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kerry got langston all along

Kerry speaks on the poetic-phrase-a-versy.

Now, Kerry himself weighs in on the matter in his introduction to 'Let America Be America Again,' a slim, elegant collection of nine Hughes poems rushed into print this month by Vintage Books.

As befitting a man who declared in his acceptance speech that some things just aren't all that simple, Kerry sees complexities in the book's title poem. 'While it is the litany of the great promise of opportunity that has drawn so many of the world's disaffected to our shores,' he writes, 'the poem is also a call to make that promise real for all Americans -- especially for the descendents of slaves.'

Lapsing into Kerryspeak, the senator goes on to recount that he was 'not unmindful of this duality of meanings' when his campaign adopted Hughes's phrase. Although Kerry appears to have abandoned that phrase for the time being, his DNC speech's pessimistic-optimistic refrain did have a certain Hughes-esque double edge: 'America can do better.'


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