Overview: The poetry of Langston Hughes is considered as a representation of the African-American experience. The distinctive concerns of Hughes's poetic project are juxtaposed with the works of other modernists, such as Pound, Eliot, Frost, and Stevens. Hughes's interest in and innovative use of musical forms, such as blues and jazz, is explored with particular attention to their role in African-American culture, as well as their use by Hughes to forge an alternative to dominant modes of expression within the modernist canon.
This course covers the body of modern poetry, its characteristic techniques, concerns, and major practitioners. The authors discussed range from Yeats, Eliot, and Pound, to Stevens, Moore, Bishop, and Frost with additional lectures on the poetry of World War One, Imagism, and the Harlem Renaissance. Diverse methods of literary criticism are employed, such as historical, biographical, and gender criticism.