PR: Langston Hughes Selected Poetry

After reading the selected poetry of Langston Hughes throughout the past month, I have gained new knowledge and insight to topics I was already familiar with, but not that knowledgeable about. I learned not only about the common topics throughout Hughes poetry (mainly inequality, racism and hardship) but also about how the form and structure of poetry can change how the poem feels to the reader.

In poems like I, Too and Negro the idea of inequality due to racism is very prevalent. Hughes’ invokes strong feelings and thoughts among the reader through his use of careful wording that gets a powerful message across. An example of this in Negro is,

I’ve been a victim:
The Belgians cut off my hands in the Congo. They lynch me still in Mississippi.

The sensitive and uncomfortable topics Hughes raises creates emotion in the reader. Ideas of being a victim to cut off hands and lynching are very unpleasant and help get Hughes’ message across.

In poems like Let America Be America Again, Hughes not only talks about the injustice of racism, but also about inequality of all races, classes and anyone who has or does experience discrimination. He mentions the hardships of slaves, indigenous peoples and the poor lower class. As this poem shows, Hughes wrote for everyone  being discriminated against and all types of injustice.

One of the last big things I learned through Hughes’ poetry is how the form and organization of a poem can change how it effects the reader. Namely, in the poem Harlem Sweeties, Hughes uses a trimeter which gives the poem a more lighthearted and upbeat feeling to the poem. If not for this, the poem may actually come across as creepy instead of light, sweet and happy. Because the poem is describing how Hughes’ feels about some women, if it was a tetrameter, for example, it would make the poem more serious. This would cause lines like,

Brown sugar lassie,

Caramel treat,

Honey-gold baby

Sweet enough to eat.

Would just sound creepy.

By reading poetry from Langston Hughes, I have learned a bit about all of the techniques he uses in his poetry and a lot about what culture in America was like  in Hughes’ time. I enjoyed reading Hughes’ poetry because of his thought and attention to detail in his poetry. It is clear that his message is sincere and not about the fame or money, and that makes the poetry a lot more remarkable and thoughtful. Most of his poetry has a lot of meaning in it and can be difficult to fully understand, but nevertheless his poetry is memorable and meaningful.

5 thoughts on “PR: Langston Hughes Selected Poetry”

  1. Hello Cameron. I have to say, your work was impressive. I really enjoyed reading through your post and I liked the way you added quotes from his poems. Great job! I hope to read more of your work in the future.

  2. Hi Cameron, this is nice. Do you think that you will be a better writer after this topic? I know you said you learnt about it but I wonder if you will be able to implement it. Good work regardless.

  3. Good job Cameron! This is very well done and your writing is very easy to read, you also make good word choice and don’t repeat the same words and phrases. How did you do the quote thing? You should show me because it looks really nice. Great job!

  4. I like how you discussed meter, how he fights racism, and what you learned. I especially like how you analysiez meter using an example of how Harlem sweaties would mean different things if its meter was different.

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