of his works.
The Poetry Foundation’s site has a terrific summary of Hughes’s historical relevance. In closing, the article quotes from Donald B. Gibson’ s book, Modern Black Poets: A Collection of Critical Essay: “During the twenties when most American poets were turning inward, writing obscure and esoteric poetry to an ever decreasing audience of readers, Hughes was turning outward, using language and themes, attitudes and ideas familiar to anyone who had the ability simply to read.”
It seems, then, that anyone writing poetry today…
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