Posts Tagged ‘but wait what is poetry’

Spoken Word Videos for next week

Monday, April 15th, 2013

1.  For Monday:

Go to Def Poetry on channel musikslove (81 videos) and watch the following:

  • Black Ice, “Imagine” #16
  • Gina Loring, “Somewhere There Is a Poem” #19
  • Sunni Patterson, “We Made It” #76
  • Suheir Hammad, “First Writing Since” #77

Go to urbanrenewalprogram (80 videos) and watch the following:

  • Linton Kwesi Johnson, “If I was a top notch poet”
  • Staceyann Chin, “If only out of vanity”
  • Jessica Care Moore, “I’m a hip-hop cheerleader”
  • Erykah Badu, “Friends, fan, and artists”
  • Danny Hoch, “Corner Talk, September”
  • Amiri Baraka, “Why is we Americans”
  • Beau Sia, “Give me a chance”
  • Taylor Mali, “What teachers make”

2. For Wednesday:

Videos are student choice.  In Comments on this post, provide the name of the artist, the name of the poem, and the link (paste it in and it will go live when you post the comment).   RULES:

  • The poem must be recorded in a performance, and should NOT be a video production.
  • Each student may post only one video, so choose wisely!  It is NOT mandatory that you choose a poem.

A Far Cry from Africa

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

As Julia’s earlier post touched on, Walcott seems to ground us as his audience most specifically in terms of location, often through his titles; however, in his piece “A Far Cry from Africa,” I found the notion of “Africa” to be much more abstracting than stabilizing. Rather than “Africa,” Walcott’s title maybe improved upon by being more specific to the REAL issue at hand: “A Far Cry from Africanness.” If this sounds silly and reductive, that’s because it is, linguistically. But on some level, isn’t this what Walcott is actually addressing in this piece?

In any case, it seemed awfully timely to focus on this piece right after the Multicultural Fair, because that is precisely what strikes me most about it– how poignantly and obviously MULTIcultural it is. The cultural awareness does not necessarily stem from racial differences, although that’s definitely a huge aspect of it– just the sheer number of times Walcott brings “whiteness” into the text stands out in itself. However, it is the idea of betrayal of one’s heritage rather than race that sticks out the most– “Where shall I turn, divided to the vein?” (27) This is reminiscent of some of the language Langston Hughes uses when he writes of his biracial background, and yet he has accepted and exemplified his own blackness in no uncertain terms. I think it is always difficult knowing “where to turn” in situations of multinational understanding of the self. Thoughts, yeses and nos?

Incidentally, did anyone notice that the first stanza of this piece has ten lines, the second has eleven, and the third has twelve? Weird… 🙂

Also, for your viewing/listening pleasure:

“Africa” by Toto, an 80s classic. I still can’t quite figure out what they’re talking about, though…

 

 

Walcott open thread

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

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Some random thoughts:

This volume is making me think about the significance of titles. How does it impact our reading of the poem if the author titles some of his poems (and numbers all)? I find myself feeling more comfortable (at least initially) with poems such as “In Amsterdam” or “In Italy.” But maybe that’s because I feel more grounded in place.

Also, The New York Times called “White Egrets” an “old man’s book” in this review. I can’t decide how much I agree with that assessment…

In researching Walcott, I came across this documentary: http://www.walcottfilm.com/
It’s not available yet (apparently it’s in the editing stage) but I’d be curious to see how the film deals with some of the sexual harassment accusations associated with Walcott. But anyways, if you’re feeling flush you can donate to them and get credited in the film. Nice.

Other reactions to Walcott?