Langston Hughes- Poetry for Young People

I chose this book because my mom showed it to me and I decided to read it because I like to learn about Black History. This book is a book of poems by Langston Hughes. Langston Hughes was an African American poet, social activist, novelist, and a playwright. He was also a big part of the harlem renaissance because of what he expressed with his writing. In his poems he expresses how he felt and how he saw social justice, racism, segregation, slavery, hope, and not giving up. Some poems are bright and happy, but some poems are just sad and make you want to curl up and cry. He didn’t write poems like other poets of his time. His poems were like jazz and blues, and a lot of his poems related to jazz and blues. There were many good poems. Here are a few poems from the book that I like;

Words Like Freedom

There are words like Freedom

Sweet and wonderful to say.

On my heart strings freedom sings

All day everyday.

There are words like Liberty

That almost make me cry.

If you had known what I know

You would know why.

This one was sad, because times were so hard on as a result of racism… that words like liberty and freedom, basically didn’t exist, because they didn’t exist for black people, and minorities in the southern states.

 

Drums

I dream of the drums and

dream of the drums                         

And remember

Nights without stars in Africa.

Remember, remember, remember!

I dream of the drums

And remember

Slave ships, billowing sails,

The Western Ocean,

And the landing at Jamestown.

Remember, remember, remember!

I dream of drums

And recall, like a picture,

Congo Square in New Orleans-

Sunday-the slaves’ one day of “freedom”

The juba-dance in Congo Square.

I dream of the drums

And hear again

Jelly Roll’s piano,

Buddy Bolden’s trumpet,

Kid Ory’s trombone,

St. Cyr’s bajo,

They join the drums…

And I remember.

Jazz!

I dream of the drums

And remember

Africa!

The ships!

New shore!

And drums!

Remember!

I remember!

Remember!

This one was also kind of sad, because he was talking about the slave ships, and Africa, and not being able to see the stars. The sound of his “brothers” drumming. The drums represent their hearts, their souls, their home, back in Africa, calling to them.

It’s like music, but a poem. The “remember, remember, remember” part is like a chorus, and the other parts are like the verses, and also a bridge, where he talks about famous jazz musicians.

 

 

Final Curve

When you turn the corner

And you run into yourself

Then you know that you have turned

All the corners that are left

I think that what he means in this poem is that once you find your true self, you are freed.

 

Merry-Go-Round

Where is the Jim Crow section

On this merry-go-round,

Mister, cause I want to ride?

Down South where I come from

White and colored

Can’t sit side by side.

Down South on the train

There’s a Jim Crow car.

On the bus we’re put in the back–

But there ain’t no back

To a merry-go-round!

Where’s the horse

For a kid that’s black?

 

I see this poem as saying that there is the back of the bus for black people, back of the train for black people, separate water fountains and lunch counters, but there is no “back” on a merry-go-round.  Does he mean that finally everyone is on the same stature?

 

My favorite poem in this book is called I Dream a World.

I Dream a World

I dream a world where man

No other man will scorn,

Where love will bless the earth

And peace its paths adorn

I dream a world where all

Will know sweet freedom’s way,

Where greed no longer saps the soul

Nor avarice blights our day.

A world I dream where black or white,

Whatever race you be,

Will share the bounties of the earth

And every man is free,

Where wretchedness will hang its head

And joy, like a pearl,

Attends the needs of all mankind-

Of such I dream, my world!

 

This one is my favorite one because I think what he is trying to say in this poem is that he dreams of a world where all men are equal, almost a paradise, because in his time there was racism and segregation, and he did not feel free.

here is a link to the google doodle for Langston HughesScreen Shot 2016-03-08 at 8.11.26 PM

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One comment

  1. immpossibearevan · March 18, 2016

    I liked how you expressed Hughes’ metaphors. You could have refrained from using “This one” at the beginning of most paragraphs. Did you know I studied him in 4th grade?

    Like

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