Friday, February 05, 2016

Music, Memory, and Black Bodies: Kevin Young’s Brilliant Variations on the Blues



“Blues are not poetry,” Langston Hughes wrote in 1927, ventriloquizing his critics among journalists of the time. He meant, it seems, the opposite, and he wasted no time straightening the record. “Those who have made a more thorough study of Negro folk verse than I and who are authorities in this field” — he’s referring, for one, to James Weldon Johnson — “say that many Blues are excellent poetry.”
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