The Voice of the Poet
Publication Date: March 26, 2002
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THE VOICE OF THE POET
A remarkable series of audiobooks, featuring distinguished twentieth-century American poets reading from their own work. A first in audiobook publishing--a series that uses the written word to enhance the listening experience--poetry to be read as well as heard. Each audiobook includes rare archival recordings and a book with the text of the poetry, a bibliography, and commentary by J. D. McClatchy, the poet and critic, who is the editor of The Yale Review.
"Hearing poetry spoken by the poet is always a unique illumination. This series opens our ears to some of the most passionate utterances and enthralling performances ever recorded."--Seamus Heaney, Nobel Prize winner, Poetry
"There has been a great need for a well-edited audio series for poetry, with high literary and technical quality. J. D. McClatchy has filled this need with great style."--Robert Pinsky
Langston Hughes (1902-1967) was a writer of astonishing range. Poetry, fiction, plays, autobiography, essays, libretti for operas and Broadway musicals, and cantatas - work streamed from his desk. It is as a poet though, that he is best known, and his place at the center of Harlem Renaissance was enormously influential. He was the first African-American to write civil-rights protest poetry, as well as the first to use jazz and the blues as a basis for a literary style. Few poets have ever potrayed so vividly the black experience, its triumphs and travails, and in a language that cunningly dramatizes the folk vernacular. Hughes was born in Missouri, worked as a manual laborer and traveled the world - the better, in the end, to know so intimately the realities of urban life for the displaced and rootless. He wrote with eloquence, humor and a deep humanity.
"A poet," he once wrote, "is a human being. Each human being must live within his time, with and for his people, and within the boundaries of his country." Hughes wrote of the drama of his time with a sense of truth that continues to startle and move.