Langston Hughes: Jazz Poetry

In addition to his strong views about religion and the overall status of the African population in America, Langston Hughes is well known for the use of musical devices in his poetry. He made his poems unique by using sound devices derived from jazz music (which originated during the Harlem Renaissance). Hughes did not invent jazz poetry, but instead was influenced by the works of poets such as Carl Sandburg. However, he did popularize and perfect the art. Hughes’ use of onomatopoeia in particular such as in his poem “Dream Boogie” creates a happy and enlightened mood that uplifted the African American population during the Harlem Renaissance. The Renaissance also allowed this population to establish a culture and identity for themselves that was independent of white or European influences. Above is a reading of Langston Hughes’s “Cultural Exchange” set to jazz music, as he had envisioned it to be performed.

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This entry was posted in American Literary Studies, Honors English III, Music and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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