I Moved To Oaxaca

Friday, December 05, 2003

The December issue of Harpers magazine has a bit on Langston Hughes and the House Un-American Activities Committee. The issue just came out, so all the content isn't yet online, but it's worth checking back for, or even going out and buying the issue.

When I was in fifth grade, Mr. Beatty had us all do a report on a American author, picked from a list. Or it might have been Mr. Wassen in the sixth grade; I don't remember. My best friend and I sat in the corner diametrically opposite Mr. Beatty, so we picked last, and the pickings seemed slim. I chose T.S. Elliott and Pam took Langston Hughes. I thought I'd struck gold with a guy who wrote a book all about cats, but it didn't take me long to realize Pam was the one who lucked out. I had to force myself to read even the one book, and a couple of his poems I found in the dreaded Alhambra Public Library. I mostly remember thinking I didn't like the person of Mr. Elliott, much less his poetry. And I don't remember any of the bits of Hughes I read over my friend's shoulder, but I have a warm feeling when I think of him. I never went back and read any of his work, though. Maybe it's time.


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