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"The Weary Blues" by Langston Hughes
Nearly ninety years after its first publication, this celebratory edition of "The Weary Blues" reminds us of the stunning achievement of Langston Hughes, who was just twenty-four at its first appearance.
It's difficult to describe something so wise and melancholy at times, as buoyant but these words bounce, despite their hard-realities. The poems are smart and the voice of them has centuries tucked into its range, but that doesn't stop them from being fun. They read with a fluidity and ease, they are like the musicals they often employ. Like a good musical, sadness and regret carry themselves with grace in the right song.
Read about a grandmother wooed by Sinatra, and just know that Annie Get your Gun will never be the same after Jenike.
Every sorrow has its music, but in Ghost of Fashion, we see sorrow's music is sometimes laughter. These poems contain a good story-teller's repertoire about what is interesting in the selection of detail and with Jenike's wit and keen intellect, even sorrow can be rendered ludicrous, savvy-silly, with a notable bounce in its step.
These poems are glow-in-the-dark beachballs on the night-ocean and sometimes, even the moon envies them.
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Lesley Jenike is the author of two full-length collections of poetry, Ghost of Fashion (CW Books, 2009) and Holy Island (Gold Wake Press, 2014) as well as the chapbook How We Came Ashore (Dancing Girl Press, 2013). Her poems have appeared in Poetry Magazine, the Southern Review, the Gettysburg Review, Rattle, Verse, Smartish Pace, the Birmingham Poetry Review, Poetry Daily and many other journals and anthologies. She's been awarded fellowships and scholarships from the Vermont Studio Center, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, the Ohio Arts Council and the Sewanee Writers' Conference. She teaches and is currently serving as Head of the English and Philosophy Department at the Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio.