Oh that Langston Hughes. The first poem I ever read of his was “Let America be America Again,” and I have used it as a gauge to check my own privilege when I become complacent.
So I was excited that when I called for favorite poems on April 1st, The Salsa Poet was quick to take to Twitter and suggest a Langston Hughes piece!
She recommended “College Formal: Renaissance Casino.” It was new to me, and I now love this little gem by the master of Harlem Renaissance poetry. Please read it by clicking on the title. It’ll only take a moment.
I can see how this poem influenced her own poetry and movement. The Salsa Poet is a vivacious woman I met in the Los Angeles writing scene, currently rocking Chicago with her lyrical charm. There is a love of movement, of dancing, of lyricism, and of love itself in the tightly bound poetry of “College Formal” that flourishes in her.
And as promised, a photo poem a day. Today’s is “Dancing Honeysuckle.” I dare you to write your own piece today, incorporating the words “dancing” and “honeysuckle” into your poem. Bonus props if you manage to include “salsa” or “renaissance.”
So many more to share in the month of April, and so much more to write to try to keep up on a poem a day.
Here I sit in South Africa, writing about a poet in Chicago, influenced by a poet from Harlem, broadcasting to you (wherever in this world you are) a photo of dancing honeysuckle and a dancing poem, and we all take a moment to think about them, together.
5 thoughts on “Langston Hughes and The Salsa Poet…”
Oh Wendy, I absolutely love your poem. I did even before I looked up the meanings of Montuno and Cuerpo.
I am not poetry minded but I was encouraged by you and Marla to give it some effort. At least this came to mind.
“Dancing Honeysuckle” arouses my senses past and present.
My mind’s eye sees the pink honeysuckle in our front yard long ago.
The dancers gracefully perform a salsa as its music rings in my ears.
Monday was “Salsa Night” on Dancing With The Stars, so it is fresh in my memory.
Oh, the smell! The lovely smell then from the pink honeysuckle long ago,
And now! Even now there is the same lovely smell.
It’s wafting from a scented candle in my kitchen.
OK, Jeff, your turn.
Thanks, Ginny – I enjoyed yours as well! I have always loved the scent of honeysuckle
Nice, Weendie! veery, veery nice indeed!
Also, really cool pic Marla!
Marla thank you for including my poem suggestion in your blog and for the beautiful things you said about my poetry! It was for an assignment to imitate a poet that I chose Langston Hughes and wrote my first Salsa poem. I am a big fan of your blog and especially your life in pictures in South Africa! You always look effervescently happy!
My life is a constant renaissance.
Like salsa dancing through honeysuckle,
A whirling, tangled heady frolic of tired limbs and thirsty soul.
I search for the Montuno
In a tranquil field or undisturbed lake
Where I might bridge my weariness from constant Cuerpo,
The Mambo never begins.
I return to the next improvisation
Urging me into the next thicket of scent and motion.
It feels a little forced and unauthentic because I have only Salsa danced once, but the challenge was too great to resist.
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