In 1924, a young Black man named Langston Hughes (1902-1967) arrived in New York City. Born in Joplin, Missouri, he had lived in a considerable number of places and traveled as a sailor to even more. But it was to New York he came, and it was there he would not only make his literary name but lead what came to be known as the Harlem Renaissance.
Two years after his arrival, he published his first poetry collection, The Weary Blues. Almost a century after its publication (and now off copyright), it continues to sound like contemporary poetry. He writes about his experiences, his people, his travels, music, the South, and his family. The words and ideas are all projected through the lens of race; this is a Black man writing and living in 1920s America. He had experienced Mexico, America, Europe, and Africa; he knew the cultural and social differences. And he writes powerfully, with simple language that often grab you by the throat.
To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.