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Tag Archives: Langston Hughes

Public Art Inspired By Anisfield-Wolf Canon Makes A Splash Across Cleveland

Riders heading to downtown Cleveland on the RTA’s Red Line may have noticed quite a few more pops of color adorning the city landscape over the past two weeks. The colors have a story, and each story comes from a work or writer in the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award canon.Inter|Urban, the collaboration among the City of Cleveland, the Cleveland Foundation, North East Ohio Area Coordinating Agency, RTA and LAND studio, has filled the 19-mile stretch from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and into downtown Cleveland with bright, vibrant murals. Coming up in time for the Republican National Convention in July will be two photo installations. All the art is inspired by Anisfield-Wolf texts and writers.Seventeen artists from around the world converged on Cleveland in June for a public... Read More →

Cleveland-Area Students Get A Dose Of Anisfield-Wolf Poetry, Craft Their Own Verses (Listen In!)

Students from two Cleveland-area schools and one community center gathered for a poetry slam this April.National Poetry Month, celebrated every April for the past 20 years, became a little less abstract for Cleveland students this spring. This year the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards embedded local graduate students in two Cleveland-area elementary schools and a community center for an eight-week poetry residency.  Ryan Lind, Ali McClain, Karly Milvet, and Amanda Stovicek -- all students in the NEOMFA creative writing consortium -- drew inspiration from the Anisfield-Wolf canon in crafting their lessons, sampling Toni Morrison, Lucille Clifton and Langston Hughes, as well as recent winners Adrian Matejka and Jericho Brown. Stovicek taught fourth and fifth-graders at Urban Community School... Read More →

Professor Michelle Martin Offers “African American Children’s Literature as a Genre of Resistance”

Michelle Martin, Augusta Baker Chair in Childhood Literacy at University of South Carolina Almost a year before Matt de la Pena won the latest Newbery Medal—the highest honor in children’s literature—he told National Public Radio that his picture book about a young boy riding a bus with his grandmother wasn’t a story about diversity.  “That’s very important to me,” de la Pena told NPR. “I don’t think every book has to be about the Underground Railroad for it to be an African-American title.” This observation from the author of “Last Stop on Market Street” drew an emphatic Amen from Professor Michelle H. Martin, the Augusta Baker Chair in Childhood Literacy at the University of South Carolina. “I find it encouraging that this award winner tells a quiet story... Read More →

[Must Read] Jericho Brown On Langston Hughes’ Poem “Suicide’s Note”

When Jericho Brown won his Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, he spoke of his awe of Langston Hughes, calling his discovery of Hughes’ poems in a Louisiana public library the equivalent of falling in love. He also reminded the audience at Playhouse Square that Hughes was still a teenager, newly graduated from Central High School in Cleveland in 1920, when he wrote The Negro Speaks of Rivers. “Every time I think of an 18-year-old writing a poem that great,” Brown deadpanned, “I really hate Langston Hughes.” Now Brown has returned to this “first poet” in his pantheon, publishing an evocative, moving post “To Be Asked for A Kiss” on the Poetry Foundation web site. Suicide’s Note          by Langston Hughes The calm,Cool face of the riverAsked me for a kiss... Read More →

EVENT: “Cleveland In Print” Examines Northeast Ohio Through Toni Morrison, Langston Hughes And Harvey Pekar

  Come learn more about the Cleveland that helped shape Langston Hughes, Toni Morrison, and Harvey Pekar. Teaching Cleveland has teamed up with Literary Cleveland and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards to present "Cleveland in Print: The History and Literature of Northeast Ohio" on Thursday, January 28. The story of Cleveland in the 20th Century is one of immigrants and migrants, racial tensions, and economic stratification. Join us as we examine three works by these three Northeast Ohio writers and explore the interplay between person, place and perspective; bring a notebook or a laptop and explore your own connections as well. A light dinner will be served, and participants will receive a book, compliments of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards. "Here is a unique opportunity to reflect... Read More →

New Nina Simone Documentary Introduces You To The Artist You Thought You Knew

"I'll tell you what freedom is to me—no fear," Nina Simone wistfully told an interviewer in 1968. "If I could have that half of my life..." This search for freedom haunts each beat of "What Happened, Miss Simone," the new Netflix-commissioned documentary on the award-winning singer, pianist and activist. The film, book-ended by Simone singing her classic "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free," traces her journey from a piano prodigy in small town North Carolina to an international force of blues and soul. "What Happened, Miss Simone" reaches viewers months before the highly controversial "Nina" biopic—in which Afro-Latina actress Zoe Saldana dons facial prosthetics to more closely resemble Simone. Simone's only child, Broadway actress Lisa Simone Kelly, prefers the documentary... Read More →

VIDEO: Arnold Rampersad On The Selected Letters Of Langston Hughes

Longtime biographer Arnold Rampersad said his new volume, The Selected Letters of Langston Hughes, reveals a "deeper, more complicated" man than the public has ever known. Sitting comfortably on stage at the Schomburg Center for Research and Black Culture, co-editors Rampersad and David Roessel, professor at Richard Stockton College in New Jersey, spoke on the complexities of the man called the voice of "Negro America."  Rampersad, who has twice been honored with an Anisfield-Wolf award for his work on Langston Hughes, said that the writer's calling came to him early in life. "He was going to take on one of the most extraordinary challenges that anyone could take on—that is to be an African-American in the 1920s and decide, 'I want to be a writer. And oh, by the way, I want to write... Read More →

Langston Hughes’ Boyhood Home Undergoes Complete Renovation In Cleveland

Courtesy of Sherry M. Callahan/Howard Hanna. The wood-frame Cleveland house where Langston Hughes once scribbled teenaged insights is back from the brink. Four years ago its back door flapped open and its copper fixtures had been pilfered by thieves, leaving ugly holes in the walls. Today, it is renovated, and ready for its new owner, an aspiring writer from Lyndhurst. Perhaps the 3-bedroom home’s proximity to long-ago greatness will bring him luck. Langston Hughes was just 15 in 1917 when he rented the attic room on E. 86th St. His mother and stepfather had moved away, and Langston was doing well at Cleveland’s prestigious Central High School. He had started to write poems. “The only thing I knew how to cook myself in the kitchen of the house where I roomed was rice, which I... Read More →

Huffington Post Reveals 50 Books Every African American Should Read – How Many AW Winners Made The List?

Gwendolyn BrooksHuffington Post's Black Voices rounded up 50 books the editors think every African American should read (they added on Twitter that of course the list has value to everyone, but these books focus primarily on the black experience in America). We were thrilled to see how many Anisfield-Wolf winners were on the list, proving to us once again that our winners stand out in the crowded literary field.  Gwendolyn Brooks "Annie Allen" (1949) Edwidge Danticat "Breath, Eyes, Memory" (1999) Chimamanda Adichie "Half Of A Yellow Sun" (2008) Ralph Ellison "Invisible Man" (1952) Edward P. Jones "The Known World" (2003)  Alex Haley "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" (1987) Toni Morrison "Song of Solomon" (1977), "Sula" (1973) and "The Bluest Eye" (1970) Langston... Read More →

88 Books That Shaped America (According To The Library Of Congress)

No, it's not a "best books of all-time" list, but the list assembled by the Library of Congress, to celebrate the works that most define our nation's history, is pretty close. There's some stand-outs, like Thomas Paine's Common Sense and Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat. But the list particularly caught our eye because there are several Anisfield-Wolf winners on the list—and we're thrilled. Check out who made the cut. Descriptions are pulled from the Library of Congress website:  Langston Hughes, "The Weary Blues" (1925) Langston Hughes was one of the greatest poets of the Harlem Renaissance, a literary and intellectual flowering that fostered a new black cultural identity in the 1920s and 1930s. His poem "The Weary Blues," also the title of this poetry collection, won first prize in a... Read More →
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