"—Adrienne Rich "The first declaration of a black, lesbian feminist identity took place in these poems, and set the terms—beautifully, forcefully—for contemporary multicultural and pluralist debate. When you wipe the mud away, It is a red star, mother! Grant Park The haunting face of poverty, The hands of pain, The rough, gargantuan feet of fate, The nails of conscience in a soul That didn't want to do wrong— You can see what they've done To brothers of mine In one back-yard of Fifth Avenue. Then went off and left her. The people often hold Great thoughts in their deepest hearts And sometimes only blunderingly express them, Haltingly and stumbling say them, And faultily put them into practice. I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil. I've watched him dying I promised him that I would try To make our land a land Where his son could be a man — And there'd be no Jim Crow birds Left in our sky. Morning After I was so sick last night I Didn't hardly know my mind. Gin on Saturday, Church on Sunday. Offering: A night with me, honey. Cadillacs with dignitaries will precede it. But I ain't got Neither bullet nor gun — And I'm too blue To look for one. Jam Session Letting midnight out on bail pop-a-da having been detained in jail oop-pop-a-da for sprinkling salt on a dreamer's tail pop-a-da Be-Bop Boys Imploring Mecca to achieve six discs with Decca. . Hughes also meets Alain Locke, editor of The New Negro (1925), Arna Bontemps, Zora Neale Hurston, Wallace Thurman, and other stars of the burgeoning Harlem Renaissance. How did I know where you done gone at? You're no tame lion. Beautiful, also, are the souls of my people. And she wouldn't Charge you much. I said, Tell me, Mama, What's it all about? De cotton needs pickin' so badl Gonna glean all over this field! Play it for the lords and ladies, For the dukes and counts, For the whores and gigolos, For the American millionaires, And the school teachers Out for a spree. I can sleep so good with you away! I beats ma wife an' I beats ma side gal too. In June, Hughes receives an honorary degree from Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio. Thunder of the Rain God: And we three Weary, weary. You ain't gonna find it On nobody else's shelf. The dogs of war have made their kill. Madam, you are Six weeks behind. The saxophone Is ordinary. Love Is a high mountain Stark in a windy sky. To a substantial number of readers and, especially, scholar-critics, Hughes's approach to poetry was far too simple and unlearned. Kids will die in the orange groves of California Telling others to get together. It's hard to believe, But dead in there, He'll never lay a Hype nowhere! Not enough Of us care Anywhere. Scanned in China. Lights ain't come on yet. Arnold Rampersad David Roessel Princeton University 7 A Chronology of the Life of Langston Hughes 1902 Born James Langston Hughes, February 1, Joplin, Missouri, to James Nathaniel Hughes, who was a stenographer with a mining company, and Carrie Mercer Langston Hughes, who wrote verse and acted in amateur theatricals. Leave me and my name Just like I am! What makes these charity Children so bad? When the land belongs to the farmers And the factories to the working men — The U.S.A. when we take control Will be the U.S.S.A. But when I got there An' seen de ambulance A guy was sayin' He ain't got a chance. Moving with him from 634 St. Nicholas Avenue are Emerson and Toy Harper. CULTURE, THEY SAY,, IS A TWO-WAY STREET: HAND ME MY MINT JULEP, MAMMY. Not a Movie Well, they rocked him with road-apples because he tried to vote and whipped his head with clubs and he crawled on his knees to his house and he got the midnight train and he crossed that Dixie line now he's livin' on a 133rd. . In and around it, along with the other recognizable melodies there is room for spontaneous jazz M^"3P employed, improvisation, particularly between verses, where the voice pauses. But now, I hear your name ain't really White Man. Every day Has been your face, And every night your hand And every road Your voice calling me. Spends several weeks at Hedgerow Theater, Pennsylvania, working on playwriting with Jasper Deeter. 43 Negro Dancers "Me an' ma baby's Got two mo' ways, Two mo' ways to do de Charleston! From river to river, Uptown and down, There's liable to be confusion when a dream gets kicked around. His eyes look out on the world, 263 On the great wooded world, On the rich soil of the world, On the rivers of the world. Freedom  Freedom will not come Today, this year Nor ever Through compromise and fear. Too Blue I got those sad old weary blues. Yes, sir! 449 Shut up, says the Governor of Singapore. Oh, hum! Daddy-o Buddy-o Signs his name In uphill letters On the check that is his pay. 3° A Black Pierrot I am a black Pierrot: She did not love me, So I crept away into the night And the night was black, too. 450 Little Song on Housing Here I come! Lights, sailor boy, Warm, white lights. Tambourines! 226 Evil Looks like what drives me crazy Don't have no effect on you — But I'm gonna keep on at it Till it drives you crazy, too. And she sat on her chair like a sweet jelly roll. I looked and I saw That man they call the Law. I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart, I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars. 229 Stony lonesome They done took Cordelia Out to stony lonesome ground. HEY on water Same as I can HEY-HEY on beer. If the fight is not yet won, Don't be weary, soldier! Ho . Went to the city. So, naturally, there's trouble in these our times because of people with no titles in front of their names. Will his Freedom Train come zoomin' down the track Gleamin' in the sunlight for white and black? Continues to publish poems in The Crisis. The undertaker told 'em, You'll need Sixty more For a first-class funeral, A hearse and two cars — And maybe your friends'll Send some flowers. Come to the Waldorf-Astoria! AugUSt 1 9 t h . The wind has undressed the moon. Juke Joint: Northern City There is a gin mill on the avenue Where singing black boys dance and play each night Until the stars pale and the sky turns blue And dawn comes down the street all wanly white. Dixie bowed. OR MUST I HESITATE? Grandma, lend me a dime. 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? Baby said, I don't hear nothin' But your drunken snorin', dear. So deep my grave will be. Maybe a good job sometimes: Step out o' the barrel, boy. Azikiwe said to the British, That may be— But you'll have a tough goose If you cook me! That's also partly true. Was it four o'clock or six o'clock on a winter afternoon, I saw you wringing out the last shirt in Miss White Lady's kitchen? A spring song! Some get drowned in a well, Some run over by a car— But none goes to hell. The rhythm From the trumpet at his lips Is ecstasy Distilled from old desire — Desire That is longing for the moon Where the moonlight's but a spotli In his eyes, Desire That is longing for the sea Where the sea's a bar-glass Sucker size. My little black baby, My dark body's baby, What shall I sing For your lullaby? When Sue Wears Red When Susanna Jones wears red Her face is like an ancient cameo Turned brown by the ages. Would God his lips were sweet! Three Wise Men, One dark like me— Part of His Nativity. White folks fleeAs soon as you see My problems And me! But don't let it matter to you, 'Cause I'm all right. If I was a mule I'd Git a waggon to haul. Midnight, And the gods are laughing at us. Merry-Go-Round Colored child at carnival Where is the Jim Crow section On this merry-go-round, Mister, cause I want to ride? I went down to de station. 70 Judgment Day They put ma body in the ground, Ma soul went flyin' o' the town, Went flyin' to the stars an' moon A-shoutin', God, I's comin' soon. Day after day White spit in my face — W and helplessness. Dear dream of utter aliveness— Touching my body of utter death — Tell me, O quickly! Then my friends! But I was a boy then, I didn't understand The things a young lad Learns so soon When he's A man. He returns just after the March on Washington and the news of W. E. B. Manhattan Island will whirl like a Dizzy Gillespie transcription played by Inez and Timme. I never did like the installment plan 219 And I won't need no furniture living alone — Cause I'm going back to rooming and be a free man. His father's will does not mention Hughes. laughers — Loud-mouthed laughers in the hands Of Fate. . The Negro With the trumpet at his lips Has a head of vibrant hair Tamed down, Patent-leathered now Until it gleams Like jet— Were jet a crown. Big Buddy, Big Buddy, Don't you hear this hammer ring? Laugh at me! 464 Tambourines Tambourines! 1955 On January 7, attends Marian Anderson's long-overdue debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera. And thousands more —white, too, but not so famousDared arrest and scorn and persecution That black men might be free: The stations of the underground railroad to freedom Became many— And the North Star found a million friends. Page size 433 x 649 pts . In May, addresses the first national assembly of the Authors League of America, parent body of the Authors' Guild and the Dramatists' Guild. Death to the Nazi's reign! Today, We're Man to Man. But I can't figure out How he got that way. Honey! But being no good at lovin' — the girls left him. Daybreak Big Ben, I'm gonna bust you bang up side the wall! They did not travel by car. What do you mean — The white folks die? I've been a worker: Under my hand the pyramids arose. She said, I do not understand The words. Mother warned me, Warned me true. Don't you know they specialize in American cooking? Suicide's Note The calm, Cool face of the river Asked me for a kiss. Along with Carl Sandburg, Hughes receives an honorary doctorate at his alma mater, Lincoln University. Listen! You will holler, Lord-d-d-d-d-ah! Let union be The force that breaks the time-clock, Smashes misery, Takes land, Takes factories, Takes office towers, Takes tools and banks and mines. Had to get breakfast, Dinner, and supper, too — Then take care of her children When I got through. I thought that drunkenness Was real — In wine. I don't turn, Madam! (Was young, Perhaps it's better said — For now I'm dead.) You are my son! 177 Moonlight Night: Carmel Tonight the waves march In long ranks Cutting the darkness With their silver shanks, Cutting the darkness And kissing the moon And beating the land's Edge into a swoon. He didn't stop in Washington and he didn't stop in Baltimore neither in Newark on the way. In the lobby OftheBraddock Hotel She might not've felt The urge to raise hell. O, let America be America again— The land that never has been yet— And yet must be —the land where every man is free. The pent up snows of all the brutal years Are melting beneath the rising sun of freedom. You still bakes biscuits? O, in this tavern on the city street Where black men come to drink and play and sing, And women, too, whom anyone may meet And handle easy like a purchased thing, Where two old brown men stand behind the bar— Still after hours pouring drinks the law forbids — Dark dancers dance and dreamers seek a star And some forget to laugh who still are kids.
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