The New York City neighborhood, encompassing only three square miles, teemed with black artists, intellectuals, writers, and musicians. The origins of the Harlem Renaissance lie in the Great Migration of the early 20th century, when hundreds of thousands of black people migrated from the South into dense urban areas that offered relatively more economic opportunities and cultural capital. Poetry from the Harlem Renaissance reflected a diversity of forms and subjects. The collection that follows offers a sampling of poetry published during this period, along with essays by and about Harlem Renaissance writers and audio recordings and discussions of their work.
An Introduction to the Harlem Renaissance
Langston Hughes | Poetry Foundation
Langston Hughes became the voice of black America in the s, when his first published poems brought him more than moderate success. Throughout his lifetime, his work encompassed both popular lyrical poems, and more controversial political work, especially during the thirties. He expressed a direct and sometimes even pessimistic approach to race relations, and he focused his poems primarily on the lives of the working class. That said, his subject matter was extraordinarily varied and rich: his poems are about music, politics, America, love, the blues, and dreams. No list could be inclusive enough.
A Reading Guide to Langston Hughes
Langston Hughes was a central figure in the Harlem Renaissance , the flowering of black intellectual, literary, and artistic life that took place in the s in a number of American cities, particularly Harlem. A major poet, Hughes also wrote novels, short stories, essays, and plays. If white people are pleased we are glad. We know we are beautiful.
Poetry is a compact language that expresses complex feelings. To understand the multiple meanings of a poem, readers must examine its words and phrasing from the perspectives of rhythm, sound, images, obvious meaning, and implied meaning. Readers then need to organize responses to the verse into a logical, point-by-point explanation. A good beginning involves asking questions that apply to most poetry.