Introduction to Poets: Langston Hughes

Dianne Lee will share her love of Langston Hughes at our Introduction to Poets on Monday 1 October from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Please join us at my home at 4514 Chouteau Avenue (63110).

Go here for more information on and poems by Hughes.


White Man

by Langston Hughes

Sure I know you!
You’re a White Man.
I’m a Negro.
You take all the best jobs
And leave us the garbage cans to empty
The halls to clean.
You have a good time in a big house at
Palm Beach
And rent us the back alleys
And the dirty slums.
You enjoy Rome —
And take Ethiopia.
White Man! White Man!
Let Louis Armstrong play it —
And you copyright it
And make the money.
You’re the smart guy, White Man!
You got everything!
But now,
I hear your name ain’t really White
I hear it’s something
Marx wrote down
Fifty years ago —
That rich people don’t like to read.
Is that true, White Man?
Is your name in a book
Called the Communist Manifesto?
Is your name spelled
Are you always a White Man?

Essayist and translator Eliot Weinberger had this to say way back in 1983: “A Collected Poems, if it ever comes, will prove that Hughes’ work has the urgency of the latest poem from Amiri Baraka, that his post-World War I writing was in the forefront of American modernism, and that his last major work, Montage of a Dream Deferred, deserves consideration along with the other multivoiced long poems of the American city: Williams’ Patterson, Tolson’s Harlem Gallery, Long’s Pittsburgh Memorandum, Sousandrade’s Wall Street Inferno, Crane’s The Bridge.” [from Weinberger, Works on Paper]

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