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The Dream Keeper and Other Poems Paperback – December 3, 1996
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From Publishers Weekly
Originally published in 1932, this edition of Hughes's vibrant poems includes seven additional poems and is enhanced by dynamic scratchboard art. All ages.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 4-12. Hughes' classic poetry collection, originally published for young people in 1932, is reissued here in a handsome new edition. It includes seven additional poems, a fine introduction by Lee Bennett Hopkins, and a personal afterword by Augusta Baker. Black-and-white scratchboard illustrations in Pinkney's signature style express the emotion and beat of the poetry, the laughter that hides pain, the celebration and the struggle of the African American experience, and the music of the weary blues. The poems are as powerful today as they were 60 years ago, colloquial and direct yet mysterious and complex. The simplicity of these lines makes them accessible to middle-graders but doesn't detract from their appeal to older readers. As Hopkins says, "Poem: I loved my friend" has become an elegy for separation and loss. History and the most private feeling "mingle themselves softly" in the voices that "cross and recross" here. Demanding to be spoken aloud, the words sing for all of us. There's no better way to show kids that poetry is about them than to share this collection. Hazel Rochman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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By Langston Hughes
Published January 1932
Langston Hughes was a great American poet who was beloved and a central idol during the Harlem Renaissance, a time when African American culture was blooming between the 1920s-1930s. Hughes gave his words to the world, but especially America during the above period to voice his concerns about race and social injustice, but he did not merely stop there. Hughes used his poetry, novels, essays, etc. to uplift African Americans and showcase the true beauty of the people. His powerful words are still needed today in a social that still faces the same adversities as before such as injustice due to the color of one’s skin, religion, or culture/orgin. Langston Hughes’ “The Dream Keeper and other poems” should be in the hands of all American people today because not only is this book informative, it is intriguing, instills hope and pride into diverse communities, and finally because the words in this book stands out above the rest because of his unique writing style.
This book is informative to help America learn from past mistakes yet also intriguing because of the illustrations and exclusive details to open the eyes of the people. The first poem in Hughes’ book is “The Dream Keeper”. The poem has an illustration that brings out the very small details in this “parable”. An example of this can be seen when he wrote the following, “That I may wrap them in a blue cloud-cloth away from the too-rough fingers of the world.” The illustration shows a young black boy sitting on rolling hills leaning against a tree with the skyline of the city in the background. The boy does not look at the city for hope, but he glazes off in the distance into the skies as if he is day dreaming. This is very unique and eye opening in my opinion because you always hear of people who move to the city in order to fulfill their dreams or goals. In this case, the character in both the poem and picture choose not to be a part of the city life but dream privately without be damaging effects we now see today when someone is in the lime light in Hollywood. I believe this is a mistake that many make without noticing; when one has the need to be famous and or rich, it usually comes with problems. I believe this is what Langston was informing us of by writing this poem; it truly means be humble and focus even when there are distractions or an “easier” way so you can protect your dreams.
This book instills hope and pride into diverse communities especially African Americans by showing the history, progress, and beauty throughout the struggle in America. The first poem that demonstrates the above claims about the African American community would definitely be Hughes’ “The Negro”. In this poem, his tells the story of the essences of people and how beautiful African American people are because of their strengthens, ability to endure, and still rise. Langston wrote, “I am a Negro: Black as the night is black”, “I’ve been a slave: Caesar told me to keep his door-steps clean…”, “I’ve been a worker: Under my hand the pyramids arose…”, “I’ve been a singer: All the way from Africa to Georgia”, and finally “I’ve been a victim: …cut off my hands in the Congo. They lynch me now in Texas”. These simple five lines that he wrote almost 80 years ago, still speaks volumes about not only blacks, but any culture of people who have went through this type of treatment but still somehow prevail in today’s world.
Hughes drives this point home in his poem “I, Too”, that shows how people in America still do not see all life as equal. He shows this when he wrote the following words, “I, too, sing America. I am the darker brother. They send me to eat in the kitchen when company comes, but I laugh, and eat well, and grow strong.” This poem is eye opening and alarming because although we are all Americans, we, as in minorities, do not receive the same rights just because of the color ranging from hues of yellow, creams, browns, and blacks. Hughes point out the fact that ones’ values, talents, and true beauty is over looked just because of an elementary difference such as colors.
This book stands out above the rest because of his unique writing style demonstrated by his titles, rhythmic verses, imagery, and subject. Although the entire book has examples of all the following, but I decided on the poem “Song” because it contained many elements of poetry but what makes this one of the many poems that are on top is Hughes’ blues like lyrics that he embodied in this poem. The poem begins, “Lovely, dark, and lonely one, Bare your bosom to the sun.” “Do not be afraid of light, You who are a child of night.” Here you can see great rhyme at the end of the lines while also keeping a great rhythm as if he was singing. He uses strong words to describe the character and instill hope and the ability to overcome. It shows great personification when he says the character is a “child” born of night. This one poem brings the character through a major progressive change from being “weak” but standing up and continuing to push through even during the pain. The illustration for this poem enhances the reader’s ability see his words coming alive on paper.
All the above are reasons why I would recommend this collection of poems to any reader. This book is informative of a culture that helped shaped America while allowing the readers mind to still be intrigued by his words and eye catching because of this illustrations, topics, and amazing writing style.