Poetry for Young People: Langston Hughes

Poetry for Young People: Langston Hughes

by David Roessel, Benny Andrews

A fresh design and appealing new cover enliven this award-winning collection in the acclaimed Poetry for Young People series. Showcasing the extraordinary Langston Hughes, it's edited by two leading poetry experts and features gallery-quality art by Benny Andrews that…  See more details below


A fresh design and appealing new cover enliven this award-winning collection in the acclaimed Poetry for Young People series. Showcasing the extraordinary Langston Hughes, it's edited by two leading poetry experts and features gallery-quality art by Benny Andrews that adds rich dimension to the words. Hughes's magnificent, powerful words still resonate today, and the anthologized poems in this splendid volume include his best-loved works: “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”; “My People”; “Words Like Freedom”; “Harlem”; and “I, Too”--his sharp, pointed response to Walt Whitman's “I Hear America Singing.”

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
The concise biographical introduction to this handsome collection of poetry by Langston Hughes is the perfect gateway to the world of words built by the poet during his quest to capture the sounds, rhythms, songs, and experiences of "his people." Greatly influenced by Walt Whitman, Hughes produced an influential body of work that left its indelible mark on American literature and culture. The editors have given enough historical information and educated insight in their introductions to each individual poem to give the reader a better sense of interaction with the impressions Hughes was endeavoring to convey. The art work is just as vibrant and lyrical as Hughes' splendid language—the colors and images leap off the pages while portraying an exuberant poem, and then sink down with poems like "The Homesick Blues" and "Genius Child." One of my favorite spreads is of the poem "I, Too" with its joyous image demonstrating Hughes' pride in and attitude toward being African-American. The illustration for "Dreams" is simply perfect. The range and variety of the selections give a good overview of the scope of Hughes' talent with different types of poetry and information about his plays and musical productions. This title is an excellent addition to the "Poetry for Young People" series and will be welcomed by librarians, media specialists, teachers, students, and lovers of fabulous poetry showcased by fabulous art. 2006, Sterling Publishing Company, Ages all.
—Sheilah Egan
School Library Journal
Gr 4 Up-This charming collection of 26 poems is vibrantly illustrated with depictions of African Americans in varied settings. "Homesick Blues" shows a saxophone player conjuring up a locomotive at a railroad station. "Harlem" features a line of people waiting at a bus stop. A poignant rendering of a child watching from outside the fence surrounding a carousel accompanies "Merry-Go-Round." For "I, Too," a jubilant man leaps, arms and legs stretched out, and for "Dream Variations," a man is poised on tiptoe, arms outstretched with the word "DREAMS" dripping from his fingertips into a heap on the floor. A four-page introduction tells about Hughes's life, setting the context for the poems that follow. Each selection includes a brief introduction, many recounting Hughes's own thoughts about it, and footnotes explain dialect and historical terms such as Jim Crow. The paintings include folk-art and African influences and some minor surrealistic touches, with bright colors and exaggerated limbs on the human figures. This will be a welcome introduction to Hughes's poetry for elementary students, and it includes sufficient detail to make it useful and enjoyable for older students. With its vivid illustrations and wealth of information, Milton Meltzer's biography Langston Hughes (Millbrook, 1997) is a good companion volume.-Joyce Adams Burner, Hillcrest Library, Prairie Village, KS Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
"So long, / so far away / is Africa. / Not even memories alive / Save those that history books create, / Save those that songs / Beat back into the blood." Selected and annotated by two authorities on the poet, these 26 short poems capture both the innovative rhythms and pervasive themes in the work of the most widely read African-American poet of his day-if not ever. Andrews's art captures its tone just as perfectly; his angular, dark-skinned figures look down reflectively even when dancing, and seem solitary even when placed among crowds. Readers will come away with a clear sense of Hughes's influences ("I too sing America" is a direct response to a Walt Whitman lyric) and distinct voice-as well as a powerful urge to look up the three-times-longer collection Dream Keeper (1994 edition illustrated by Brian Pinkney). (introduction, index, glossaries for each poem) (Poetry. 9+)
From the Publisher
“Hughes' stirring poetry continues to have enormous appeal for young people. Andrews' beautiful collage-and-watercolor illustrations extend the rhythm, exuberance, and longing of the words.”--Booklist, starred review

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Product Details

Publication date:
Poetry for Young People Series
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 10.00(h) x (d)
Age Range:
8 Years

Meet the Author

Arnold Rampersad is the author of the widely acclaimed two-volume biography The Life of Langston Hughes as well as Days of Grace: A Memoir, co-authored with Arthur Ashe, and Jackie Robinson: A Biography. He has also edited several books, among them The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes (with David Roessel). He is professor of English and senior associate dean at Stanford University, an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the American Philosophical Society, and a recipient of a MacArthur Foundation fellowship.
David Roessel is the editor or co-editor of several books on American poetry and drama, including The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes (with Arnold Rampersad), and Poems/Hughes. He is also the author of In Byron's Shadow: Modern Greece in the English, and American Imagination, winner of the Modern Language Association Prize for Independent Scholars.
Benny Andrews' work is in the permanent collections of more than 30 major museums, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. A recipient of the Abby Award for lifetime achievement in the arts, Mr. Andrews was a member of the National Academy of Design and also served as director of the Visual Arts Program for the National Endowment for the Arts. He died in November, 2006.

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