Over the winter break, I picked up a dusty book from my bookshelf that contained poems from American poets. I was a try hard when it came to trying to like poetry.

But, I just couldn’t find poetry that made my heart leap, and my soul weep.

Then, Langston Hughes with his jazz poetry came along. Call me a fish, but I was hooked. *ba-dum-tshh*

I used to regard poems as confusing and downright alien. But, I couldn’t be more wrong. Poems are open to interpretation, and some are full of riddles. But, the most unique poems possess an unspoken communication that strikes the mind.

I highly recommend reading some of Hughes poetry because of both the vibrancy of his style and the truth in his words. I enjoyed how his poems have a light rhythm, but a heavy undertone to address rather impassioned subject matters. Here are a few lines from some of my favorite poems of his:

“So since I’m still here livin’,
I guess I will live on.”

“Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.”

“My old man died in a fine big house.
My ma died in a shack.
I wonder where I’m gonna die,
Being neither white nor black?”

“I wonder what makes
A funeral so high?
A poor man ain’t got
No business to die.”

Langston Hughes was both an important writer and thinker during the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s, which celebrated black culture and life. It was an African American artistic movement that helped shape both American politics and literature. Hughes used his voice to speak out about what mattered. And although it’s been a long time since he’s passed, his words still ring true today regarding the racial tensions and inequalities in America, especially targeting African Americans.