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Langston Hughes. Presentation by Jordyn Johnson. Sample Poems. Inspired Poems. Original Poems. Biography. List of Works. Bibliography. Biography. Sample Poems. Inspired Poems. Original Poems. Biography. List of Works. Bibliography. Getting to Know Langston Hughes

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Langston Hughes


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    1. Langston Hughes Presentation by Jordyn Johnson Sample Poems Inspired Poems Original Poems Biography List of Works Bibliography

    2. Biography Sample Poems Inspired Poems Original Poems Biography List of Works Bibliography Getting to Know Langston Hughes "In many ways Hughes always remained loyal to the principles he had laid down for the younger black writers in 1926. He could sometimes be bitter, but his art is generally suffused by a keen sense of the ideal and by a profound love of humanity, especially black Americans. He was perhaps the most original of African American poets and, in the breadth and variety of his work, assuredly the most representative of African American writers” (“Langston Hughes Quotes”). This quote by Arnold Rampersad commends Langston Hughes for representing himself and his ethnicity in a respectable manner. James Langston Hughes was born on February 4, 1902 in Joplin, Missouri. His mother was Carrie Mercer Langston Hughes, an actress, and his father was James Nathaniel Hughes, a lawyer. They divorced when Hughes was a young child, forcing Hughes and his mother to live with his grandmother, Mary Langston, in Lawrence, Kansas. Hughes’s grandmother died when he was a teen, so he and his mother moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where he spent his high school years. Hughes was African-American and Jewish, and although his family was fairly wealthy, he was treated badly because of his mixed racial background. It was in high school when Hughes came out to his friends and family about his homosexuality. Instead of

    3. Biography (cont) Sample Poems Inspired Poems Original Poems Biography List of Works Bibliography being the track star he had the potential to be, he spent his time in the French club, the drama program, and the Glee Club. Hughes was also elected the class poet of his graduating class. After high school, Hughes moved to Mexico, where his father lived. After one year of living there, he came to hate his father but love Mexico because of the openness it had towards his race and sexuality. In 1921 he moved back to the United States and attended Columbia University for a year, where he was introduced to other bisexual black writers. When Hughes was 21, he worked as a crew member on a freighter to Africa, where the people surrounding him were very open to his sexuality (Tyrkus). In 1926, Hughes moved to Pennsylvania to attend Lincoln University. In 1942, he moved permanently to Harlem, where he continued writing novels, poetry, journals, plays, and more (Kozel). Hughes died at age 65 on May 22, 1967 after having abdominal surgery in New York City (Native Voices International). Hughes suffered from a very lonely childhood. There was only one other black child in his class up to 8th grade, and very few in his high school. Hughes was also homosexual, which created another barrier between him and others around him. Hughes claimed that literature was his sanctuary, and he used poetry and writing as a way to express himself at a young age. He grew up

    4. Biography (cont) Sample Poems Inspired Poems Original Poems Biography List of Works Bibliography reading Walt Whitman, Paul Laurence Dunbar and Carl Sandburg. These poets greatly influenced Hughes and inspired much of his work (Nichols). Hughes attended Columbia University for only one year and attended Lincoln University on a scholarship to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree (“Langston Hughes: Childhood”). Hughes’s awards include the Harmon Gold Medal for Literature in 1930, the Guggenheim Fellowship Award in 1935, the Honorary Doctor of Letters awarded by Lincoln University in 1943, the NAACP Spingarn Medal in 1960, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1961. He also has many other accomplishments, including teaching creative writing at two different universities, producing plays on four different continents, and being elected to the American Academy of Arts and Scientists and the National Institute of Arts and Letters (Encyclopedia of World Biography). Langston Hughes has definitely recognized himself as one of the best and most influential writers of all time. A lot of Hughes’s literature is based on his own personal experiences and interests. He used jazz, blues, and gospel styled rhythms and some slang (Nichols). Hughes’s race was the biggest inspiration behind his poetry. He captured the dreams, pride and happiness of African-Americans, along with their pain, sadness and anger. His poems Dream Variations and Dreams use metaphors

    5. Biography (cont) Sample Poems Inspired Poems Original Poems Biography List of Works Bibliography to discuss how he longed to be liberated and carefree (Academy of American Poets). Hughes became one of the leading voices about the concerns of black culture (Reuben). He portrayed realistic black characters and the injustices they endured, such as being killed for not being able to pay the taxes in his poem Night Funeral in Harlem (Academy of American Poets). Hughes primarily uses metaphors, similes, imagery, figurative language, and symbolism to depict his views in a way that his readers can relate to. Hughes’s work has contributed greatly to the progress of African-Americans in that many more people can relate to the struggles they face. Jim Riemer, a professor in African-American and American Literature, spoke about the impact Hughes has had (Lineberry). "In his writings, Hughes is still relevant today," Riemer said. "He deals with everyday life and everything that comes with it. That is how he is able to resonate with so many different people."

    6. List of Works “Problems” “Democracy” “The Weary Blues” “Freedoms Plow” “Daybreak in Alabama” “Merry-Go-Round” “Juke Box Love Song” “Night Funeral In Harlem” “Po’ Boy Blues” “Fire-Caught” “The Blues” “Walkers with the Dawn” “Ardella” “Minstrel Man” “Madam and Her Madam” Sample Poems Inspired Poems Original Poems Biography List of Works Bibliography “Let America Be America Again” “I, Too, Sing America” “Life Is Fine” “Dream Deferred” “Mother to Son” “Quiet Girl” “Still Here” “The Negro Mother” “Dream Variations” “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” “Theme for English B” “Justice” “Advertisement for the Waldorf-Astoria”

    7. Dream Variations Dream Variations By Langston Hughes To fling my arms wide In some place of the sun, To whirl and to dance Till the white day is done. Then rest at cool evening Beneath a tall tree While night comes on gently, Dark like me- That is my dream! To fling my arms wide In the face of the sun, Dance! Whirl! Whirl! Till the quick day is done. Rest at pale evening... A tall, slim tree... Night coming tenderly Black like me. Sample Poems Inspired Poems Original Poems Biography List of Works Bibliography

    8. Analysis Sample Poems Inspired Poems Original Poems Biography List of Works Bibliography Analysis of Dream Variations by Langston Hughes “Dream Variations” is a poem by Langston Hughes that portrays some of his exceptionally powerful feelings by using symbolism and personification. The poem says that his dream is to be able to dance freely in the sun until night comes. By using symbolism and associating the atmosphere with people, Hughes is really saying his dream is for racism to end. The lines “To whirl and to dance/ Till the white day is done./ Then rest at cool evening/ Beneath a tall tree/ While night comes on gently,/ Dark like me-“ showcase this significantly. He uses day and night to symbolize white and black individuals. Dancing expresses that Hughes wants to be able to live in freedom among white people, without judgment and without racism. He also uses personification when he says that night is coming on gently. This gives the night a characteristic of peace and represents how he does not want any hostility between blacks and whites. The use of symbolism in Langston Hughes’s poem, “Dream Variations”, makes it much easier for the reader to understand and relate to, and personification gives ordinary comparisons a substantially stronger meaning.

    9. Sample Poems Langston Hughes is well-known for his poems about racism, and his poem I, Too is arguably one of his best. He uses the example of being a slave and being hidden in the kitchen when company comes. The lines “Besides, / They’ll see how beautiful I am/ And be ashamed-/ I, too, am America.” are extremely powerful because they show his perseverance and his determination to prove that he deserves the same liberty that others have. I selected this poem because I believe that it gives a very meaningful message that I think can move many people. I, Too by Langston Hughes Tomorrow, I’ll be at the table When company comes. Nobody’ll dare Say to me, “Eat in the kitchen,” Then. Besides, They’ll see how beautiful I am And be ashamed— I, too, am America. 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. Sample Poems Inspired Poems Original Poems Biography List of Works Bibliography

    10. Sample Poems Minstrel Man by Langston Hughes Because my mouth Is wide with laughter And my throat Is deep with song, You do not think I suffer after I have held my pain So long? Because my mouth Is wide with laughter, You do not hear My inner cry? Because my feet Are gay with dancing, You do not know I die? Langston Hughes’s poem Minstrel Man was written to address the fact that what a person chooses to show on the outside is not necessarily how they feel on the inside. The title, Minstrel Man, is a reference to a unique category of poets and musicians from medieval times. These musicians were usually white men dressed and made up to look like a black man. This relates to Hughes’s poem, as someone may put on an act to portray one emotion, but really be feeling another. The lines “Because my feet/ Are gay with dancing, / You do not know/ I die?” depict how the author can pretend he is perfectly fine, while actually suffering on the inside. I chose to include this poem because of the fact that it is very relatable. The Minstrel Man is an incredible poem by Langston Hughes and can send an enormously relevant and powerful message to everyone, no matter what age, gender or race. Sample Poems Inspired Poems Original Poems Biography List of Works Bibliography

    11. Inspired Poems Mother to SonBy Langston Hughes Well, son, I'll tell you: Life for me ain't been no crystal stair. It's had tacks in it, And splinters, And boards torn up, And places with no carpet on the floor— Bare. But all the time I'se been a-climbin' on, And reachin' landin's, And turnin' corners, And sometimes goin' in the dark Where there ain't been no light. So, boy, don't you turn back. Don't you set down on the steps. 'Cause you finds it's kinder hard. Don't you fall now— For I'se still goin', honey, I'se still climbin', And life for me ain't been no crystal stair. Jordyn Johnson’s Poem inspired by Mother to Son Sample Poems Inspired Poems Original Poems Biography List of Works Bibliography

    12. Inspired Poems Sample Poems Inspired Poems Original Poems Biography List of Works Bibliography Walk on the Beach By Jordyn Johnson Well, son, I’ll tell you: Life for me ain’t been as good as a walk on the beach. It’s been sluggish, And lethargic, Unnerving. With whitecaps rolling over me, Summoning me to its bottomless cavity. But I’ve always got the motivation To continue Even when I have to crawl, Slowly, Inch by inch. Even when I think my future seems hazy, Or even my past. So, boy, don’t think it will be easy. Don’t just stick your muddy toes in the water, Thinking they will come out clean. Be aware of the dangers idling below, And don’t believe anything To be as great As a walk on the beach.

    13. Inspired Poems Life is FineBy Langston Hughes I went down to the river, I set down on the bank. I tried to think but couldn't, So I jumped in and sank. I came up once and hollered! I came up twice and cried! If that water hadn't a-been so cold I might've sunk and died. But it was Cold in that water! It was cold! I took the elevator Sixteen floors above the ground. I thought about my baby And thought I would jump down. I stood there and I hollered! I stood there and I cried! If it hadn't a-been so high I might've jumped and died. But it was High up there! It was high! So since I'm still here livin', I guess I will live on. I could've died for love-- But for livin' I was born Though you may hear me holler, And you may see me cry-- I'll be dogged, sweet baby, If you gonna see me die. Life is fine! Fine as wine! Life is fine! Jordyn Johnson’s Poem inspired by Life is Fine Sample Poems Inspired Poems Original Poems Biography List of Works Bibliography

    14. Inspired Poems Masquerade by Jordyn Johnson Friends laugh,Party, compliment. But friends will still laugh at you, Party without you, And cut you down. They are the reason you want to make this choice, Why you are standing here, gazing at your daunting reflection In the rushing, sapphire water. You’ve contemplated your decision. The consequences. Your little brother longing for someone to throw a baseball with, Your relatives having one less person gathered around the Christmas tree, And your friends in need of someone to read the latest issue of Seventeen Magazine. You think it’s the only option for you. Think again. Life is fine. Sample Poems Inspired Poems Original Poems Biography List of Works Bibliography

    15. Original Poems Friendship Is By Jordyn Johnson Friendship is knowing there’s a stocked refrigerator when all of the restaurants are closed. It’s borrowing a dollar when you come up a few cents short. It’s remembering extra gym clothes when you’re running ten minutes late for school. It’s the small things. Friendship is dialing the number you know will pick up when the others all put you on hold. It’s plotting revenge against your weekly enemy when no one else is on your side. It’s giving you that shoulder to cry on when your world appears to be crashing to pieces. It’s the hard things. Friendship is laughing until you develop six-pack abs when nobody else gets the joke. It’s driving around town for hours when you can find nothing to do in Fargo. It’s taking pictures that reveal your true personality, when you would never let anyone else get through your wall. It’s everything. Sample Poems Inspired Poems Original Poems Biography List of Works Bibliography

    16. Original Poems To Kill a Mockingbird By Jordyn Johnson Shoot all the blue jays you want. But remember It’s a sin to kill a mockingbird. They don’t eat up gardens, Don’t nest in corncribs. Just sing their hearts out for us, Making music For us to enjoy. It ain’t right. Guilty… Guilty… Guilty… Runnin’. Seventeen bullet holes. Let the dead Bury the dead. Sorta like shooting a mockingbird, Isn’t it? Sample Poems Inspired Poems Original Poems Biography List of Works Bibliography

    17. Bibliography Sample Poems Inspired Poems Original Poems Biography List of Works Bibliography Biography http://www.shmoop.com/langston-hughes/quotes.html (Quote) http://go.galegroup.com/ps/retrieve.do?sgHitCountType=None&sort=RELEVANCE&inPS=true&prodId=LitRC&userGroupName=west75013&tabID=T002&searchId=R1&resultListType=RESULT_LIST&contentSegment=&searchType=BasicSearchForm&currentPosition=1&contentSet=GALE%7CK1634000139&&docId=GALE|K1634000139&docType=GALE&role=LitRC (Tyrkus, Para 1) http://pabook.libraries.psu.edu/palitmap/bios/Hughes__Langston.html (Kozel, Para 1) http://www.kansasheritage.org/crossingboundaries/page6e1.html (Native Voices International, Para 1) http://www.shmoop.com/langston-hughes/childhood.html (Para 2) http://www.shmoop.com/langston-hughes/timeline.html (Para 2) http://www.notablebiographies.com/Ho-Jo/Hughes-Langston.html (Encyclopedia of World Biography, Para 2) http://www9.georgetown.edu/faculty/bassr/heath/syllabuild/iguide/hughes.html (Nichols, Para 2-3) http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/16075 (Academy of American Poets, Para 3) http://www.csustan.edu/english/reuben/pal/chap9/hughes.html (Reuben, Para 3) http://www.marshallparthenon.com/news/langston-hughes-a-legacy-in-words-1.2478113 (Lineberry, Para 3) Collected Works http://famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/langston_hughes/poems

    18. Bibliography (cont) Sample Poems Inspired Poems Original Poems Biography List of Works Bibliography Pictures Langston Hughes http://change2lives.blogspot.com/2010/08/let-america-be-america-again-land-that.html (Title Page) http://www.whmsoft.net/services/related_search.php?keyword=langston+hughes+book+notes&language=english&depth=1 (Biography) http://workforentry.com/olympus/washingmachine/dance-silhouette-photography&page=4 http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5285/5315278587_9f10f9d116.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.flickr.com/photos/mbryan777/5315278587/&usg=__hlfz8sWipB4q9gXxXSQhRcivQH8=&h=393&w=500&sz=111&hl=en&start=143&zoom=1&tbnid=qOo_0K_0-1XCmM:&tbnh=160&tbnw=204&ei=5KDBTb-5H8WXtwf1kYSrBQ&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dsitting%2Bunder%2Ba%2Btree%2Bat%2Bsunset%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Dactive%26biw%3D1276%26bih%3D816%26gbv%3D2%26tbm%3Disch0%2C4435&itbs=1&biw=1276&bih=816&iact=rc&dur=187&page=7&ndsp=23&ved=1t:429,r:19,s:143&tx=132&ty=48 (Dream Variations Slide) Sample Poems http://www.nccg.org/freedom.html (I, Too) http://whgbetc.com/mind/white-show.html (Minstrel Man) Inspired Poems http://imageguy.wordpress.com/category/poetry/ (Mother to Son) http://minuet.dance.ohio-state.edu/~platt50/assignment_02.html (Walk on the Beach) http://www.customity.com/content/wallpaper/tall-buildings-wallpaper (Life is Fine) http://www.hickerphoto.com/tidal-waves-8805-pictures.htm (Life is Fine) http://www.nocandy.org/ (Masquerade) http://blr-service.com/ (Masquerade) Original Poems http://etc.usf.edu/clipart/2200/2222/mockingbird_1.htm (To Kill a Mockingbird) http://www.great-inspirational-quotes.com/the-sands-of-forgiveness.html (Friendship Is)