Making Americans With Poetry

Langston Hughes (Photo/National Park Service)

The students had already chosen all of their other graduating class officers with relative ease, but the eighth graders slammed into an awkward silence when pressed to nominate a candidate for their last vote of the day: Class Poet.

Some may have been wondering how the older students they were copying at the high-school decided. Some may have wondered about a common stereotype their teacher reminded them of that said people with darker skin had a naturally better sense of rhythm.

Finally, one broke the silence, stood up shyly and nominated the only dark boy in class. The vote was unanimous: Langston Hughes became a poet.

American Poetry as World Literature

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