Langston Hughes Poetry Style

1060 Words 5 Pages
During the period of 1917-1935 existed an artistic, social and cultural phenomenon swept throughout the entire United States. A explosion of creativity resulting from African American influence brought new styles and freedom in the arts. Historians dubbed the period as the Harlem Renaissance, seeing the upheaval of African American culture and civil rights and the introduction of new artistic styles such as Jazz and Negro Literature. Therefore, which poet represents the ideology of the Harlem Renaissance? One name comes to mind, Langston Hughes, from his beginnings in a low-class black background to the prolific poet that lays in the forefront of such a period, he best characterized the essence of the Harlem Renaissance .

Born on February
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The audience fell in love with his style of writing and tone of his pieces, “He seems to speak for the millions, it’s a tricky thing to do” (Poetry Foundation). (By speaking to millions, he appeals to millions). Hughes’ poem carries with it the sadness and despair of his race. Furthermore, Hughes can masterfully compress this message and feeling into a literary masterpiece understandable by any individual. In 1925, Hughes published his first book of poetry “ The Weary Blue”-named by the rhythm and style of poetry akin to jazz and blues- which established his poetic style and commitment to black themes. Hughes wanted to show the reality and leave out nothing: “he wanted to tell the stories of his people in ways that reflected their actual culture, including both their suffering and their love of music, laughter, and language itself” (Poets). Hughes told the pictures from the happy times of the kids laughing and playing in the streets to the difficulties of finding a decent paying job as a unlearned black man with a family to feed, from the past of his ancestor who worked on plantation longing for freedom to the realization of the current blacks that freedom didn’t mean equality. Hughes’s poems told the full story whether good or bad. Through his poetry, Hughes reinforces a main point of the Harlem Renaissance by making his readers …show more content…
Jazz music mesmerizes him, the swing of the beat and tempo of the song, going as far to incorporate this into his poetry. He has pioneered a new style call Jazz poetry, a style “which spurned the desire for assimilation and acceptance by white culture, and instead rejoiced in black heritage and creativity” (arts.gov). Hughes combines a uniquely African American style of music with call backs to black heritage. He hopes that this new kind of poetry will draw a greater audience from the whites, and more clearly expresses the soulful voice of the black men of the Harlem Renaissance. In turn the fusion genre focuses on the usage of “syncopated tunes, jive language, or looser phrasing to mimic the improvisatory nature of jazz…”(arts.gov). This concoction of instilling musical beats into poetry forces us to unconsciously read the poem with a syncopated beat, giving the poem itself the feeling of listening to jazz music. Furthermore, by building it as a piece of jazz music, Hughes can manipulate it to create imagery. The thumps of the man’s feet knocking on the ground to the beat of the piano playing while his body swings and fling with energy and passion are all heard from the beat and syntax of his poems. The lines of poetry itself moves like notes on music score, sometimes going fast and loud while sometimes slow and quiet. Who can even resist the allure of such a musical poem? This

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