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Langston Hughes The Poet Inspiration.pdf

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Unformatted text preview: Langston​ ​Hughes:​ ​The​ ​Poet​ ​& Inspiration By​ ​Maya​ ​Pankratz From​ ​being​ ​unofficially​ ​donned the​ ​“Poet​ ​Laureate​ ​of​ ​Harlem”​ ​to being​ ​compared​ ​to​ ​Shakespeare, Langston​ ​Hughes​ ​has​ ​been​ ​the​ ​subject of​ ​idolization​ ​in​ ​America​ ​since​ ​his work​ ​gained​ ​attention​ ​from​ ​the​ ​public. It​ ​is​ ​not​ ​without​ ​good​ ​reason​ ​that​ ​this man​ ​has​ ​been​ ​held​ ​on​ ​such​ ​a​ ​pedestal; besides​ ​an​ ​interesting,​ ​well-travelled life​ ​and​ ​his​ ​talent​ ​for​ ​poetry​ ​(among other​ ​areas​ ​of​ ​literature),​ ​he​ ​provided a​ ​voice​ ​for​ ​African​ ​Americans​ ​in​ ​the media​ ​and​ ​inspired​ ​many​ ​others​ ​to write​ ​by​ ​example​ ​and​ ​with encouragement​ ​and​ ​honesty.​ ​His​ ​work provided​ ​not​ ​only​ ​a​ ​vision​ ​of​ ​the​ ​lives of​ ​black​ ​people​ ​in​ ​the​ ​United​ ​States, but​ ​also​ ​an​ ​intimate​ ​vision​ ​of​ ​himself allowing​ ​many​ ​to​ ​feel​ ​connected​ ​to him.​ ​In​ ​The​ ​Black​ ​Interior,​ ​Elizabeth Alexander​ ​states,​ ​“We​ ​even​ ​call​ ​him ‘Langston’​ ​as​ ​though​ ​something​ ​in that​ ​face​ ​and​ ​those​ ​poems​ ​have invited​ ​us​ ​to​ ​do​ ​so.”​ ​By​ ​connecting with​ ​his​ ​audience​ ​and​ ​granting​ ​the opportunity​ ​to​ ​feel​ ​as​ ​if​ ​one​ ​had insight​ ​into​ ​his​ ​person​ ​as​ ​a​ ​whole​ ​as well​ ​as​ ​being​ ​unafraid​ ​to​ ​share​ ​his opinion,​ ​Langston​ ​Hughes​ ​even further​ ​stretched​ ​the​ ​ability​ ​of​ ​his words​ ​to​ ​speak​ ​out​ ​for​ ​all​ ​African Americans​ ​by​ ​reaching​ ​deep​ ​down inside​ ​the​ ​readers​ ​and​ ​opening​ ​them up​ ​to​ ​their​ ​lives​ ​and​ ​struggles. Though​ ​born​ ​in​ ​Joplin, Missouri​ ​on​ ​February​ ​1st​ ​1902,​ ​James Mercer​ ​Langston​ ​Hughes​ ​was primarily​ ​raised​ ​in​ ​the​ ​care​ ​of​ ​his grandmother​ ​in​ ​Lawrence,​ ​Kansas. His​ ​father​ ​abandoned​ ​the​ ​family​ ​when he​ ​was​ ​young,​ ​and​ ​it​ ​was​ ​not​ ​until​ ​he was​ ​12​ ​years​ ​old​ ​that​ ​he​ ​lived​ ​with​ ​his mother​ ​and​ ​stepfather.​ ​They​ ​moved from​ ​Lincoln,​ ​Illinois​ ​to​ ​Cleveland, Ohio,​ ​where​ ​the​ ​family​ ​stayed​ ​for​ ​the remainder​ ​of​ ​Hughes’​ ​adolescence. maintaining​ ​a​ ​connection​ ​to​ ​Harlem He​ ​graduated​ ​from​ ​Central​ ​High by​ ​living​ ​there​ ​off​ ​and​ ​on,​ ​Hughes School​ ​in​ ​the​ ​city​ ​in​ ​1920,​ ​shortly travelled​ ​to​ ​countries​ ​including after​ ​travelling​ ​to​ ​Mexico​ ​to​ ​make France,​ ​Haiti,​ ​Russia,​ ​and​ ​Spain.​ ​Of amends​ ​with​ ​his​ ​father-​ ​unfortunately, course,​ ​he​ ​also​ ​wrote​ ​feverently, there​ ​he​ ​found​ ​that​ ​his​ ​father​ ​was​ ​not publishing​ ​poems,​ ​plays,​ ​short​ ​stories, in​ ​favor​ ​of​ ​his​ ​aspirations​ ​as​ ​a​ ​writer, entire​ ​anthologies,​ ​and​ ​more​ ​until​ ​his instead​ ​encouraging​ ​him​ ​to​ ​pursue​ ​a death​ ​in​ ​New​ ​York​ ​City​ ​on​ ​May practical​ ​career.​ ​So​ ​he​ ​headed​ ​back​ ​to 22nd,​ ​1967. the​ ​United​ ​States,​ ​dreams​ ​of​ ​being​ ​a Langston​ ​Hughes​ ​is​ ​most writer​ ​still​ ​in​ ​his​ ​mind​ ​along​ ​with​ ​that known​ ​as​ ​a​ ​poet​ ​despite​ ​his​ ​other of​ ​living​ ​in​ ​New​ ​York’s​ ​black ventures​ ​in​ ​the​ ​field​ ​of​ ​literature,​ ​a community​ ​Harlem.​ ​Hughes​ ​enrolled fact​ ​that​ ​he​ ​not​ ​only​ ​accepted​ ​but at​ ​Columbia​ ​University​ ​in​ ​New​ ​York embraced.​ ​In​ ​the​ ​introduction​ ​to in​ ​1922,​ ​but​ ​left​ ​after​ ​a​ ​year​ ​to​ ​travel Poems​ ​from​ ​Black​ ​Africa,​ ​he​ ​stated, throughout​ ​Africa​ ​and​ ​Europe​ ​as​ ​a “From​ ​the​ ​days​ ​of​ ​the​ ​bards​ ​and seaman,​ ​which​ ​he​ ​chronicled​ ​in​ ​the troubadours,​ ​the​ ​songs​ ​of​ ​the​ ​poets beginning​ ​of​ ​his​ ​autobiography,​ ​The have​ ​been​ ​not​ ​only​ ​songs,​ ​but​ ​often Big​ ​Sea.​ ​After​ ​returning​ ​to​ ​the​ ​United records​ ​of​ ​the​ ​most​ ​moving​ ​events, States​ ​in​ ​1924,​ ​he​ ​began​ ​attending the​ ​deepest​ ​thoughts​ ​and​ ​most Lincoln​ ​University​ ​in​ ​Pennsylvania- profound​ ​emotional​ ​currents​ ​of​ ​their which​ ​was​ ​known​ ​for​ ​its​ ​African times.”​ ​This​ ​was​ ​the​ ​poet’s​ ​goal-​ ​to American​ ​population-​ ​and​ ​received shine​ ​light​ ​on​ ​factors​ ​of​ ​African his​ ​BA​ ​there​ ​in​ ​1929.​ ​Travelling​ ​the American​ ​lives,​ ​including​ ​not​ ​only world​ ​was​ ​his​ ​next​ ​endeavor,​ ​and their​ ​political​ ​condition​ ​in​ ​the​ ​United States,​ ​but​ ​also​ ​the​ ​issues​ ​they​ ​faced of​ ​whites​ ​in​ ​the​ ​United​ ​States,​ ​but and​ ​what​ ​they​ ​strived​ ​for.​ ​He also​ ​blacks.​ ​Elizabeth​ ​Engel​ ​stated​ ​in achieved​ ​his​ ​goal,​ ​putting​ ​those her​ ​article​ ​about​ ​Hughes​ ​on​ ​the struggles​ ​into​ ​words​ ​while​ ​allowing website​ ​Historic​ ​Missourians​,​ ​“His black​ ​people​ ​to​ ​gain​ ​a​ ​sense​ ​of​ ​pride work​ ​celebrates​ ​the​ ​lives​ ​of​ ​black in​ ​their​ ​race.​ ​Langston​ ​Hughes​ ​is​ ​not people​ ​and​ ​speaks​ ​out​ ​against​ ​their only​ ​the​ ​most​ ​well-known​ ​African struggles.”​ ​Some​ ​African​ ​Americans American​ ​poet,​ ​but​ ​also​ ​the​ ​one​ ​most were​ ​not​ ​happy​ ​about​ ​this,​ ​looking frequently​ ​taught​ ​and​ ​discussed​ ​in with​ ​distaste​ ​onto​ ​the​ ​way​ ​Hughes schools,​ ​and​ ​this​ ​is​ ​due​ ​to​ ​the focused​ ​on​ ​the​ ​difficulties​ ​of​ ​their dramatic​ ​influence​ ​his​ ​work​ ​had​ ​on​ ​its lives.​ ​However,​ ​the​ ​poet​ ​did​ ​not​ ​see readers.​ ​He​ ​saw​ ​poetry​ ​as​ ​something their​ ​struggles​ ​as​ ​something​ ​that that​ ​represented​ ​populations​ ​and​ ​held should​ ​necessarily​ ​be​ ​hidden-​ ​he​ ​saw power,​ ​invoking​ ​feelings​ ​of​ ​delight​ ​or beauty​ ​in​ ​all​ ​aspects​ ​the​ ​encompass disturbance,​ ​interest​ ​or​ ​sadness, the​ ​black​ ​experience​ ​and​ ​aimed​ ​to pleasure​ ​or​ ​disgust.​ ​Above​ ​all,​ ​he capture​ ​them.​ ​In​ ​this​ ​way​ ​he​ ​spoke believed​ ​that​ ​poetry​ ​made​ ​people out​ ​for​ ​black​ ​culture​ ​and​ ​even​ ​shaped think-​ ​about​ ​changing​ ​themselves​ ​and it,​ ​opening​ ​the​ ​doors​ ​for​ ​many​ ​others even​ ​changing​ ​the​ ​world.​ ​The to​ ​do​ ​the​ ​same. influence​ ​he​ ​provided​ ​during​ ​the Wide​ ​recognition​ ​for​ ​Langston Harlem​ ​Renaissance,​ ​an​ ​African Hughes​ ​was​ ​gained​ ​in​ ​a​ ​short​ ​span​ ​of American​ ​literary​ ​movement​ ​in​ ​the his​ ​career​ ​and​ ​over​ ​his​ ​lifetime​ ​he​ ​was 1920s​ ​and​ ​1930s,​ ​aided​ ​in​ ​making​ ​his asked​ ​to​ ​edit​ ​numerous​ ​anthologies, belief​ ​a​ ​reality,​ ​as​ ​he​ ​not​ ​only publish​ ​articles​ ​and​ ​essays​ ​in potentially​ ​changed​ ​the​ ​perspectives countless​ ​literary​ ​magazines-​ ​all​ ​of which​ ​led​ ​to​ ​increasing​ ​his​ ​influence many​ ​to​ ​pick​ ​up​ ​their​ ​pens,​ ​pencils, in​ ​fighting​ ​segregation,​ ​especially​ ​in​ ​a typewriters,​ ​or​ ​any​ ​other​ ​method​ ​of time​ ​when​ ​most​ ​anthologies​ ​were transcription​ ​and​ ​start​ ​something, composed​ ​of​ ​writings​ ​from​ ​white including​ ​young​ ​writers.​ ​Hughes authors.​​ ​His​ ​work​ ​affected​ ​not​ ​only further​ ​impacted​ ​society​ ​with​ ​the​ ​way artists,​ ​but​ ​also​ ​civil​ ​rights​ ​activists, he​ ​was​ ​unafraid​ ​to​ ​speak​ ​out​ ​against particularly​ ​in​ ​the​ ​1950s​ ​and​ ​1960s. racism​ ​for​ ​the​ ​black​ ​people​ ​as​ ​a One​ ​example​ ​of​ ​a​ ​specific​ ​event​ ​that whole;​ ​the​ ​ways​ ​in​ ​which had​ ​an​ ​influence​ ​on​ ​America​ ​was encompassed​ ​more​ ​than​ ​just​ ​his when​ ​Hughes​ ​judged​ ​a​ ​short​ ​story writing​ ​and​ ​gained​ ​him​ ​a​ ​solid​ ​band contest​ ​in​ ​1958​ ​for​ ​Drum​,​ ​a​ ​not​ ​only of​ ​not​ ​only​ ​fans,​ ​but​ ​also​ ​critics famous​ ​but​ ​legendary​ ​African against​ ​his​ ​work.​ ​Even​ ​in​ ​the​ ​earlier part​ ​of​ ​his​ ​career,​ ​many​ ​disliked​ ​him, such​ ​as​ ​the​ ​Southern​ ​poet​ ​and​ ​critic Allen​ ​Tate,​ ​who​ ​refused​ ​to​ ​attend​ ​a private​ ​party​ ​in​ ​Nashville​ ​in​ ​1934 simply​ ​because​ ​Hughes​ ​would​ ​be there.​ ​Despite​ ​the​ ​critics,​ ​he​ ​retained his​ ​confidence​ ​and​ ​continued​ ​to​ ​speak out​ ​against​ ​injustice​ ​and misinformation.​ ​After​ ​accusations​ ​of magazine.​ ​The​ ​contest​ ​began​ ​a​ ​period of​ ​deep​ ​involvement​ ​in​ ​African literature​ ​and​ ​culture​ ​and​ ​spurred belonging​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Communist​ ​Party,​ ​he was​ ​self-assured​ ​and​ ​brave​ ​enough​ ​to stand​ ​in​ ​front​ ​of​ ​Joseph​ ​McCarthy’s senate​ ​subcommittee​ ​and​ ​defend himself.​ ​When​ ​his​ ​fame​ ​acquired​ ​him social​ ​issues​ ​including​ ​racism​ ​and an​ ​invitation​ ​to​ ​a​ ​lunch​ ​hosted​ ​by encouraged​ ​others​ ​to​ ​do​ ​the​ ​same. John​ ​F.​ ​Kennedy​ ​at​ ​the​ ​White​ ​House Hughes​ ​viewed​ ​life​ ​with​ ​a​ ​different in​ ​1961,​ ​he​ ​spoke​ ​out​ ​against​ ​racism perspective​ ​than​ ​most,​ ​recognizing​ ​the even​ ​in​ ​the​ ​presence​ ​of​ ​the​ ​nation’s beauty​ ​even​ ​in​ ​negative​ ​aspects​ ​of leader.​ ​During​ ​a​ ​discussion​ ​on life.​ ​This​ ​unique​ ​outlook​ ​was​ ​shown William​ ​Faulkner​ ​and​ ​whether​ ​he strongly​ ​in​ ​the​ ​works​ ​he​ ​published, should​ ​be​ ​the​ ​recipient​ ​of​ ​another which​ ​live​ ​on​ ​and​ ​continue​ ​to​ ​inspire award​ ​after​ ​already​ ​being​ ​granted​ ​the many-​ ​perhaps​ ​even​ ​more​ ​so​ ​than Nobel​ ​Prize,​ ​Hughes​ ​called​ ​this​ ​into when​ ​he​ ​was​ ​alive.​ ​As​ ​Elizabeth question​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​due​ ​to​ ​Faulkner's​ ​recent Alexander​ ​said​ ​in​ ​The​ ​Black​ ​Interior​, statement​ ​about​ ​“shooting​ ​all​ ​the “The​ ​work​ ​of​ ​Langston​ ​Hughes​ ​has Negroes”​ ​if​ ​he​ ​had​ ​to.​ ​Langston for​ ​several​ ​generations​ ​of​ ​readers Hughes​ ​was​ ​blunt​ ​regarding​ ​his helped​ ​form​ ​a​ ​sense​ ​of​ ​an​ ​American opinions​ ​even​ ​when​ ​it​ ​came​ ​to poetics​ ​and​ ​the​ ​possibilities​ ​of​ ​African controversial​ ​issues,​ ​and​ ​speaking​ ​out American​ ​literature.”​ ​Above​ ​all​ ​other about​ ​these​ ​subjects​ ​is​ ​another​ ​way​ ​in writings,​ ​it​ ​was​ ​his​ ​poetry​ ​(for​ ​which which​ ​he​ ​impacted​ ​the​ ​United​ ​States. he​ ​is​ ​primarily​ ​remembered)​ ​that In​ ​conclusion,​ ​Langston shined​ ​light​ ​on​ ​segregation​ ​in Hughes​ ​was​ ​a​ ​voice​ ​for​ ​the​ ​African America​ ​and​ ​shaped​ ​black​ ​culture, American​ ​population​ ​in​ ​the​ ​United providing​ ​an​ ​influence​ ​for​ ​the States​ ​whose​ ​legacy​ ​has​ ​remained American​ ​people​ ​and​ ​someone​ ​to​ ​be strong​ ​even​ ​in​ ​the​ ​50​ ​years​ ​after​ ​his looked​ ​up​ ​to,​ ​or​ ​even​ ​idolized,​ ​as​ ​well death.​ ​He​ ​possessed​ ​a​ ​courage a​ ​path​ ​for​ ​other​ ​to​ ​follow​ ​if​ ​they allowing​ ​him​ ​to​ ​speak​ ​out​ ​against wished​ ​to​ ​do​ ​the​ ​same. ...
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