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About Langston Hughes
He was one of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form called jazz poetry. Hughes is best known as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance. He famously wrote about the period that "the negro was in vogue", which was later paraphrased as "when Harlem was in vogue".
Bio from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Photo by Carl Van Vechten [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
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Books By Langston Hughes
Chosen by the non-profit organization American Poetry & Literacy Project, these much-loved verses include 13 selections from the Common Core State Standards Initiative: "Casey at the Bat," "Fog," "The New Colossus," "Chicago," "I, Too, Sing America," "O Captain! My Captain!," "Paul Revere's Ride," "The Road Not Taken," "The Raven," "Because I Could Not Stop for Death," "Mending Wall," "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," and "The River Merchant's Wife: A Letter."
The poems in this collection were chosen by Hughes himself shortly before his death in 1967 and represent work from his entire career, including "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," "The Weary Blues," "Still Here," "Song for a Dark Girl," "Montage of a Dream Deferred," and "Refugee in America." It gives us a poet of extraordinary range, directness, and stylistic virtuosity.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
This stirring coming-of-age tale unfolds in 1930s rural Kansas. A poignant portrait of African-American family life in the early twentieth century, it follows the story of young Sandy Rogers as he grows from a boy to a man. We meet Sandy's mother, Annjee, who works as a housekeeper for a wealthy white family; his strong-willed grandmother, Hager; Jimboy, Sandy's father, who travels the country looking for work; Aunt Tempy, the social climber; and Aunt Harriet, the blues singer who has turned away from her faith.
A fascinating chronicle of a family's joys and hardships, Not Without Laughter is a vivid exploration of growing up and growing strong in a racially divided society. A rich and important work, it masterfully echoes the black American experience.
Langston Hughes's stories about Jesse B. Semple--first composed for a weekly column in the Chicago Defender and then collected in Simple Speaks His Mind, Simple Takes a Wife, and Simple Stakes a Claim--have been read and loved by hundreds of thousands of readers. In The Best of Simple, the author picked his favorites from these earlier volumes, stories that not only have proved popular but are now part of a great and growing literary tradition.
Simple might be considered an Everyman for black Americans. Hughes himself wrote: "...these tales are about a great many people--although they are stories about no specific persons as such. But it is impossible to live in Harlem and not know at least a hundred Simples, fifty Joyces, twenty-five Zaritas, and several Cousin Minnies--or reasonable facsimiles thereof."
As Arnold Rampersad has written, Simple is "one of the most memorable and winning characters in the annals of American literature, justly regarded as one of Hughes's most inspired creations."
Introduction by Arnold Rampersad.
Langston Hughes, born in 1902, came of age early in the 1920s. In The Big Sea he recounts those memorable years in the two great playgrounds of the decade--Harlem and Paris. In Paris he was a cook and waiter in nightclubs. He knew the musicians and dancers, the drunks and dope fiends. In Harlem he was a rising young poet--at the center of the "Harlem Renaissance."
Arnold Rampersad writes in his incisive new introduction to The Big Sea, an American classic: "This is American writing at its best--simpler than Hemingway; as simple and direct as that of another Missouri-born writer...Mark Twain."
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. Beginning with the opening “Proem” (prologue poem)—“I am a Negro: / Black as the night is black, / Black like the depths of my Africa”—Hughes spoke directly, intimately, and powerfully of the experiences of African Americans at a time when their voices were newly being heard in our literature. As the legendary Carl Van Vechten wrote in a brief introduction to the original 1926 edition, “His cabaret songs throb with the true jazz rhythm; his sea-pieces ache with a calm, melancholy lyricism; he cries bitterly from the heart of his race . . . Always, however, his stanzas are subjective, personal,” and, he concludes, they are the expression of “an essentially sensitive and subtly illusive nature.” That illusive nature darts among these early lines and begins to reveal itself, with precocious confidence and clarity.
In a new introduction to the work, the poet and editor Kevin Young suggests that Hughes from this very first moment is “celebrating, critiquing, and completing the American dream,” and that he manages to take Walt Whitman’s American “I” and write himself into it. We find here not only such classics as “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” and the great twentieth-century anthem that begins “I, too, sing America,” but also the poet’s shorter lyrics and fancies, which dream just as deeply. “Bring me all of your / Heart melodies,” the young Hughes offers, “That I may wrap them / In a blue cloud-cloth / Away from the too-rough fingers / Of the world.”
From the Hardcover edition.
You’ll find more than 90 poems by 50 American and British masters (mainly from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries), including Whitman, Byron, Millay, Sandburg, Service, Bliss Carman, Robert Louis Stevenson, John Masefield, Langston Hughes, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Shelley, Tennyson, Yeats, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Claude McKay, Christina Rossetti, and other fellow travelers. Their poems celebrate the real and metaphorical journeys each of us takes in the course of our lives towards love, discovery, loss, leaving the nest, and coming home.
Whatever your mode of transportation, and wherever you are going, take this literary traveling companion with you for hours of reading enjoyment and insight into the road that lies ahead.
The Short Stories of Langston Hughes
This collection of forty-seven stories written between 1919 and 1963--the most comprehensive available--showcases Langston Hughes's literary blossoming and the development of his personal and artistic concerns. Many of the stories assembled here have long been out of print, and others never before collected. These poignant, witty, angry, and deeply poetic stories demonstrate Hughes's uncanny gift for elucidating the most vexing questions of American race relations and human nature in general.
For every bustling jazz joint that opened in Korean War–era Harlem, a new church seemed to spring up. Tambourines to Glory introduces you to an unlikely team behind a church whose rock was the curb at 126th and Lenox.
Essie Belle Johnson and Laura Reed live in adjoining tenement flats, adrift on public relief. Essie wants to somehow earn enough money to reunite with her daughter and provide her with a nice home; Laura loves young men, mink coats, and fine Scotch. On a day of inspiration, the friends decide to use a thrift-store tambourine and a layaway Bible to start a church.
Their sidewalk services are a hit: Laura’s a natural street performer who loves the limelight, while Essie is a charismatic singer with a quiet spirituality. Before long they move to a thousand-seat theatre called the Tambourine Temple. The two women are joined in their ministering by Birdie Lee, the little-old-lady trap drummer who can work the congregation to a feverish pitch, and Deacon Crow-For-Day, an impassioned confessor.
But then Laura falls for Buddy, a scam artist who suggests selling to the faithful lucky numbers from Scripture and bottles of tap water as “Holy Water from the Jordan.” Even with a Cadillac and piles of money from Laura, Buddy won’t stay faithful, igniting a crime of passion and betrayal.
Harlem Moon Classics is proud to reintroduce readers of all generations to this sparkling gem from the canon of Langston Hughes.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Langston Hughes's most beloved character comes back to life in this extraordinary collection
Langston Hughes is best known as a poet, but he was also a prolific writer of theater, autobiography, and fiction. None of his creations won the hearts and minds of his readers as did Jesse B. Semple, better known as "Simple." Simple speaks as an Everyman for African Americans in Uncle Sam's America. With great wit, he expounds on topics as varied as women, Gospel music, and sports heroes--but always keeps one foot planted in the realm of politics and race. In recent years, readers have been able to appreciate Simple's situational humor as well as his poignant questions about social injustice in The Best of Simple and The Return of Simple. Now they can, once again, enjoy the last of Hughes's original Simple books.