Jazz and Blues in Afro American Poetry

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Subject Code- 11EL/PC/AL14 Roll No.- 13/PELA/027 Submitted to- Ms. Ajie George Date of submission- 3/10/2013 Influence of the Jazz and Blues in Langston Hughes’ Poetry. James Mercer Langston Hughes, an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright and columnist is one of the earliest innovators of the then new literary form of jazz poetry. Regarded among the most significant and prolific American writers of the twentieth century, Hughes was a pre-eminent figure of the Harlem renaissance and with Claude Mckay and Jean Toomer, was one of the principal shapers of that movement. Hughes in his poem used innovative techniques that looked not to the white culture for inspiration, but to the rhythms of African American jazz. Because of his determination to write about the authentic experience of Black America, Hughes was criticized by some of his contemporaries for what they perceived as negative portrayals of African Americans as well as for dealing with subjects that some reviewers considered not fitting for literature. Hughes spent much of his career writing about the experience of the blacks in the United States, exploring issues of race and racism in his poetry, fiction, non-fiction and plays. He questioned the subconciousness of “white is best” proudly said “I am a negro- and beautiful” (Gates, Mckay 1271). Langston Hughes in his essay The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain says “Most of my own poems are racial in theme and treatment derived from the life I know. In many of them I try to grasp and hold some of the meanings and rhythms of jazz”(Gates, Mckay 1270). In this essay of his he also mentions his answer on being asked why he goes on making so many jazz poems. He says “But jazz to me is one of the inherent expressions of Negro

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