Thursday, April 28, 2011

National Poetry Month/Langston Hughes

I used a green pentel brush marker to write out the beginning of Langston Hughes' poem, "In Time of Silver Rain" because Alice Walker talks about the encouraging notes Langston Hughes wrote her in green ink.

Here are three excellent picture books by or about Langston Hughes.

Alice Walker's biography of Langston Hughes for children has extra meaning because she knew him and he was encouraging to her as a young writer. His life story is beautifully told through text and illustrations.

The next two are picture books of poems. Each is an example of the highest order of illustrations in its media—watercolor and photography.

Charles R. Smith Jr. has created such a complete experience with a short poem (33 words), elegant type, and eloquent photographs. I appreciate it for the poem and for the beauty of the book design—a perfect merging of type and illustration that enhances the meaning of the words.

E. B. Lewis's The watercolors are so fluid, so rich, and so deep. To me this book feels like a poem set to music.

Hear Langston Hughes reading A Negro Speaks of Rivers.

Watch a video of images set to Langston Hughes reading April Rain from Classical Baby. Both readings are from the Poetry Foundation.

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