Langston Hughes and the Blues

Author: Steven C. Tracy
Exploring a defining relationship in the great poet’s works
Paper – $30
eBook – $19.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 05/07/2024
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About the Book

The shades and structures of the blues had an immense impact on the poetry of Langston Hughes. Steven C. Tracy provides a cultural context for Hughes’s work while revealing how Hughes mined Black oral and literary traditions to create his poetry. Comparing Hughes’s poems to blues texts, Tracy reveals how Hughes’s experimental forms reflect the poetics, structures, rhythms, and musical techniques of the music. Tracy also offers a discography of recordings by the artists--Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and others--who most influenced the poet.

About the Author

Steven C. Tracy is Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is the author of Hot Music, Ragmentation, and the Bluing of American Literature and editor of Black Writers of the Chicago Renaissance.


“A close and unsentimental look at this rich and enduring form and a deep and continuing questioning of its possibilities for more formal expression.”--John McCluskey Jr., American Literature


“Steven Tracy knows very well both the blues and Langston Hughes’s poetry. His study leaves us with a far better understanding of the role of Black music, and the blues in particular, as the central influence on the most original of Black American poets.”--Arnold Rampersad, author of The Life of Langston Hughes

“Classic.”--Tony Bolden, author of Groove Theory: The Blues Foundation of Funk