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May 1, 2012

Dig and be dug in return

Now listen, I am not what you would call a poetry lover. In my world only two kinds of poetry exist -- remarkable poetry, which is so rare it's almost extinct, and the other crap. The other crap is all horrible poetry that makes me physically endanger myself with the dramatic amount of eye-rolling which accompanies each and every line.

So it's not often I get wrapped up in a poet, but it happens. It's happening now, and my current obsession is Langston Hughes. I woke up one morning about a week ago reciting the lines to my favorite Hughes poem, Motto, and since then I have been on a Langston Hughes binge, re-reading his work and all the biographical pieces I can get my hands on. He was a fascinating guy with some crazyass politics. I can appreciate that. You have to be a little insane to be able to zip words together so beautifully.

I wonder what ol' Langston would make of all the May Day protests and traffic snarls and malodorous anarchists who line the sidewalks downtown every May 1st?

He'd play it cool, that's my bet.


I play it cool
I dig all jive
That's the reason
I stay alive
My motto
As I live and learn
Is dig and be dug in return

The best place to start your own Langston obsession is with The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes. Once you dig in, I also highly recommend The Ways of White Folks: Stories. You can also pick up The Big Sea: An Autobiography (American Century Series), a fascinating look into his life and a must-read for writers.

Imagine the blog this guy would have had.

Posted by laurie at May 1, 2012 7:15 AM