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Okay, let’s talk about great. Really. - Barnstorming on an Invisible Segway [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Marissa Lingen

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Okay, let’s talk about great. Really. [Mar. 24th, 2016|06:42 am]
Marissa Lingen
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I put this on more ephemeral social media yesterday, but not everybody reads me there, and things are easy to miss. So.


Donald Trump’s campaign slogan always reminds me of the Langston Hughes poem https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let_America_be_America_Again. Somehow I don’t think that Hughes and Trump see eye to eye on this matter, but I keep getting Hughes in my head instead of Trump: “the land that never has been yet–and yet must be–”


And it got me thinking about how I keep saying positive, positive, positive. So okay. Time for a positive. It’s looking alarmingly like the Republican National Convention is either going to wind up with Trump as a nominee or a massive fight to keep him out, and the fallout around the whole thing is deeply alarming. And I think we’re all going to want something positive to talk about around then.


Something like the Collected Poems of Langston Hughes.


So at the beginning of July, I’m going to post a reminder that this is coming up. For those of you who are slower readers or have library systems with big backlogs, you can start now if you like. For me, I’ll pick up the book after Readercon. But the RNC is July 18-21, and I intend to spend at least some of the time during those days talking in various online forums about the Collected Poems of Langston Hughes. Anyone who wants to is welcome to join me, and spend some attention looking at a great American poet who had serious ideas about making America great again. For everybody.


(When I say “anyone”–you don’t have to be American to do this. Everyone’s politics and everyone’s art affects everyone else, and it’s not like the rest of you have been able to dodge Trump. At least we can share Langston Hughes with you too.)




Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: athenais
2016-03-24 03:12 pm (UTC)
I read it in your ephemeral social media, too, but had no leisure to respond. I'm in. I have never read Langston Hughes and it is time.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2016-03-24 03:13 pm (UTC)
Yay!
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[User Picture]From: landofnowhere
2016-03-24 03:14 pm (UTC)
That's an amazing poem. Thank you for sharing it.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2016-03-24 03:16 pm (UTC)
Glad to.
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[User Picture]From: pameladean
2016-03-24 04:49 pm (UTC)
This is a brilliant notion. I've read of Langston Hughes what a person studying English literature in the 1970's would have read, and I look forward to a better acquaintance. For poets not directly in my attention at the time, I tended to develop the unconscious idea that the selections we had were their entire oeuvre -- which most of the time would have been quite tragic, as if they were all as remote and tattered as what we have of Sappho. I've remedied this weirdness of the brain with a lot of poets, but not with Hughes.

P.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2016-03-24 08:50 pm (UTC)
It's impossible to remedy it with everyone--and of course you don't even want to with everyone, but even just the ones you like. You just have to grab an end and pull.
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[User Picture]From: tiger_spot
2016-03-24 05:03 pm (UTC)
Oh, what a good idea. I like that. I had not read the poem before, and i am glad I have now.

I wonder whether I will recognize other poems in the collected works? I often have a hard time keeping poems properly attached to their authors.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2016-03-24 08:49 pm (UTC)
This is a problem for short stories, too. With novels you are carrying around the thing with the author's name emblazoned upon it for as long as it takes to read it--which is true of poems and short stories, too, it's just that "as long as it takes" is much, much shorter.
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[User Picture]From: tiger_spot
2016-03-24 09:05 pm (UTC)
Yes, indeed. I have slightly better luck with short stories I have read from a single-author collection, because then I have some chance of associating them with each other and I've got the whole collection around for a more novelish length of time. But stories I read out of a magazine? May as well be labeled "anonymous" as often as not.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2016-03-24 09:06 pm (UTC)
As a short story writer, this makes me want to weep, but I acknowledge the reality of it.
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[User Picture]From: gwynnega
2016-03-24 06:22 pm (UTC)
This is excellent. I've read a Selected Poems of Langston Hughes, but it's been years.


Edited at 2016-03-24 06:23 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2016-03-24 08:49 pm (UTC)
Yay!
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From: sheff_dogs
2016-03-25 02:29 pm (UTC)
What a lovely idea. I'd never heard of Langston Hughes, not a poet taught in UK school English classes in the seventies so thank you for the introduction.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2016-03-25 02:30 pm (UTC)
So very glad to do it!
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[User Picture]From: tiger_spot
2016-07-05 03:50 pm (UTC)
I had put getting the book on my to-do list for the very beginning of this month, in case there was some delay at the library, and now I have it on my shelf here and have gone back to find this post to check when the discussion happens. I am looking forward to it!
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2016-07-11 05:15 pm (UTC)
I have requested it from the library also. It will be needed respite I think.
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