Id like us to consider the power of polemicalart. Polemic simply means any writing or speech that tackles a political

Id like us to consider the power of polemical
art.
(Polemic simply means any writing or speech that tackles a political or social controversy.)
Below, youll find some poems by Langston Hughes, one of the greatest American poets of the 20th century.
Give them a read, paying attention to their polemical nature.
THEME FOR ENGLISH B
By Langston Hughes
The instructor said,
Go home and write
a page tonight.
And let that page come out of you—
Then, it will be true.
I wonder if its that simple?
I am twenty-two, colored, born in Winston-Salem.
I went to school there, then Durham, then here
to this college on the hill above Harlem.
I am the only colored student in my class.
The steps from the hill lead down into Harlem
through a park, then I cross St. Nicholas,
Eighth Avenue, Seventh, and I come to the Y,
the Harlem Branch Y, where I take the elevator
up to my room, sit down, and write this page:
Its not easy to know what is true for you or me
at twenty-two, my age. But I guess Im what
I feel and see and hear, Harlem, I hear you:
hear you, hear me—we two—you, me, talk on this page.
(I hear New York too.) Me—who?
Well, I like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love.
I like to work, read, learn, and understand life.
I like a pipe for a Christmas present,
or records—Bessie, bop, or Bach.
I guess being colored doesnt make me NOT like
the same things other folks like who are other races.
So will my page be colored that I write?
Being me, it will not be white.
But it will be
a part of you, instructor.
You are white—
yet a part of me, as I am a part of you.
Thats American.
Sometimes perhaps you dont want to be a part of me.
Nor do I often want to be a part of you.
But we are, thats true!
As I learn from you,
I guess you learn from me—
although youre older—and white—
and somewhat more free.
This is my page for English B.
1951
I, Too, Sing America by Langston Hughes
I, too, sing America.
I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.
Tomorrow,
Ill be at the table
When company comes.
Nobodyll dare
Say to me,
Eat in the kitchen,
Then.
Besides,
Theyll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed–
I, too, am America.
A Dream Deferred
by Langston Hughes
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
For Prompt 9, Id like you to consider a political or social issue that truly matters to you, one that you feel truly needs to be addressed.
Now, turn that issue into your own art.
Write a poem or a Spoken Word piece that addresses an issue im

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