Poems (Lh3): 1951-1967

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Volume 3 collects the poems of the last period of Hughes's life. Montage of a Dream Deferred (1951) brilliantly fused the modernist dissonances of bebop jazz with his perception of Harlem life as both a triumph of hope and a deepening crisis ("What happens to a dream deferred?"). In the tumultuous following years, he refused to relinquish the mantle of the poet, as may be seen in his inspired last two books of verse, Ask Your Mama (1961) and The Panther and the Lash (1967). The former demonstrates Hughes's continuing alertness to the significance of black music as a guide to American reality; here, avant-garde jazz rhythms and allusions fueled an intensity of language that predicted the cultural upheavals of the sixties and seventies. Hughes's last volume, combining old and new poems, emphasized the struggle for civil rights in the face of reactionary defiance, on the one hand, and the volatility of Black Power, on the other. Vigorous and versatile to the end, Hughes concluded his career as he had begun it: a master poet dedicated to observing and celebrating African American culture in its full complexity.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The joy in Hughes's poems is his enviable ability to re-create the innate rhythms and spark of a people, a neighborhood, a city, a country. . . . This is the author as loquacious, unleashed social commentator who . . . holds up a mirror and shows us the world."—Boston Globe
Boston Globe
The joy in Hughes's poems is his enviable ability to re-create the innate rhythms and spark of a people, a neighborhood, a city, a country. . . . This is the author as loquacious, unleashed social commentator who . . . holds up a mirror and shows us the world.
Library Journal
This momentous work (which will total 16 volumes in all) is intended to cover the wide scope of Hughes's career, including all of his plays, essays, short stories, novels, and other writing. Each volume reproduces a detailed chronology and is edited and introduced by an expert in the particular genre. The first three volumes cover Hughes's poetry and are edited by Rampersad, who also edited the Complete Poems of Langston Hughes (LJ 11/1/94) and wrote the two-volume The Life of Langston Hughes (LJ 8/86, LJ 9/15/88). The introduction to Volume 3 provides an outline of Hughes as a poet but focuses on the later works collected in the volume. This new collection reproduces the published and unpublished version of each poem, whereas the Complete Poems reproduced only a poem's last version. The fourth volume, edited by Hubbard (English and language arts, Morgan State Univ.; The Sermon and the African American Literary Imagination), contains Hughes's two novels. In his introduction, Hubbard provides a summary of the works, places them in the context of Hughes's career, and delineates their similar themes. This complete collection is essential for academic libraries that have large modern literature programs or focus on the Harlem Renaissance. For other libraries, this set may be an important tool to fill in collection gaps, but duplication may not be necessary. [Volumes 1 and 2, released in May, covered poetry published between 1921 and 1941 and 1921 and 1950, respectively. Ed.] Paolina Taglienti, Long Island Univ., Brooklyn, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826213419
  • Publisher: University of Missouri Press
  • Publication date: 6/18/2001
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

About the Editor

Arnold Rampersad is Professor of English at Stanford University in California. He is the author, coauthor, or editor of numerous publications, including The Life of Langston Hughes, Jackie Robinson: A Biography, and, with Arthur Ashe, Days of Grace: A Memoir.

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Table of Contents

A Note on the Text 13
Montage of a Dream Deferred (1951) 15
Ask Your Mama (1961) 79
The Panther and the Lash (1967) 127
Uncollected Poems, 1951-1960 189
Uncollected Poems, 1961-1967 243
Appendix Poems Circulated by the Associated Negro Press 263
Index of First Lines 301
Index of Titles 305
Cumulative Index of First Lines 309
Cumulative Index of Titles 320
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