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James Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri on February 1, 1902. Hughes started writing poetry in the eight grade. His father paid tuition for his son to attend Columbia University on the grounds he studied engineering. Hughes's father did not feel he could make a living at writing. Langston dropped out of the engineering program, but continued writing poetry. His first published poem was one of his most famous, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers", and appeared in Brownie's Book. Later, his poems, short plays, essays, and short stories appeared in many publications such as the NAACP Crisis Magazine, Opportunity Magazine and more. One of Hughes's favorite pastimes was sitting in clubs listening to blues, jazz, and writing poetry. Through these experiences a new rhythm emerged in his writing, and a series of poems such as "The Weary Blues" were penned. Langston Hughes was a prolific writer. In the forty-odd years between his first book in 1926 and his death in 1967, he devoted his life to writing and lecturing. He authored sixteen books of poems, two novels, three collections of short stories, four volumes of "editorial" and "documentary" fiction, twenty plays, children's poetry, musicals and operas, three autobiographies, a dozen radio and television scripts and dozens of magazine articles. In addition, he edited seven anthologies. Langston Hughes died of cancer on May 22, 1967. The New York City Preservation Commission has given his residence at 20 East 127th Street in Harlem, New York, landmark status. The block of East 127th Street was renamed "Langston Hughes Place". Information provided by shadowpoetry.com