Langston Hughes, born in 1902, came of age early in the 1920s. In The Big Sea he recounts those memorable years in the two great playgrounds of the decade—Harlem and Paris. In Paris he was a cook and waiter in nightclubs. He knew the musicians and dancers, the drunks and dope fiends. In Harlem he was a rising young poet—at the center of the Harlem Renaissance.
Arnold Rampersad writes in his incisive 1993 Introduction, "This is American writing at its best—simpler than Hemingway; as simple and direct as that of another Missouri-born writer . . . Mark Twain."
"Langston Hughes is the Jazz Poet! The constant communicator of Blues. He is the singer, philosopher, the folk and urban lyricist. This book is the chronicle of a bright and lively artistic ear that brought the African American people full into the twentieth century. It is a wonderful book!"—Amiri Baraka