Monday, November 16, 2009

The return of Langston Hughes's foreclosed home

It’s not a hangover if you’re still drunk.

Welcome to the belated melange.

Philip Roth, Malcolm Gladwell and Bill Simmons all have new books. But what am I most excited about? Stephen King.

Under the Dome has received some enthusiastic reviews, and I’ve had a soft spot for the guy ever since I stole a copy of his autobiography/advice manual, On Writing, from the hotel where I was honeymooning. (King’s advice to young writers: write a lot and expect rejection.)

I’m procuring a copy of “Dome” as soon as I finish “Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip-Hop.”

A nonprofit community development group bought one of Langston Hughes’s old Cleveland homes. As you may recall, the bank had foreclosed on it earlier this year.

The development group, The Fairfax Renaissance Development Corp., might renovate the house for sale or possibly set up a Langston Hughes Museum if another nonprofit organization is willing to buy or rent the house.

Jay Garner, the group’s community development director, said, “Langston Hughes represented a big part of the cultural heritage of this city.”

I’m not sure if I buy that. Langston Hughes is, was, will always be the man. But I couldn’t tell you what his cultural impact on Cleveland — specifically, Cleveland — was. He was vital part of the Harlem Renaissance. He published his Simple columns in the Chicago Defender. But what pieces of art did Cleveland drive him to write?

Finally, for something completely different, McSweeney’s presents The Police Blotter Shakespeare.

-Jason Lea,

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