I’ve known rivers:
I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the
flow of human blood in human veins.
My soul has grown deep like the rivers.
This is the first stanza of one of my favorite poems “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” by Langston Hughes (from The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, published by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.) written in the early 1920s.
Click here to read the full text of the poem and to hear Langston Hughes tell how he came to write “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” and read the poem itself. You can also read his entire bio here and learn how Missouri and Illinois were formative.
Click here to read the abstract of a scholarly essay by Meta DuEwa Jones on Langston Hughes titled “Listening to What the Ear Demands.” I just love the title. Writing for the ear as much as the mind is an important part of my voice as a writer.