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Beale Street Love

Beale Street Love


by Langston Hughes

Beale Street Love Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

We spent hours digging, and we could not come up with a single rhyme. We mean it, we were out there all night, rooting through the poem with our picks and shovels, headlamps on, and no meter showed...


It's unclear exactly who the speaker is in this poem, but we do know that the sixth line is spoken by Clorinda. The speaker of the rest of the poem, however, remains a total mystery. We hear "a" an...


If you're hoping that Beale Street is a real place, you're in luck. As it turns out, it's in Memphis, Tennessee, and it's famous. Beale Street runs right through downtown, and it has the kind of hi...

Sound Check

This poem packs a punch with every line. From line 1, we're hit with blow after blow of stressed, or emphasized syllables: "Love." If any word packs a wallop, it's that one. Then we have many more...

Writing Style

The poem is descriptive and doesn’t have a determined speaker, which makes it lyric. The fact that it has a line of dialogue gives it a dramatic flair. However, since there’s only one line of...

What's Up With the Title?

In a poem with only seven lines, the title becomes all the more important. And if you're anything like Shmoop, when you first read the title "Beale Street Love", you were probably wondering where i...

Calling Card

While Hughes doesn't make a habit out of writing about fists, his poetry has a way of hitting his readers hard. He often wrote about being black, and he never sentimentalized the experience. He had...


While this poem may seem fairly short and straightforward, don't let down your guard. It may be short, but it's chock full of meaning, and unpacking it can take some doing.


In New York City, the street where Hughes used to live was renamed "Langston Hughes Place" in his honor. Some day, we're hoping for a Shmoop Street in Mountain View.The blues were born on Beale Str...

Steaminess Rating

For a poem about love, in a setting full of alcohol, it's a little surprising that we don't hear more about sex in this poem than we do. Instead, we hear about violence. Innocent eyes may not be ab...


Beale Street, Memphis, TN (title)"Jerusalem Delivered," by Torquato Tasso, 1581 (line 7)

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