Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Langston Hughes

In Case You Missed It

Langston Hughes (Poetry for Young People Series), edited by Arnold Rampersad & David Roessel, illustrated by Benny Andrews
Sterling Publishing Co. Inc., 2006

"Bring me all of your dreams,
You dreamers...."
-Langston Hughes, The Dream Keeper

You can't even consider the topic of African-American poetry without immediately thinking of Langston Hughes, perhaps the best known of the Harlem Renaissance poets. I have always considered "What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up/Like a raisin in the sun?" to be one of the most memorable and moving lines of poetry I have ever read.

If you have not had a chance to revisit Langston Hughes recently, I can strongly recommend this excellent collection of his poems selected for children. The poems cover a range of themes, including family, neighborhood, history, music and self reflection. There are many poems to uplift and inspire, such as I Dream A World ("I dream a world where man/No other man will scorn"). Some of the poems are very personally introspective, such as Final Curve ("When you turn the corner/And you run into yourself") and even sad Genius Child ("nobody loves a genius child") - which, note to parents, actually has a rather shocking ending. Read together, the poems give one a sense of Hughes' personality, and perhaps also give some insight on living during this historical time.

I love the illustrations in this book- they are stylish and engaging. I also love that the editors include a line or two of description to help put the poems in context. The poetry, of course, really speaks for itself.

Happy reading!


  1. Langston Hughes is one of my favorite authors and poets. I've read all his poems and a number of his books. It's nice to know someone else out there likes him as well.
    I think I'm going to have to review him for Black History month as well. Thanks for the review. I'm now following your. Feel free to visit my website as well. Take care.

  2. Sharon thanks so much for the visit & the follow (I am following you as well now). His poetry is amazing, it was really a pleasure to read/reread. Enjoy & will look forward to your review!

  3. I recently posted that most famous Langston Hughes poem to which you refer on my Shelfari Group page. It is so memorable!


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