Spanning five decades and comprising 868 poems (nearly 300 of which have never before appeared in book form), this magnificent volume is the definitive sampling of a writer who has been called the poet laureate of African America--and perhaps our greatest popular poet since Walt Whitman. Here, for the first time, are all the poems that Langston Hughes published during his lifetime, arranged in the general order in which he wrote them and annotated by Arnold Rampersad and David Roessel. Alongside such famous works as "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" and "Montage of a Dream Deferred," The Collected Poems includes the author's lesser-known verse for children; topical poems distributed through the Associated Negro Press; and poems such as "Goodbye Christ" that were once suppressed. Lyrical and pungent, passionate and polemical, the result is a treasure of a book, the essential collection of a poet whose words have entered our common language.
Langston Hughes (1902–1967), a central figure of the Harlem Renaissance and one of the most influential and esteemed writers of the twentieth century, was born in Joplin, Missouri, and spent much of his childhood in Kansas before moving to Harlem. His first book of poetry, The Weary Blues, was published in 1926; its success helped him to win a scholarship to Lincoln University, in Pennsylvania, from which he received his B.A. in 1929 and an honorary Litt.D. in 1943. Among his other awards and honors were a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Rosenwald Fellowship, and a grant from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Hughes published more than thirty-five books, including works of poetry, short stories, novels, an autobiography, musicals, essays, and plays.

Angela Flournoy (introduction) was a finalist for the National Book Award for her debut novel, The Turner House. Her fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, and she has written for The New York TimesThe New Republic, and the Los Angeles Times. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Flournoy was raised by a mother from Los Angeles and a father from Detroit and now lives in Brooklyn. View titles by Langston Hughes
Juke Box Love Song

I could take the Harlem night
and wrap around you,
Take the neon lights and make a crown,
Take the Lenox Avenue busses,
Taxis, subways,
And for your love song tone their rumble down.
Take Harlem's heartbeat,
Make a drumbeat,
Put it on a record, let it whirl,
And while we listen to it play,
Dance with you till day—
Dance with you, my sweet brown Harlem girl.
“Langston Hughes is a titanic figure in 20th-century American literature . . . a powerful interpreter of the American experience.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer

"The ultimate book for both the dabbler and serious scholar. [Hughes] is sumptuous and sharp, playful and sparse, grounded in an earthy music. This book is a glorious revelation." —Boston Globe

About

Spanning five decades and comprising 868 poems (nearly 300 of which have never before appeared in book form), this magnificent volume is the definitive sampling of a writer who has been called the poet laureate of African America--and perhaps our greatest popular poet since Walt Whitman. Here, for the first time, are all the poems that Langston Hughes published during his lifetime, arranged in the general order in which he wrote them and annotated by Arnold Rampersad and David Roessel. Alongside such famous works as "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" and "Montage of a Dream Deferred," The Collected Poems includes the author's lesser-known verse for children; topical poems distributed through the Associated Negro Press; and poems such as "Goodbye Christ" that were once suppressed. Lyrical and pungent, passionate and polemical, the result is a treasure of a book, the essential collection of a poet whose words have entered our common language.

Author

Langston Hughes (1902–1967), a central figure of the Harlem Renaissance and one of the most influential and esteemed writers of the twentieth century, was born in Joplin, Missouri, and spent much of his childhood in Kansas before moving to Harlem. His first book of poetry, The Weary Blues, was published in 1926; its success helped him to win a scholarship to Lincoln University, in Pennsylvania, from which he received his B.A. in 1929 and an honorary Litt.D. in 1943. Among his other awards and honors were a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Rosenwald Fellowship, and a grant from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Hughes published more than thirty-five books, including works of poetry, short stories, novels, an autobiography, musicals, essays, and plays.

Angela Flournoy (introduction) was a finalist for the National Book Award for her debut novel, The Turner House. Her fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, and she has written for The New York TimesThe New Republic, and the Los Angeles Times. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Flournoy was raised by a mother from Los Angeles and a father from Detroit and now lives in Brooklyn. View titles by Langston Hughes

Excerpt

Juke Box Love Song

I could take the Harlem night
and wrap around you,
Take the neon lights and make a crown,
Take the Lenox Avenue busses,
Taxis, subways,
And for your love song tone their rumble down.
Take Harlem's heartbeat,
Make a drumbeat,
Put it on a record, let it whirl,
And while we listen to it play,
Dance with you till day—
Dance with you, my sweet brown Harlem girl.

Praise

“Langston Hughes is a titanic figure in 20th-century American literature . . . a powerful interpreter of the American experience.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer

"The ultimate book for both the dabbler and serious scholar. [Hughes] is sumptuous and sharp, playful and sparse, grounded in an earthy music. This book is a glorious revelation." —Boston Globe

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