Langston Hughes: A Poet’s Life

Chapter 7

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a painting of young Langston Hughes
Langston Hughes

Did Langston ever fall in love? It is hard to say. Many people who have read his books and poems say that he was gay. He wrote some love poems to a man. These poems were never put in books or magazines. He also wrote a story that may tell of his own life. It is the story of a father who is mad because his son is “queer” and acts like a girl. At that time, it was harder to be open about being gay. What would happen if Langston told people he was gay? Would people still pay him to write his poems? Would people still read his poems?

Langston may not have found love. But he won many prizes for his poems. He became a famous poet. He helped many young black writers. He helped them feel pride. He helped them not to worry about the racism of other people. He told them to hold on to their dreams. He wrote a poem about this called “Dreams.”

Hold fast to dreams

For if dreams die

Life is a broken-winged bird

That cannot fly.

– from “Dreams”

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BC Reads: Adult Literacy Fundamental English - Reader 2 Copyright © 2015 by Shantel Ivits is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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