Dream deferred was originally written as Harlem. Later Langston Hughes decided that Dream deferred was a better title. This poem ask questions. This is poetry at it’s finest, where the reader wants to answer these questions but fails – because no one knows.
About the poet
Langston Hughes was born in Joplin (Missouri, US) on February 1 1902. He was one of the leading figures of the Harlem Renaissance, a cultural revival that marked the 1920s in Harlem (New York City).
Hughes fought for the emancipation of Afro-Americans. He wrote against discrimination and racism. But he was also the founding father of Jazz poetry. Poetry with a Jazz-like rythm.
During his life, Hughes was awarded with various honors and awards, including a honorary doctorate at the Howard University and an award given by the National Institute of Arts and Letters.
Hughes died at the age of only 65, due to complications after surgery. He was in hospital to fight prostate cancer.
About the poem
Harlem or Dream deferred asks questions. The writer asks questions about dreams. Where do dreams go to when they are postponed? Six questions, no answers. To ridicule it, the writer asks if they would maybe explode. Clearly a metaphor to someones well being, when faced with disappointment.
A wonderful poem, that is for sure! Written by a talented poet, who nowadays is still an inspiration for many other poets.
Dream deferredBy Langston HughesWhat 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?