For over 40 years, until his death in 1967, Langston Hughes captured in his poetry the lives of black people in the USA. Selected Poems is made up of Hughes' own choice of his poetry, published first in 1959. It includes all of Hughes' best known poems including 'The Negro Speaks of Rivers', 'The Weary Blues', 'Song for Billie Holiday', 'Black Maria', 'Magnolia Flowers', 'Lunch in a Jim Crow Car' and 'Montage of a Dream Deferred'. With the advantage of hindsight, it is now easy to see that - for his poems, his jazz lyrics, and his prose - Langston Hughes was one of the great artists of the 20th century.
Langston Hughes was born in 1902. His first poem in a nationally known magazine was 'The Negro Speaks of Rivers' which appeared in Crisis in 1921. In 1925, Hughes was awarded the first Prize for Poetry by Opportunity magazines for his poem 'The Weary Blue' which gave its title to his first book of poems, published in 1926. He wrote poetry, short stories, song lyrics, essays, humour and plays, and an autobiography, The Big Sea.