Now a quarter century old, the Langston Hughes Community Poetry Reading features Providence reading the work of the celebrated Harlem Renaissance poet, perhaps best known for his work in the 1920s (though he remained active through the 1960s). Critics in his lifetime had little interest in him—James Baldwin couldn’t stand him—but Hughes was wildly popular with the ordinary city dwellers he wrote about, becoming the first Black American to earn a living solely through writing and speaking engagements. This year’s Honorary Poet is Emily Ruth Hazel, and the poems will be accompanied by local steel drummer Becky Bass and Friends. This is also the final event in Funda Fest, a two-week celebration organized by Rhode Island Black Storytellers.
For more about Hughes, read his bio at the Poetry Foundation and check out the recent digital short released by PBS as part of its American Experience series on McCarthyism. The Poetry Foundation also has quite a few of his poems and essays, including The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain.
Providence Career and Technical Academy