WDolan_Letter_To Langston_Hughes

Langston Hughes

January 11 2021

William Dolan


Brookes Westshore

1939 Sooke Rd, Victoria, BC V9B 1W2

Colwood, British Columbia


Dear Mr. Langston Hughes,

I am writing this letter to tell you how much I enjoy your poetry. I especially found  “Ruby Brown” and “Negro” to be interesting and thought provoking.

My questions for you would be; How do you start your poems and what influences your ideas? What poet inspires you the most. What is your idea of blues poems? What blues structure do you prefer? What emotions do you think they should create? What is your favorite form of poem? I noticed you use multiple structures, topics, and moods throughout your works.

I found it easy to experience the mood you may have been feeling when you wrote “Ruby Brown”.  The emotion I encountered was joy and sadness.

“She was young and beautiful
And golden like the sunshine
That warmed her body.
And because she was colored
Mayville had no place to offer her,
Nor fuel for the clean flame of joy
That tried to burn within her soul

However with “Negro”, I felt emotions that included sadness, frustration and empathy. In the poem, you talk about black people’s contributions from the continent of Africa, to the country of America. Unless you take history, readers may not know what you mean by:

“The Belgians cut off my hands in the Congo.
They lynch me still in Mississippi.”

Did you initially question whether the vast majority of people would know what this means? What mood were you experiencing while writing this poem, and how do you view the world? Should more art like your poetry be included to promote different perspectives to make a better society?

I enjoyed your works and their creative content. They have benefitted my education about the arts and my heritage.

Thanks, and best wishes,

William Dolan

5 thoughts on “WDolan_Letter_To Langston_Hughes”

  1. Hey Will, I enjoyed reading your letter to Langston Hughes. You had asked a lot of questions that came up throughout our English classes and that’s a good thing. You were one of the only people who wrote your information at the top of your letter so good for you, I thought about doing that but didn’t. Nonetheless good job! 🙂

  2. Hi Will! I’m glad you feel this poetry has enriched your education on arts and your heritage, that’s so valuable! I like that you’re drawing out specific emotions that you feel when you read these poems; it’s amazing that one poem can make someone feel such a wide variety. One comment would be to try weaving your questions throughout the post, rather than asking them at the same time. But that could be your own stylistic choice as well. Good job!

  3. Great job Will, lots of interesting/thought provoking questions and great responses to the quotes you put from the two poems.

  4. I think that your points of the Ruby Brown poem were quite touching since a lot of men or young males go through mixed emotions about females, as do females about males since the partnership is one of which becomes a challenge to succeed at the older you become.

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