Langston Hughes is the greatest poet of the Harlem Renaissance. His poems, especially "Dreams" and "Harlem," are often anthologized in high school literature textbooks.
At the time Hughes was writing, Jazz music was exploding out of New York City, and "The Weary Blues" is an excellent example of Jazz poetry. (Follow the link below to watch a video of Hughes reciting the poem with accompaniment from a Jazz ensemble.) Hughes believed that Jazz was an expression of black culture and that it was essentially at odds with the world of white America. He wrote,
“But jazz to me is one of the inherent expressions of Negro life in America; the eternal tom-tom beating in the Negro soul—the tom-tom of revolt against weariness in a white world, a world of subway trains, and work, work, work; the tom-tom of joy and laughter, and pain swallowed in a smile.”
In "The Weary Blues" Hughes uses the rhythm and language of the African-American, including the
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