Langston Hughes

Born: February 1, 1902 Joplin, Missouri
                           Died: March 22, 1967                                

    Langston Hughes's parents divorced when he was a young boy. His Dad moved to Mexico, and he lived with his Grandma until he was 13. He began writing poetry in 8th grade. His father disapproved of him being a writer, he thought that he should be something more practical. So he was studying to be an engineer. Later he dropped out to become a writer.   

    Hughes's first official poem was "The Negro Speaks of Rivers", which is now his signature poem. Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Carl Sandburg, and Walt Whitman were Hughes's mian inspiration. They are one of the reasons why he started writing. The other was to express himself, how it was to be an African American at the time. Many of his poems are about how he felt, how he went through life. The interesting thing about his poems are that they are not very clear. You have to think about what he is trying to say, the message he is trying to get across.      

The Negro Speaks of Rivers

I've known rivers:

I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the
flow of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln
went down to New Orleans, and I've seen its muddy
bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I've known rivers:
Ancient, dusky rivers.
My soul has grown deep like the rivers.
-Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes