by Louise Robertson


Today’s writing form is the Question poem. There are many examples of poems that imply questions and answer them: Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, all of Robert Frost’s poems (e.g., Mending Wall, The Road Not Taken).

But question poems overtly ask the question. They can be silly or not. Either way, it’s a great vehicle for setting up a topic and talking about that topic.

You know what’s coming as the example of a question poem? I hope you do, because it’s one of the most famous poems by one of America’s master poets, Langston Hughes.

Dream Deferred

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?


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