DON'T YOU TURN BACK by Langston Hughes


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Perhaps the greatest tribute to Langston Hughes is not the publication of this book, although it is a fine collection, but the fact that so many of the poems will he familiar from other anthologies (at least three have given titles to books: I Am the Darker Brother; Hold Fast to Dreams; Black Like Me). Loosely grouped by theme (Negro-ness, hopes, the sea), the poems come from several periods of his life although there is nothing representing the querulous confusion of his last years: e.g. ""The Negro Speaks of Rivers,"" ""The Dream Keeper,"" ""Daybreak in Alabama"" and ""Snail"" are here but ""Ballad of the Landlord"" and ""Black Panther"" are not. However, this does include some lesser known hymnlike poems and a few in dialect, such as the conversational ""Baby"": ""Albert!/ Hey, Albert!/ Don't you play in dat road./ You see dem trucks/ A goin' by./ One run ovah you/ An' you die./ Albert, don't you play in dat road;"" Ann Grifalconi's woodcuts, in handsome brick red and black, convey both sense and essence. Don't You Turn Back--look ahead.

Pub Date: Nov. 17th, 1969
Publisher: Knopf