Langston Hughes Reads Three Poems

langstonhughes

Renaissance man Langston Hughes reads three of his poems–

The Negro Speaks of Rivers

Ballad of the Gypsy

Mulatto

Also, read one of our favorite Hughes poems, “I, Too, Sing America” (a response, we believe, to Walt Whitman’s “I Hear America Singing” (Elizabeth Alexander’s inauguration poem, “Praise Song for the Day” seems to respond to both of these poems))–

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

Tomorrow,
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”
Then.

Besides,
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed–

I, too, am America.

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