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Search tags: Amiri-Baraka
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review 2018-10-22 17:05
Review: The 100 Best African American Poems- Edited by Nikki Giovanni

 

7960189

 
'The 100 Best African-American Poems' compiled by Nikki Giovanni is a very fine work, a kaleidoscope of images, emotions and observations of the Black Experience in America. It's an anthology of some of the works by various poets including titans like Amiri Baraka, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Sonia Sanchez, Langston Hughes and Giovanni herself.

 

Ego Tripping (there may be a Reason)

 

I was born in the congo
I walked to the fertile crescent and built
the sphinx
I designed a pyramid so tough that a star
that only glows every one hundred years falls
into the center giving divine perfect light
I am bad

 

I sat on the throne
drinking nectar with allah
I got hot and sent an ice age to europe
to cool my thirst
My oldest daughter is nefertiti
the tears from my birth pains
created the nile
I am a beautiful woman

 

I gazed on the forest and burned
out the sahara desert
with a packet of goat's meat
and a change of clothes
I crossed it in two hours
I am a gazelle so swift
so swift you can't catch me

 

For a birthday present when he was three
I gave my son hannibal an elephant
He gave me rome for mother's day
My strength flows ever on

 

My son noah built new/ark and
I stood proudly at the helm
as we sailed on a soft summer day
I turned myself into myself and was
jesus
men intone my loving name
All praises All praises
I am the one who would save

 

I sowed diamonds in my back yard
My bowels deliver uranium
the filings from my fingernails are
semi-precious jewels
On a trip north
I caught a cold and blew
My nose giving oil to the arab world
I am so hip even my errors are correct
I sailed west to reach east and had to round off
the earth as I went
The hair from my head thinned and gold was laid
across three continents

 

I am so perfect so divine so ethereal so surreal
I cannot be comprehended except by my permission

 

I mean...I...can fly
like a bird in the sky...

 

Such collections are always subjective- you'll always wonder why something was left out, and I noticed a couple of absences myself- but that's part of the fun, and I discovered a few gems I'd never seen before such as Old Lem, Mercy Killing, Freedom Candy and those Winter Sundays, as well as the immortal standards Harlem, Nikki-Rosa, Lift Every Voice and Sing and of course Giovanni's own magnum opus: Ego Tripping- There May Be A Reason Why, which I will always consider to be one of the finest examples of not only African-American but American culture ever created (see above). The cd is a treat- readings of about a third of the selections done by the authors themselves and notables like Ruby Dee and of course, Giovanni.

 

It's an excellent collection of poetry and very much a time travel device, taking you for a look back to those days when... though sometimes they don't seem all that distant. This would be a wonderful gift for anyone of any age or race but especially to African-Americans. Like singing in the cotton fields it's a chorus of bright, strong voices from our past to lighten the load a little and help guide the way as you ease on down the road.

 
5/5 Stars
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video 2014-01-10 02:16

I was going to roll up in here and complain some more about Shia La Beouf and what a plagiarizing asshat that guy is, but then I learned that Amiri Baraka died today, so I thought I'd post about Baraka instead. It seems fitting, in a way, to preempt the childish antics of a man so privileged he thinks it's legit to steal from others and then validate it retrospectively with some boner concept of performance art. Anyone telling you art has to be free is already getting paid. 

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