Poetry Spotlight: Harlem

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Remembering Langston Hughes

Hello friends! Welcome to another edition of our poetry spotlight. Today we have a great poet–Langston Hughes! He was one of my favorites in high school, and he’s a favorite of my mother’s.

It’s important we showcase Black voices in art. They’re incredibly underrepresented. Now, I’d love to feature modern poets, but I have a healthy fear of copyright law and lawsuits, so I’m sticking with authors in the public domain. We can learn so much from the Black community through their art, and I plan on consuming more art from more diverse groups in general from now on. Enough about me, here’s the poem.

Here on the edge of hell
Stands Harlem—
Remembering the old lies, 
The old kicks in the back,
The old “Be patient”
They told us before.

Sure, we remember.
Now when the man at the corner store
Says sugar’s gone up another two cents,
And bread one,
And there’s a new tax on cigarettes—
We remember the job we never had,
Never could get,
And can’t have now
Because we’re colored.

So we stand here
On the edge of hell
in Harlem
And look out on the world
And wonder
What we’re gonna do
In the face of what
We remember.

Harlem, Langston Hughes

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One thought on “Poetry Spotlight: Harlem

  1. LOVE me some Langston Hughes!!! So much great stuff going on during the Harlem Renaissance! I need to find an online class to take!


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