The Weary Blues

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A celebration of music from beginning to end, The Weary Blues is the debut poetry collection by the foremost Harlem Renaissance poet, Langston Hughes.

Droning a drowsy syncopated tune, / Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon, / I heard a Negro play. / Down on Lenox Avenue the other night / By the pale dull pallor of an old gas light / He did a lazy sway. . .

With these first lines, Hughes invites the reader into an experimental playground that tells the story of a Black man's life in America. Featuring poems such as, "Dream Variations," "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," and "Our Land," Hughes weaves in and out of verse, highlighting the lows of struggle in the face of segregation and racism, but also the highs of creation from the time when, "the Negroes were in vogue."

Now considered to be an American classic, The Weary Blues embodies the feel of the rhythm, improvisation, and soul of Black classical music, pioneered the genre of "jazz poetry," and left an irreplaceable mark in the African-American literary canon.

Professionally typeset with a beautifully designed cover, this edition of The Weary Blues is a sensational reimagining of a Harlem Renaissance staple for the modern reader.

About the Author

Best known for his vivid and astute portrayals of Black life across the written page, Langston Hughes--born James Mercer Langston Hughes--(1901 - 1967) was a poet, playwright, writer and key figure of the Harlem Renaissance who founded jazz poetry. Raised mostly by his grandmother, Hughes was instilled with a lasting sense of racial pride and a love of books from a young age and though not supported by his father in his pursuit of writing, Hughes would attend Columbia with his father's aid in 1921, before leaving the very next year due to racial prejudice and a desire to focus on his poetry. Hughes first introduced his voice to the world in a 1921 issue of The Crisis where he published, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers." The poem would come to be known as his signature piece and five years later was included in his debut poetry collection, The Weary Blues. Establishing himself as a key player of the Harlem Renaissance, Hughes would be one of a small group of Black intellectuals and artists of the movement who called themselves the Niggerati. Going on to write their manifesto, "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain," Hughes' use of the literary medium differed heavily from the artistic aspirations of the Black middle class in that he desired to focus on highlighting the lives of working-class Black people and addressing divisions and prejudices that existed within the Black community itself. In a career spanning over four decades, Hughes would publish an award-winning novel (Not Without Laughter), multiple plays--some in collaboration with Zora Neale Hurston--(Mule Bone and Black Nativity), children's literature (Popo and Fifina) and even an autobiography (The Big Sea); among others in a large volume of work. In his personal life, Hughes maintained lifetime friendships with members of the movement and also is believed to have had private romantic and sexual relationships with men. While Hughes' emphasis on racial pride had begun to fall out of favor with new and coming movements of the younger generation, his contributions to the African-American literary canon and American literature at all could not be denied and as such at the time of his death was--and continues to be--one of the most talented and respected voices of a generation.

Publisher: Mint Editions
Pub date: August 16, 2022
110 pages
Format: Paperback