"Harlem" (page 959)
According to this poem, is there an answer to the question asked in the first line: "What happens to a dream deferred?" Explain how the poem does or does not answer the question.
This poem was written in 1951, approximately twenty years after the end of the Harlem Renaissance. It is the only poem in this chapter on the Harlem Renaissance that was written years after its end. How is the content of the poem possibly related to Harlem and the Harlem Renaissance within a post-Renaissance perspective? Explain. "The Weary Blues" (pages 959-960)
LISTEN to the poem being read at this address: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zdmp5lnj2WQ . Listening to the audio is well worth the time. After listening to the spoken version, LISTEN to this version, which includes musical accompaniment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyqwvC5s4n8&feature=related . Who is the narrator of the poem? Is the narrator different from the piano player in the poem? Is there a difference in the style of the poem as it shifts between the voice of the narrator and the voice of the singer? Explain. Are there any clues within the poem about the life of the singer? Why might the singer have the blues? How do you interpret the last line of the poem? Why does Hughes, the poet, choose to use the word dead? "The Harlem Dancer" (pages 963-964)
This poem is an English (or Shakespearean) sonnet with three quatrains and an ending couplet. What "celebration" seems to be made in the three quatrains? How is this celebration deflated in the ending couplet? "From the preface to The Book of American Negro Poetry" (pages 964-966) According to Johnson, what are the contributions that can be made by Negro poets? Do you think that Johnson's statement "the richest contribution that the Negro poet can make to the American literature of the future will be fusion into it of his own individual artistic gifts" has been realized from 1921, the year the preface was written, to today? Why or...
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