By Langston Hughes
(Everyman's Library, Hardcover, 9780375405518, 256pp.)
Publication Date: March 23, 1999
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From the publication of his first book in 1926, Langston Hughes was hailed as the poet laureate of black America, the first to commemorate the experience of African Americans in a voice that no reader, black or white, could fail to hear. Lyrical and pungent, passionate and polemical, this volume is a treasure-an essential collection of the work of a poet whose words have entered our common language.
Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri, in 1902. After graduation from high school, he spent a year in Mexico with his father, then a year studying at Columbia University. His first poem in a nationally known magazine was "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," which appeared in Crisis in 1921. In 1925, he was awarded the First Prize for Poetry of the magazine Opportunity, the winning poem being "The Weary Blues," which gave its title to his first book of poems, published in 1926. As a result of his poetry, Mr. Hughes received a scholarship at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, where he won his B.A. in 1929. In 1943, he was awarded an honorary Litt.D. by his alma mater; he has also been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship (1935), a Rosenwald Fellowship (1940), and an American Academy of Arts and Letters Grant (1947). From 1926 until his death in 1967, Langston Hughes devoted his time to writing and lecturing. He wrote poetry, short stories, autobiography, song lyrics, essays, humor, and plays. A cross section of his work was published in 1958 as The Langston Hughes Reader.