Episode 23

Langston Hughes, "Johannesburg Mines"


May 21st, 2021

19 mins 29 secs

Season 2

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About this Episode

In this episode, we discuss social poetics, the poetry of witness, and the way poets can speak of the failure of language and the need for silence in the face of trauma. "The worst is not, so long as we can say, 'This is the worst.'"

For the text of Langston Hughes's poem "Johannesburg Mines," see here.

For more on Langston Hughes, see the Poetry Foundation.

For more on social poetics, see Mark Nowak's book by that name.

For more on the poetry of witness, see Sandra Beasley's essay "Flint and Tinder."

For Anna Akhmatova's "Instead of a Preface" in her great work Requiem as an alternative approach, see here.

Thanks to Harold Ober Associates, Inc., for granting us permission to read this poem on our podcast.

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