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review 2017-06-28 21:31
Review: The Sobbing School
The Sobbing School (National Poetry Series) - Joshua M. Bennett,Eugene Gloria

Joshua Bennett is a very intelligent and witty poet. His observations and metaphors are arresting and spot on. His perspective and the subject of many of these poems make him extremely relevant. I recognize the intelligence of these poems.

But these are the kind of poems that make you say, “Hmmmm.” These are poems that send you to Google to conduct research that somehow spirals out of control. These are not bad things, but I personally prefer poems that make me look inside myself, poems that make me ask the deeper questions than any search engine can provide answers to.

Once or twice I was moved while reading The Sobbing School, but mostly I thought, “nice play on words/ideas/etc.” My reaction reminds me of my views on hip-hop, which is relevant as several of the poems in this collection deal with hip-hop culture. I've heard it said that some of the greatest lyricist in hip-hop are those that have the cleverest and most inventive lyrics. MF Doom is one rapper that is often mentioned as one of the greats. Doom is clever, but he has nothing to say. His style is cartoonish and follows no logic. Now, I'm not trying to draw a direct parallel between Bennett and MF Doom, because, frankly, Bennett is clearly reaching for a space in between, where wit and relevance meet. Unfortunately, my mind was so tied up with the logic that I was not in the page emotionally. For better or worse, feeling is what I am looking for in hip-hop and in poetry.

Favorite poem in this collection: “Anthropophobia.” That's one I felt.

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quote 2016-04-27 23:00
B - Sarah Kay,Sophia Janowitz
The Type - Sarah Kay
No Matter the Wreckage by Kay, Sarah (2014) Paperback - Sarah Kay
She’s gonna learn that this life will hit you, hard, in the face, wait for you to get back up so it can kick you in the stomach. But getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air. There is hurt, here, that cannot be fixed by band-aids or poetry, so the first time she realizes that Wonder-woman isn’t coming, I’ll make sure she knows she doesn’t have to wear the cape all by herself. Because no matter how wide you stretch your fingers, your hands will always be too small to catch all the pain you want to heal. Believe me, I’ve tried.

This is part of a poem by Sarah Kay. I saw her perform it on TED below. She also did this one. I loved her performances and wanted to share part of her magic for National Poetry Month. I've attached her books to this post as well, but the full text of the poem this except comes from, B (If I should have a daughter), can be found here. But it's so much better to watch her perform it. 


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url 2015-10-08 23:34
Out of the Shadows #NationalPoetryDay



Out of the shadows and into the light
With secrets and lies,
Conspiracies and spies.


The government plays deadly games.
The people pay for their childish mistakes.
As the soldiers take their aims,
The players raise the stakes.


Who will win?
The cheaters of course.
The story will spin
And the guilty will feel no remorse.


This is how the game is played.
It’s a tough world out there
With the cards undisplayed.




*Written when I was 16/17 c. 2003 about the ‘war on terror’ in Iraq.


Image: GabrielSaldana/Flickr

Source: literaryames.wordpress.com/2015/10/08/out-of-the-shadows-nationalpoetryday
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url 2015-10-08 23:03
O Life, Simple Life #NationalPoetryDay



O life, simple life!
When does it end, if ever?
The corruption
The dishonour
And the squalor.


The inequalities:
The rich and the poor
The dominant and the subdued
The minority over the majority
The unfairness
The injustice
When does it end, if ever?


Will it end in death, sweet death!
Or will death lead to another hell like this one?
Will there ever be peace and an end to all suffering?
Or will that be when we exist no more?
We are self-destructive after all


Is our passion to blame?
Our innate anger
It gives us life … emotion.
Without emotion, we are drones with no purpose
But what sort of life do we live, in a place so negative and without compassion?


How do we survive?
By succumbing?
Or do we fight?
Do we choose or are we chosen?


So will it end in Armageddon?
Will there be peace in the end?
Or can we redeem ourselves?
But will it be too late?



*Written when I was 16/17 c. 2003.

Image: Zoriah/Flickr

Source: literaryames.wordpress.com/2015/10/08/o-life-simple-life-nationalpoetryday
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text 2015-04-13 04:44
April is #NationalPoetryMonth!

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