Langston Hughes was only twenty-four when he published his debut collection of poetry, The Weary Blues. The poems included here blend vernacular speech and musical rhythms to offer a bracing perspective on the African American experience. Traversing a wide range of settings—including the jazz clubs of Harlem, expansive natural landscapes, and seaside taverns—Hughes’s voice as a poet ties these various places together. The collection’s themes are equally wide-ranging: Hughes explores the depth of the soul in “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” the pain of endurance in “Mother to Son,” and death in the title poem’s haunting requiem for a weary blues singer. Taken together, these poems offer a singular expression of joy, pride, and anguish from one of the leading voices of the Harlem Renaissance.
Revised edition: Previously published as The Weary Blues, this edition of The Weary Blues (AmazonClassics Edition) includes editorial revisions.