Sunday, August 17, 2014

Langston Hughes - Poetry

I know of the name Langston Hughes though I can't say that I'm familiar with his work.  The blurb in the book says that he was 'One of the leading writers of the Harlem Renaissance...'.  This piece, appropriately enough, is titled 'Harlem'.

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore-
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

An effective poem and we've found out the answer to that last line at different times.  I was totally ignorant of the Harlem Renaissance until I read 'Invisible Man' by Ralph Ellison some years back as part of a different reading list.  The book blew me away.  Growing up in a small town in the midwest in the 80's, I had very little connection to the kind of racism that was commonplace before I was born.  (And no, I'm not claiming that it all disappeared, but conditions today are wildly different than they were then.)  It's amazing just how appalling conditions were in the big cities of the Northeast.  I'm curious if the play 'Raisin in the Sun' was named from this poem and the internet suggest that it indeed was.
A very powerful poem.

No comments:

Post a Comment