In the 1920s, Langston Hughes invented a new poetic form, the blues stanza, which enabled him to embody the continuing presence of the black countryside in the modern city. In his 1926 essay “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain,” Hughes asserted the importance of creating a distinctively black poetics out of working-class life. The blues—and the blues stanza—were a central part of that project. Both Hughes’s blues poems and the form itself continue to be hugely influential in contemporary African American poetry and poetics. This talk explores that long reach—through a discussion of Natasha Trethewey’s hybrid blues poems, recent critical writing by Rowan Ricardo Phillips and Kevin Young, and the Bop (a new poetic form invented by Afaa Michael Weaver to update Hughes’s blues stanza for the 21st century).