"Blues is for singing," writes folk musicologist Paul Oliver, and "is not a form of folk song that stands up particularly well when written down." A poet who wants to write blues can attempt to avoid this problem by poeticizing the form – but literary blues tend to read like bad poetry rather than like refined folk song. For Oliver, the true spirit of the blues inevitably eludes the self-conscious imitator. However, Langston Hughes, the first writer to grapple with these difficulties of blue poetry, in fact succeeded in producing poems that capture the quality of genuine, performed blues while remaining effective as poems. In inventing blues poetry, Hughes solved two problems: first, how to write blues lyrics in such a way that they work on the printed page, and second, how to exploit the blues form poetically without losing all sense of authenticity. There are many styles of blues, but the distinction of importance to Hughes is between the genres referred to as "folk blues" and "classic blues." Folk blues and classic blues are distinguished from one another by differences in performers (local talents versus touring professionals), patronage (local community versus mass audience), creation (improvised versus composed), and transmission (oral versus written). It has been a commonplace among critics that Hughes adopted the classic blues as the primary model for his blues poetry, and that he writes his best blues poetry when he tries least to imitate the folk blues. In this view, Hughes' attempts to imitate the folk blues are too self-conscious, too determined to romanticize the African American experience, too intent on reproducing what he takes to be the quaint humor and naïve simplicity of the folk blues to be successful. But a more realistic view is that by conveying his perceptions as a folk artist ought to – through an accumulation of details over the span of his blues oeuvre, rather than by overloading each poem with quaintness and naïvety -Hughes made his most important contributions to the genre. His blues poems are in fact closer stylistically to the folk blues on which he modeled them than to the cultivated classic blues. Arnold Rampersad has observed that virtually all of the poems in the 1927 collection in which Hughes essentially originated blues poetry fall deliberatively within the "range of utterance" of common folk. This surely applies to "Young Gal's Blues," in which Hughes avoids the conventionally "poetic" language and images that the subjects of death and love sometimes elicit in his ordinary lyric poetry. To see what Hughes' blues poetry might have been like if he had truly adopted the classic blues as his model, one need only look to "Golden Brown Blues," a song lyric Hughes wrote for composer W.C. Handy. Its images, allusions, and diction are conspicuously remote from the common "range of utterance."