Langston Hughes was born in 1902.
Langston Hughes was one of the chief voices of the Harlem Renaissance and a noted poet and author. Hughes' poems gave voice to an entire generation of African Americans and their experiences, feelings, thoughts, and dreams.
Provide students with a copy of Hughes' poem "Dreams." Each stanza of the poem is one sentence, and each sentence contains a metaphor for a dream. Tell students that a metaphor compares two objects or ideas that are not generally associated with one another. Have them identify the metaphor in each sentence, and then ask them to think about what Hughes was trying to convey about dreams by using these metaphors. What kind of dream would a "broken-winged bird" represent? How about a "field frozen in snow"?
Brainstorm with the class some other metaphors for dreams that Hughes might have considered for his poem. Conversely, have the class brainstorm metaphors for dreams that people may have that they hope will come true. Working in groups, students can then compose poems using metaphors for dreams coming to fruition.
From the Modern American Poetry website, this collection of materials includes biographical information and literary criticism on the poet's works.
Part of The Library of Congress website, this section features photos and biographical information about Hughes and his work.
This webpage from the Academy of American Poets provides information about the life of Hughes and offers a collection of 13 of his poems. Links to other poet pages are also provided.
This site offers a biography of Hughes and some examples of criticism of his work, along with links to many of his poems and articles both by and about him. There are also some audio recordings of his work.