The Life and Works of Langston Hughes Essay

1971 Words 8 Pages
The Life and Works of Langston Hughes
     “ In a deep song voice with a melancholy tone, I heard that Negro sing, that old piano moan – Ain’t got nobody all in this world, Ain’t got nobody but ma self. I’s gwine to quit ma frownin’ and put ma troubles on the shelf.” The above excerpt is from Langston Hughes prize winning poem, “The Weary Blues.” Hughes, considered to be one of the world’s outstanding authors of the twentieth century (Ruley 148), is a prolific poet, novelist, essayist, playwright, autobiographer, and a writer a of children’s books (Andrews, Foster, Harris 368). David Nicholson says of Hughes, “He strove to reflect an American reality ignored or distorted by other American writers (504).” The
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     The “rhapsodist” was a exceedingly well educated man. While in high school, he read the poetry of Carl Sandburg and Walt Whitman (Bloom, Bloom’s 12). Sandburg was decisive in leading him toward free verse and a radically democratic, modernist aesthetic (Andrews, Foster, Harris 368). Andrews states, “Hughes called Sandburg, his guiding star (368).” After graduating high school, eager to experience New York and especially Harlem, Hughes entered Colombia University in the fall of 1921 (Bloom, Bloom’s 12). However, his first encounter with college was unpleasant (Bloom, Bloom’s 12). Subsequently, he left his freshman year and became a merchant seamen in Europe and Africa (Rampersad 8). Plagued with money problems, Hughes came back to the United States in 1924 and began to take his writhing seriously (Rampersad 8). In 1926, at the age of twenty-four, Hughes entered himself into Lincoln University in Pennsylvania (Rampersad 8). It was during that time he published his first book of poetry, The Weary Blues, which was grouped according to seven romantic ideas, and sixty-eight poems under seven headings (Bloom, Bloom’s 15). The volume earned him a
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