"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
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.
About the Author
Evelyn Louise Crawford and MaryLouise Patterson(a San Francisco art consultant and a Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at Cornell) are the daughters of some of Langston Hughes's closest black friends and political comrades. They remained cherished friends and confidantes of his for over forty years. Their parents, Louise Thompson Patterson (1901 1999), William L. Patterson (1891 1980), Matt N. Crawford (1903 1996), and Evelyn Graces Crawford (1899 1972), were black Communist civil rights activists. Langston Hughes often stayed with them, and they all traveled together, corresponded about key issues of the day, and took a joint trip to the Soviet Union. Langston Hughes wrote poems to celebrate both girls' births.
Arnold Rampersad (Ph.D. Harvard) is the Sara Hart Kimball Professor in the Humanities, Emeritus, at Stanford University. He is co-editor (with Deborah E. McDowell) of Slavery and the Literary Imagination, and editor of the definitive Collected Poems of Langston Hughes. He is the author of the two-volume biography The Life of Langston Hughes, Jackie Robinson: A Biography, and co-author (with Arthur Ashe) of Days of Grace: A Memoir. He is also editor of The Harlem Renaissance.