Langston Hughes first published “The Weary Blues” in 1925 in a magazine called Opportunity. This poem went on in the following year to become the title work in Hughes’s first collection, titled The Weary Blues. With The Weary Blues, Hughes didn’t just debut as a poet; he also launched his career as a leading figure of the Harlem Renaissance. Poems like “The Weary Blues” help show why he achieved such an important status. This poem centers on a Black speaker who is recalling the transformative experience he had listening to a blues musician the previous night at a local jazz club. In recounting his experience, the speaker describes the sound of the music. However, he pays special attention to the musician and his embodiment of the music—that is, how his body swayed and how his fingers graced the piano as he “played that sad raggy tune” (line 13). Hughes’s poem likewise embodies the rhythms of the blues, particularly in its shifting, syncopated meter. But even more than mimicking the feel of the music, Hughes explores the paradoxical beauty of a musical tradition so steeped in the painful history of a formerly enslaved people.