Kansas Expands Langston Hughes Celebration
A 100th birthday celebration of writer and poet Langston Hughes, who spent much of his childhood in Lawrence, will be expanded to six cities across the state. The University of Kansas is using a $6,600 grant from the Kansas Humanities Council to fund six “poetry circles” across the state. The circles dubbed “Reading and Remembering Langston Hughes” are part of the 100th birthday celebration planned for Hughes, who lived from 1903 to 1915 in Lawrence.
Lawrence is planning a major Hughes celebration, complete with performances, readings and discussions. A symposium on Hughes will take place in Lawrence Jan. 31 and Feb. 7-10, 2002. Presenters scheduled to appear include actor Danny Glover, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker and former U.S. poet laureate Robert Pinsky.
“We have the opportunity to help Kansas reclaim a native son, to get people together to discuss his works,” says John Edgar Tidwell, associate professor of English at Kansas. “We want to get the name of Langston Hughes and the work of Langston Hughes and the legacy of Langston Hughes filtered out to the whole state of Kansas.”
Participants in the discussion groups will read four books by Hughes: Not Without Laughter, a fictionalized account of his childhood in Lawrence; The Best of Simple, a series of character sketches in prose; The Big Sea, the first of his two autobiographies; and The Collected Poems.
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