Langston Hughes was a poet, playwright, novelist, anthologist, and newspaper columnist, as well as being the first African American successful in making a career solely as a writer. More than any other American writer, Hughes brought African-American culture and traditions into American literature. His incorporation of African-American music, particularly blues and jazz, into his early poetry was radical and groundbreaking, and Hughes continued to mine music for inspiration as his career progressed, resulting in some of his most impressive poetic work in his volumes Montage of a Dream Deferred (1951) and Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz (1961). Most of Hughes's writing—prose, verse, or drama—is also distinguished by its rendering of the rhythms, inflections, and slang of African-American speech. These artistic qualities are a natural outgrowth of Hughes's devotion to the black masses that were both subject and audience for much of his work.Less
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