Friday, February 01, 2008

Poet of the Month

February's Featured Poet
Langston Hughes (1902-67) received his B.A. in 1929 from Lincoln University and wrote operettas and poems in the spirit of jazz, spirituals, and blues. “The mood of the blues is almost always despondency, but when they are sung people laugh,” Hughes said. (He was perhaps the first person to grasp Lucille Clifton’s gifts, extolling her work in an anthology of African‑American poetry.) Here is a blues poem:

Morning After
I was so sick last night I
Didn't hardly know my mind.
So sick last night I
Didn't know my mind.
I drunk some bad licker that
Almost made me blind.

Had a dream last night I
Thought I was in hell.
I drempt last night I
Thought I was in hell.
Woke up and looked around me‑‑
Babe, your mouth was open like a well.

I said, Baby! Baby!
Please don't snore so loud.
Baby! Please!
Please don't snore so loud.
You jest a little bit o' woman but you
Sound like a great big crowd.

Further Reading: Langston Hughes, Collected Poems, and Langston Hughes, I wonder as I wander : an autobiographical journey, with an introduction by Arnold Rampersad.

Coming in March: Emily Dickinson

Content developed by local resident and poet Leland Jamieson