Black History Month – Literature – Derek Walcott and Langston Hughes
It would be a pleasure to study each of these men and their poetry for a year at least!
Derek Walcott with his amazing legacy of the St. Lucia island where he grew up, his dignity, insight, and keen intelligence.
Langston Hughes brings music, jazz, and the heat of the Harlem Renaissance to his work after living and moving around the south. Poetry, music, theater, books, Langston did it all.
I am so grateful for the internet. We can be lifelong students on anything that interests us in this day and age!!
My nephew is studying African American Literature this semester in school. I was very happy to learn about Omeros during his current project. I loved the Epic poems from Greece, and Homer in particular. How wonderful that Derek Walcott was inspired by them to write about the experience of the African hostages as they journeyed to the Caribbean as they became slaves. This amazing piece of literature was given the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992.
Omeros has some images that are difficult to bear. The story is dark and deep and told with many characters. Even so, the beauty as they come to St. Lucia is hopeful for the future as they start their new lives of adversity.
Here is a video of Derek Walcott speaking at a writer’s conference. We are fortunate that he is a living treasure in our society!
Langston Hughes passed away in NYC in 1967 at the age of 65. In the 1920’s he was one of the most active artists in the Harlem Renaissance. His occupation is listed on Wikipedia as: poet, columnist, dramatist, essayist, lyricist, novelist.
His father did not like his own people, and left Langston’s mother early in his life to live in Mexico. Langston said after staying with his father – “I had been thinking about my father and his strange dislike of his own people. I didn’t understand it, because I was a Negro, and I liked Negroes very much.”
Hughes made himself into a great artist and grew with his society through the 1920’s through his death in the 60’s.
Langston Hughes reading his poem – “I, too” on youtube.
Sally K Witt
Social Media and Ministry