“What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up Like a raisin in the sun?… Or does it explode?” – Langston Hughes
Today, a friend and I were having a conversation about poetry. My new desktop wallpaper is a lovely image of the Yorkshire countryside and it brought to mind the Robert Frost poem “Mending Fences.” From here, we progressed into a discussion about our favorite poets. One of mine… is Langston Hughes.
When I was in 7th grade, my older brother bought me a book for Christmas. At the time, I wasn’t the bookworm I am today and my reading repertoire consisted of The Babysitters Club and the Sweet Valley High series. When I opened the gift, I was first surprised. It was a hard cover edition of The Langston Hughes Reader. I had never read anything by Hughes, nor was I even that familiar with him. Through the next few weeks, I began sampling the poetry and short stories… and later the novels and songs. This compilation of his greatest works is a brilliant introduction into the life of Langston Hughes. My immediate favorite was, and remains, “Theme For English B.” I remembering copying this and a few other favorites into my poetry book and later went on to use this for a presentation in college. Just last month, my book club friend, Stacie, thoughtfully mailed bookmarks to everyone with one of their favorite authors on it. It impressed me, because it was ages ago that I mentioned this favorite book of mine, and she remembered. To top it off, on the heading, there is a quote from “Theme For English B.”
I wonder, still, how my brother was able to select this book. How, after wandering through shelves at the books store, did he finally come out with this gift? To select a book, with a subject I had shown no earlier interest in, that would come to be one of my most beloved…. was impressive.