The Langston Hughes Review

Due Date: 01-15-2020

The Langston Hughes Review is currently accepting essays on any aspect of Ntozake Shange’s art, life, and legacy for a special issue. “Along with Jayne Cortez, Toni Cade Bambara, and others,” writes Farah Jasmine Griffin, “Shange introduced black women into literature who were creative, multilingual, bohemian, literate, hip to avant-garde jazz and Latin music, and political. These were women whose work emerged from the encounter of the Black Arts Movement with feminism.” As such, Shange forged a complex feminism that embraced the contradictions of black life and de/constructed trauma, while using all of this to promote activism and happiness in her stories. As a poet, playwright, novelist, actor, and dancer, she was one of the most influential black feminists of her generation. For instance, in her book When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost, the hip-hop feminist Joan Morgan writes, “For my mother and black women like her, Shange’s play gave their experiences a legitimacy and a voice it would take me years to comprehend.” What is Shange’s legacy for contemporary black women artists and scholars? The editors seek contributions that broadly explore the following entrée points of engagement of Shange’s archive and repertoire:

  • How does dancing express black women’s agency in her writings? What is the significance of dance in Shange’s writings?
  • How have stage or film adaptations of Shange’s work reimagined or expanded our understanding of Shange as poet and playwright?
  • How do Beyoncé’s dancing, visual albums, videos, or film Lemonade elaborate on Shange’s premise in for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf?
  • How does queer theory illuminate the sexual politics in Shange’s writings or kinesthesia?
  • How do the works of critically acclaimed playwrights such as Suzan-Lori Parks, Lynn Nottage, and Dominique Morisseau build upon or contrast with Shange’s aesthetic and cultural politics?
  • How are Shange’s poetry, plays, novels, essays interconnected with the legacy of Langston Hughes?
  • In what ways are Shange’s writings shaped by her experiences in St. Louis during Jim Crow?
  • In her later years, Shange suffered strokes and other physical ailments that prevented her from writing for several years. How would methodologies in disabilities studies facilitate our understanding of how her mobility shifts in the twilight of her life impacted her writing and performance that reveal systemic ableism?

Essays should be 4,500–6,000 words, excluding endnotes and references. Please address questions to Tony Bolden, the editor The Langston Hughes Review ( Deadline: 15 January 2020. For more information, visit