Letter to Langston Hughes

Dear Mr. Hughes,

After reading some of your poems within class I wanted to tell you that I love how your poems are composed. Unlike other poems that I have read all of your poems are consistently simple. Your use of diction is easy to understand which helps make the meaning behind your poems easier to comprehend.

You have surrounded the subject matter of your poems around freedom and justice, and although they are simple they are filled with your passion for stating what is right and what is wrong within this world.  Even though your poems do not include many end rhymes which in ways better connects the poem, I feel that you did the right thing by mostly avoiding adding end rhymes because the way you present your different poems is more, in my opinion, persuasive without end rhymes. Often poets use end rhymes to adhere to the musical qualities poets have used in the past, to allow the reader to read the poem as it is meant to be heard. By avoiding this I feel it made your poems quite different from other poems. Within your poem “As I Grew Older” you wrote the following:

“My hands!

My dark hands!

Break through the wall!

Find my dream!

Help me to shatter this darkness,

To smash this light, To break this shadow–” (ll. 24-30)

The class had concluded that this poem was about racism, dreams, and optimism.  If this is true, what inspired you to make this poem about racism, dreams, and optimism? Other than this I love the way you used only vague imagery and not imagery that was extensive towards our view of the poem. The idea of optimism came up within this poem, especially in the last stanza:

“Into a thousand light of sun, 

Into a thousand whirling dreams

Of sun!” (ll. 31-33)

The speaker in the poem recites a dream he once had, and it seems you made the speaker express great optimism towards that dream. Or at least you had made me feel optimistic for the speaker and his dream. It seems you at times like using the idea of optimism within your poems since you had also showcased optimism within: “I, Too.” Within the last stanza, you wrote: “I, too, am America.” (l. 18) I feel this shows optimism within the speaker. The speaker is stating that he/or she is America itself and that it is something to feel proud of.

Your poems have changed the way I view poetry. I have learned that poems can vary in many different ways, they do not need to follow the norms of other poets from the past, and that in poetry you can express what you simplistically think about life.

Gratefully,

Armaan Singh Tumber

 

9 thoughts on “Letter to Langston Hughes”

  1. This is great Armaan ^^ However I think it would be helpful to add a few more specific examples. For example, in your first paragraph “Your use of diction is easy to understand which helps make the meaning behind your poems easier to comprehend.” You can expand on that a bit, because it seems to be more isolated compared to other comments/ideas. Good job!

  2. Overall, you did a great job. However some more explanations and some sentence restructuring would have been beneficial. I will provide examples to show you what I mean.

    You did not fully explain how ‘the absence of end rhymes are less persuasive in your opinion.’ What did you mean by this? You gave information to support the general ideas included in the same paragraph, but not fully for that specific comment.

    I thought you used too many of the same words throughout multiple sentences in each paragraph. For example; you repeat the word “poem” about 4 times in two sentences at the beginning of your post. Here is the sentence: “After reading some of your poems within class I wanted to tell you that I love how your poems are composed. Unlike other poems that I have read all of your poems are consistently simple.” Instead, you could have wrote: “I noticed how your poems are composed and I enjoyed reading them. Unlike other poems, yours are consistent and simple.” The way I have restructured your sentence allows you to avoid too much repetition of one word. Great job Armaan!

  3. Hello Armaan, I enjoyed reading your post. One small thing you could change to improve it would be simplifying some sentences. For instance, the sentence “Your use of diction is easy to understand which helps make the meaning behind your poems easier to comprehend” could be reduced to a simpler and clearer one, such as “Your use of simple vocabulary helps the reader easily comprehend your poems.” Having the phrases “easy to understand” and “easier to comprehend” in the same sentence is too repetitive and makes the sentence look messy.

  4. Hi Armaan! I agree that the use of free verse can be more powerful than the constant use of end rhymes. I agree that the conversationalist language allows us to interpret the poem better, but it would be interesting to see your thoughts on a poem with more complex language. I think you raised some important points on how he uses freedom and optimism in his poetry. Great job!

  5. Hi Armaan, great letter thought it was well structured, also thought you could’ve expanded more on some parts but overall very well done.

  6. Hi Armaan, I feel as though you had great points on each of the quotes you put and had great analysis, but I also feel as though it could be put more concise, but otherwise it is a really good letter.

  7. Armaan, I really appreciate the comments you made on Mr Hughes’ “As I Grew Older” poem. Your points about the class overview and understanding of the topics of the poem are highly assertive. I also liked your personal input into the poem as well.

  8. Hey Armaan, you had some great points and examples within your letter, Only improvement would be to possibly be more specific with your explanations to your examples and try to relate it to yourself a little bit more, great job overall, keep it up.

  9. Hi Armaan 🙂 I really enjoyed your letter! I also agree with you when it comes to how Mr. Hughes composes his poems. Great job!

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