Monday, February 11, 2008

Langston Hughes (February 1, 1902-May 22, 1967)

Langston Hughes was one of the most important writers and thinkers of the Harlem Renaissance, which was the African-American artistic movement in the 1920s that celebrated black life and culture. Through his poetry, novels, plays, essays, and children's books, he promoted equality, condemned racism and injustice, and celebrated African-American culture, humor, and spirituality.




Here's my favorite poem by Mr. Hughes:

Mother To Son
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.

23 comments:

Gwyneth Bolton said...

"Mother to Son" is a classic. And I love Langston Hughes. I remember having to memorize this one for Black History Month when I was in the sixth grade. The grammar school I attended had a thing where each class had to recite together a poem by a Black poet. It was a long auditorium program on the day every single class in the building recited a poem. But as I look back, I'm glad we had that. Nice tribute!

Gwyneth

Charles Gramlich said...

It's been several years, probably a decade since I sat down and read the majority of Hughes's poetry. I should revisit it. Thanks for a refresher taste. This is a good one.

devonellington said...

Sometimes we forget just how amazing he is. Thanks for reminding us.

Lana Gramlich said...

Very nice. :)

Miladysa said...

Whow! What an absolutely amazing poem!

"Life for me ain't been no crystal stair" LOVE it. I do not think I will ever forget this line.

I am once again embarassed to say that this is my first encounter with Mr Langston Hughes. Thank you for introducing us :]

The Anti-Wife said...

Another truly amazing poet. Thanks for sharing this.

Ello said...

I love this poem. I can so relate to it for life for me has been no crystal stair. I read this poem when I was in high school. Thanks for reminding me of it.

Demon Hunter said...

Gwyneth,
Thanks! This poem just stuck with me. :*)

Charles,
You're welcome. He was so on point with his poetry. :*)

Devon,
You're more than welcome! :*)

Lana,
Awww, thanks! :*)

Miladysa,
Don't worry about it. Some folks who live in the states have never heard of him. By the way, the line you mentioned is my favorite. It's stuck with me for years! :*)

Anti-wife,
Thank you for appreciating th work! :*)

Ello,
It resonates with me as well. I've loved it ever since I read it in high school as well. :*)

daydream said...

The poem is interesting in terms of metaphor and the way it conveys the message. I just like that and the authenticity with the whole language and dialect. Very nice.

Bernita said...

It's a wonderful poem.

Don said...

I once did an essay about Langston Hughes. Truly talented brother.

Thanks for taking the time to remind me.

Demon Hunter said...

Daydream,
Yes, it has an awesome metaphor. :*)

Bernita,
That it is!:*)

Don,
He was very talented, indeed! :*)

shelia said...

Langston Hughes is one of my favorites.

ChristineEldin said...

I haven't read any of his poetry. Thanks for sharing--now I have something to look forward to in terms of learning more poetry.

Tempest Knight said...

Love that poem! A classic!

Demon Hunter said...

Sheila,
He was great, wasn't he? :*)

Chris,
Great to hear. Check him out. You'll enjoy it! :*)

Tempest,
You're right. It is a classic. :*)

raine said...

(You knew I'd be visiting, right?) ;-D

I haven't read Hughes in AGES. Not since I devoured his poetry in college. Loved it. Think he's been overlooked and underrated in recent years, and that's a shame.

Thanks for posting this. Very nice.
I'll be coming back.

Don said...

Happy Valentines Day, to you and yours.

I see you've already gotten that call...lol

Nothing wrong with that. Just goes to show you how love is, huh?

Gypsy Soul said...

I'm just popping by to say 'hi'. It's been forever since I logged on. I'm going to try harder. I hope the New Year brings you everything you wish for and more.

Demon Hunter said...

Raine,
Thanks and come by anytime! :*)

Don,
He doesn't wait for a particular day because V-Day is every day for us! :*)

Liane,
Nice to "see" you. Where have you been? E-mail me! :*)

dejanae said...

Langston Hughes was the truth
second dose of him this week and i don't mind in the least

Cora Zane said...

A classic. It stands as true for life and youth now as it ever did. What a beautiful poem.

Demon Hunter said...

Dejanae,
Beautiful name. You're right. Langston Hughes was one of the greats! :*)

Cora,
It will always be a favorite of mine.