Langston Hughes

February 1, 1902 - May 22, 1967
Joplin, Missouri - New York City, New York
poet ~ columnist ~ dramatist ~ essayist ~ lyricist ~ novelist

    Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri as the second child. After his parents separation he was mainly raised with his grandmother until he was 13. He was very lonesome and unhappy during this time. He actually spent most of his childhood in Lawrence, Kansas. After he graduated high school he held many odd jobs such as an assistant chef, seaman, launderer, and busboy. He died in New York City on May 22 from complications with cancer.

    In November 1924, Langston Hughes moved to Washington D.C. and created his first book of poetry- The Weary Blues. He is particularly known for his insightful, colorful portrayals of African-American life. His poems have been translated into Spanish, Russian, German, French, Yiddish, and Czech. Many of the poems have been set to music. He has read his poetry to audiences across the country possibly more than any other American poet.

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?