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National Poetry Month 2012 


Emily Dickinson

  • BIRTH DATE: December 101830
  • DEATH DATE: May 15, 1886
  • EDUCATION: Amherst Academy, Mount Holyoke Female Seminary


"Dwell in possibility."

– Emily Dickinson




 EMILY DICKINSON was born in Amherst at the Homestead on December 10, 1830. Her quiet life was infused with a creative energy that produced almost 1800 poems and a profusion of vibrant letters.

Her lively Childhood and Youth were filled with schooling, reading, explorations of nature, religious activities, significant friendships, and several key encounters with poetry. Her most intense Writing Years consumed the decade of her late 20s and early 30s; during that time she composed almost 1100 poems. She made few attempts to publish her work, choosing instead to share them privately with family and friends. In her Later Years Dickinson increasingly withdrew from public life. Her garden, her family (especially her brother’s family at The Evergreens) and close friends, and health concerns occupied her.

With a few exceptions, her poetry remained virtually unpublished until after she died on May 15, 1886. After her death, her poems and life story were brought to the attention of the wider world through the competing efforts of family members and intimates.

  " Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without the words, and never stops at all "EMILY DICKINSON, "Hope is the thing with feathers"

Hope is the thing with feathers (254) 
by Emily Dickinson
Hope is the thing with feathers   That perches in the soul,   And sings the tune without the words,   And never stops at all,       And sweetest in the gale is heard;           And sore must be the storm   That could abash the little bird   That kept so many warm.       I've heard it in the chillest land,   And on the strangest sea;          Yet, never, in extremity,   It asked a crumb of me.

Lucille Clifton


'Poetry is a matter of life, not just a matter of language.''

Lucille Clifton (b. 1936), U.S. poet. As quoted in Listen to Their Voices, ch. 9, by Mickey Pearlman (1993



Lucille Clifton

Lucille Clifton

A prolific and widely respected poet, Lucille Clifton's work emphasizes endurance and strength through adversity, focusing particularly on African-American experience and family life. Awarding the prestigious Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize to Clifton in 2007, the judges remarked that “One always feels the looming humaneness around Lucille Clifton’s poems—it is a moral quality that some poets have and some don’t.” In addition to the Ruth Lilly prize, Clifton was the first author to have two books of poetry chosen as finalists for the Pulitzer Prize, Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir, 1969-1980 (1987) and Next: New Poems (1987). Her collection Two-Headed Woman(1980) was also a Pulitzer nominee and won the Juniper Prize from the University of Massachusetts. She served as the state of Maryland's poet laureate from 1974 until 1985, and won the prestigious National Book Award for Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems, 1988-2000 (2000). In addition to her numerous poetry collections, she has written many children's books. Clifton is a Distinguished Professor of Humanities at St. Mary's College of Maryland and a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Clifton is noted for saying much with few words. In a Christian Century review of Clifton's work, Peggy Rosenthal commented, "The first thing that strikes us about Lucille Clifton's poetry is what is missing: capitalization, punctuation, long and plentiful lines. We see a poetry so pared down that its spaces take on substance, become a shaping presence as much as the words themselves" In an American Poetry Reviewarticle about Clifton's work, Robin Becker commented on Clifton's lean style: "Clifton's poetics of understatement—no capitalization, few strong stresses per line, many poems totaling fewer than twenty lines, the sharp rhetorical question—includes the essential only." 

Clifton's first volume of poetry, Good Times (1969), was cited by the New York Timesas one of the ten best books of the year. The poems, inspired by Clifton’s family of six young children, show the beginnings of Clifton’s spare, unadorned style and center around the facts of African-American urban life. Clifton's second volume of poetry,Good News about the Earth: New Poems (1972), was written in the midst of the political and social upheavals of the late 1960s and 70s, and its poems reflect those changes, including a middle sequence that pays homage to black political leaders. Writing in Poetry, Ralph J. Mills, Jr., said that Clifton's poetic scope transcends the black experience "to embrace the entire world, human and non-human, in the deep affirmation she makes in the teeth of negative evidence." However, An Ordinary Woman (1974), Clifton's third collection of poems, largely abandoned the examination of racial issues that had marked her previous books, looking instead at the writer's roles as woman and poet. Helen Vendler declared in the New York Times Book Review that Clifton "recalls for us those bare places we have all waited as 'ordinary women,' with no choices but yes or no, no art, no grace, no words, no reprieve."Generations: A Memoir (1976) is an "eloquent eulogy of [Clifton's] parents," Reynolds Price wrote in the New York Times Book Review, adding that, "as with most elegists, her purpose is perpetuation and celebration, not judgment…There is no sustained chronological narrative. Instead, clusters of brief anecdotes gather round two poles, the deaths of father and mother." The book was later collected in Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir: 1969-1980, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize along with Next: New Poems (1987).

The book that followed Clifton’s dual Pulitzer nomination, Quilting: Poems 1987-1990(1991)also won widespread critical acclaim Using a quilt as a poetic metaphor for life, each poem is a story, bound together through history and figuratively sewn with the thread of experience. Each section of the book is divided by a conventional quilt design name—"Eight-pointed Star" and "Tree of Life"—which provides a framework for Clifton’s poetic quilt. Clifton's main focus is on women's history; however, according to Robert Mitchell in American Book Review, her poetry has a far broader range: "Her heroes include nameless slaves buried on old plantations, Hector Peterson (the first child killed in the Soweto riot), Fannie Lou Hamer (founder of the Mississippi Peace and Freedom Party), Nelson and Winnie Mandela, W. E. B. DuBois, Huey P. Newton, and many other people who gave their lives to [free] black people from slavery and prejudice." 

Enthusiasts of Quilting included critic Bruce Bennett in the New York Times Book Review, who praised Clifton as a "passionate, mercurial writer, by turns angry, prophetic, compassionate, shrewd, sensuous, vulnerable and funny....The movement and effect of the whole book communicate the sense of a journey through which the poet achieves an understanding of something new." Clifton's 1993 poetry collection,The Book of Light, contains poems on subjects ranging from bigotry and intolerance, epitomized by a poem about controversial U.S. Senator Jesse Helms; destruction, including a poem about the tragic bombing by police of a MOVE compound in Philadelphia in 1985; religion, characterized by a sequence of poems featuring a dialogue between God and the devil; and mythology, rendered by poems about figures such as Atlas and Superman. "If this poet's art has deepened since ... Good Times, it's in an increased capacity for quiet delicacy and fresh generalization," remarked Poetrycontributor Calvin Bedient, declaring that when Clifton writes without "anger and sentimentality, she writes at her remarkable best." Lockett concluded that the collection is "a gift of joy, a truly illuminated manuscript by a writer whose powers have been visited by grace." 

Both The Terrible Stories (1996) and Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems, 1988-2000 (2000) shed light upon women's survival skills in the face of ill health, family upheaval, and historic tragedy. Blessing the Boats is a compilation of four Clifton books, plus new poems, which, Becker noted in her review for American Poetry Review, "shows readers how the poet's themes and formal structures develop over time." Among the pieces collected in these volumes are several about the author's breast cancer, but she also deals with juvenile violence, child abuse, biblical characters, dreams, the legacy of slavery, and a shaman-like empathy with animals as varied as foxes, squirrels, and crabs. She also speaks in a number of voices, as noted by Becker, including "angel, Eve, Lazarus, Leda, Lot's Wife, Lucifer, among others ... as she probes the narratives that undergird western civilization and forges new ones." 

Publishers Weekly reviewer concluded that the collection "distills a distinctive American voice, one that pulls no punches in taking on the best and worst of life." The volume was awarded the National Book Award. Renee Olson reported on the award forBooklist that "Clifton was cited for evoking 'the struggle, beauty, and passion of one woman's life with such clarity and power that her vision becomes representative, communal, and unforgettable.'" In Mercy (2004), Clifton's twelfth book of poetry, the poet writes about the relationship between mothers and daughters, terrorism, prejudice, and personal faith. Clifton’s next book, Voices (2008), includes short verses personifying objects, as well as poems on more familiar terrain. Reviewing the book for the Baltimore Sun, Diane Scharper commented on the impetus of Clifton’s title: “Each section explores the ways the poet relates to voices: from those spoken by inanimate objects to those remembered to those "overheard" in the titles of pictures. Serving as a medium, the poet speaks not only for those things that have no voice, but also for the feelings associated with them.”

Lucille Clifton is also a highly-regarded author for children. Her books for children are designed to help them understand their world and facilitate an understanding of black heritage specifically, which in turn fosters an important link with the past. In books likeAll Us Come Cross the Water (1973), Clifton creates the context to raise awareness of African-American history and heritage. Her most famous creation, though, is Everett Anderson, an African-American boy living in a big city. Clifton went on to publish eight Everett Anderson titles, including Everett Anderson’s Goodbye (1984), which won the Coretta Scott King Award. Connecting Clifton’s work as a children’s author to her poetry, Jocelyn K. Moody in the Oxford Companion to African American Literaturewrote: “Like her poetry, Clifton's short fiction extols the human capacity for love, rejuvenation, and transcendence over weakness and malevolence even as it exposes the myth of the American dream.”

Speaking to Michael S. Glaser during an interview for the Antioch Review, Clifton reflected that she continues to write, because "writing is a way of continuing to hope ... perhaps for me it is a way of remembering I am not alone." How would Clifton like to be remembered? "I would like to be seen as a woman whose roots go back to Africa, who tried to honor being human. My inclination is to try to help."http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/lucille-clifton


good times

my daddy has paid the rent
and the insurance man is gone
and the lights is back on
and my uncle brud has hit
for one dollar straight
and they is good times
good times
good times

my mama has made bread
and grampaw has come
and everybody is drunk
and dancing in the kitchen
and singing in the kitchen
of these is good times
good times
good times

oh children think about the
good times

Lucille Clifton



Shel Silverstein

 “...I am writing these poems from inside a lion...”  Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein
Enlarge Picture

A truly unique and multi-faceted artist, Shel Silverstein was a renowned poet, playwright, illustrator, screenwriter, and songwriter. Best known for his immensely popular children’s books including The Giving Tree, Falling Up, and A Light in the Attic, Silverstein has delighted tens of millions of readers around the world, becoming one of the most popular and best-loved children's authors of all time. 

Born in Chicago on September 25, 1930, Sheldon Allan Silverstein grew up to attain an enormous public following, but always preferred to say little about himself. “When I was a kid,” he told Publishers Weekly in 1975, “I would much rather have been a good baseball player or a hit with the girls. But I couldn’t play ball. I couldn’t dance. So I started to draw and to write. I was lucky that I didn’t have anyone to copy, be impressed by. I had developed my own style.” 

Silverstein drew his first cartoons for the adult readers of Pacific Stars and Stripes when he was a G.I. in Japan and Korea in the 1950’s. He also learned to play the guitar and to write songs, a talent that would later produce such hits as “A Boy Named Sue” for Johnny Cash and “The Cover of the Rolling Stone” for Dr. Hook. 

Shel Silverstein never planned on writing for children – surprising for an artist whose children’s works would soon become available in more than 30 languages around the world. In the early 1960’s Tomi Ungerer, a friend whose own career in children’s books was blossoming, introduced Silverstein to his editor, Harper Collins’ legendary Ursula Nordstrom. That connection led to the publication of The Giving Tree in 1964. The book sold modestly at first, but soon the gentle parable about a boy and the tree that loved him was admired by readers of all ages, recommended by counselors and teachers, and being read aloud from pulpits. Decades after its initial publication, with more than five and a half million copies sold, The Giving Tree holds a permanent spot atop lists of perennial bestsellers. 

Where the Sidewalk Ends, Shel Silverstein’s first collection of poems, was published in 1974 and was hailed as an instant classic. Its poems and drawings were applauded for their zany wit, irreverent wisdom, and tender heart. Two more collections followed: A Light in the Attic in 1981, and Falling Up in 1996. Both books dominated bestseller lists for months, with A Light in the Attic shattering all previous records for its 182-week stay on the New York Times list. His poetry books are widely used in schools as a child’s first introduction to poetry. 

Silverstein enjoyed a long, successful career as a songwriter with credits that included the popular “Unicorn Song” for the Irish Rovers and “I’m Checking Out” written for the film Postcards from the Edge and nominated for an Academy Award in 1991. In 1984, Silverstein won a Grammy Award for Best Children’s Album for Where the Sidewalk Ends – “recited, sung and shouted” by the author. He performed his own songs on a number of albums and wrote others for friends, including 1998’s Old Dogs with country stars Waylon Jennings, Mel Tillis, Bobby Bare, and Jerry Reed; and his last children’s recording Underwater Land with singer/songwriter and longtime friend Pat Dailey. 

Shel Silverstein loved to spend time in Greenwich Village, Key West, Martha’s Vineyard, and Sausalito, California. Up until his death in May 1999, he continued to create plays, songs, poems, stories, and drawings, and most importantly, in Shel’s own words, “have a good time.” 

Those good times show in the charm and humor of Underwater Land. Its seventeen tracks are a perfect blend of Silverstein’s irreverent wit and Dailey’s inviting vocal style. Produced by Silverstein, and featuring his whimsical artwork, the CD is now available from Olympia Records. 





 “If you are a dreamer come in 

If you are a dreamer a wisher a liar 

A hoper a pray-er a magic-bean-buyer 


If youre a pretender com sit by my fire 

For we have some flax golden tales to spin 
Come in! 
Come in!” Shel Silverstein


Gwendolyn Brooks 


  • ''It is brave to be involved, 
    To be not fearful to be unresolved.''
    Gwendolyn Brooks (b. 1917), U.S. poet. "Do not be afraid of no." 

  • NAME: Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks
  • BIRTH DATE: June 071917
  • DEATH DATE: December 032000
  • EDUCATION: Wilson Junior College
  • PLACE OF BIRTH: Topeka, Kansas
  • PLACE OF DEATH: Chicago, Illinois
  • Gwendolyn Brooks, the first African American poet to win a Pulitzer Prize, is known for her vivid depictions of urban life. 
  • http://www.poemhunter.com/gwendolyn-brooks/biography/ 
  • Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks was an African-American poet. She was appointed Poet Laureate of Illinois in 1968 and Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1985. 


    Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks was born on June 7, 1917, in Topeka, Kansas, the first child of David Anderson Brooks and Keziah Wims. Her mother was a former school teacher who had chosen that field because she could not afford to attend medical school. (Family lore held that her paternal grandfather had escaped slavery to join Union forces during the American Civil War.) When Brooks was six weeks old, her family moved to Chicago, Illinois during the Great Migration; from then on, Chicago was her hometown. She went by the nickname "Gwendie" among her close friends. 
    Her home life was stable and loving, although she encountered racial prejudice in her neighborhood and in schools. She attended Hyde Park High School, the leading white high school in the city, before transferring to the all-black Wendell Phillips. Brooks eventually attended an integrated school, Englewood High School. In 1936 she graduated from Wilson Junior College. These four schools gave her a perspective on racial dynamics in the city that continued to influence her work. 


    Brooks published her first poem in a children's magazine at the age of thirteen. By the time she was sixteen, she had compiled a portfolio of around 75 published poems. At seventeen, she started submitting her work to "Lights and Shadows", the poetry column of the Chicago Defender, an African-American newspaper. Her poems, many published while she attended Wilson Junior College, ranged in style from traditional ballads and sonnets to poems using blues rhythms in free verse. Her characters were often drawn from the poor of the inner city. After failing to obtain a position with the Chicago Defender, Brooks took a series of secretarial jobs. 
    By 1941, Brooks was taking part in poetry workshops. A particularly influential one was organized by Inez Cunningham Stark, an affluent white woman with a strong literary background. The group dynamic of Stark's workshop, all of whose participants were African American, energized Brooks. Her poetry began to be taken seriously. In 1943 she received an award for poetry from the Midwestern Writers' Conference. 
    Brooks' first book of poetry, A Street in Bronzeville (1945), published by Harper and Row, earned instant critical acclaim. She received her first Guggenheim Fellowship and was included as one of the “Ten Young Women of the Year” in Mademoiselle magazine. With her second book of poetry, Annie Allen (1950), she became the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry; she also was awarded Poetry magazine’s Eunice Tietjens Prize. 
    After President John F. Kennedy invited Brooks to read at a Library of Congress poetry festival in 1962, she began a second career teaching creative writing. She taught at Columbia College Chicago, Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago State University, Elmhurst College, Columbia University, Clay College of New York, and the University of Wisconsin–Madison. In 1967 she attended a writers’ conference at Fisk University where, she said, she rediscovered her blackness. This rediscovery is reflected in her work In The Mecca (1968), a long poem about a mother searching for her lost child in a Chicago apartment building. In The Mecca was nominated for the National Book Award for poetry. 
    On May 1, 1996 Brooks returned to her birthplace of Topeka, Kansas. She was invited as the keynote speaker for the Third Annual Kaw Valley Girl Scout Council's "Women of Distinction Banquet and String of Pearls Auction." A ceremony was held in her honor at a local park at 37th and Topeka Boulevard. 


    In 1939 Brooks married Henry Lowington Blakely, Jr. They had two children: Henry Lowington Blakely III, born October 10, 1940; and Nora Blakely, born in 1951. 
    From mid-1961 to late-1964, Henry III served in the U.S. Marine Corps, first at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego and then at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay. During this time, Brooks mentored his fiancee, Kathleen Hardiman, today known as anthropologist Kathleen Rand Reed, in writing poetry. Upon his return, Blakely and Hardiman married in 1965. Brooks had so enjoyed the mentoring relationship that she began to engage more frequently in that role with the new generation of young black poets. 

    Legacy and honors 

    1968, appointed Poet Laureate of Illinois. 
    1985, selected as the Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, an honorary one-year position whose title changed the next year to Poet Laureate. 
    1988, inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame. 
    1994, chosen as the National Endowment for the Humanities' Jefferson Lecturer, one of the highest honors in American literature and the highest award in the humanities given by the federal government. 
    1995, presented with the National Medal of Arts. 
    1995, honored as the first Woman of the Year chosen by the Harvard Black Men's Forum. 
    Other awards she received included the Frost Medal, the Shelley Memorial Award, and an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Brooks also received more than seventy-five honorary degrees from colleges and universities worldwide. 
    Brooks died at age 83 on December 3, 2000, at her Southside Chicago home. She is buried at Lincoln Cemetery in Blue Island, Illinois.

    Gwendolyn Brooks's Published Books:

    Negro Hero (1945) 
    The Mother (1945) 
    A Street in Bronzeville (1945) 
    Annie Allen (1950) 
    Maud Martha (1953) (Fiction) 
    Bronzeville Boys and Girls (1956) 
    The Bean Eaters (1960) 
    Selected Poems (1963) 
    We Real Cool (1966) 
    In the Mecca (1968) 
    Malcolm X (1968) 
    Family Pictures (1970) 
    Black Steel: Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali (1971) 
    The World of Gwendolyn Brooks (1971) 
    Aloneness (1971) 
    Report from Part One: An Autobiography (1972) (Prose) 
    A Capsule Course in Black Poetry Writing (1975) (Prose) 
    Aurora (1972) 
    Beckonings (1975) 
    Black Love (1981) 
    To Disembark (1981) 
    Primer for Blacks (1981) (Prose) 
    Young Poet's Primer (1981) (Prose) 
    Very Young Poets (1983) (Prose) 
    The Near-Johannesburg Boy and Other Poems (1986) 
    Blacks (1987) 
    Winnie (1988) 
    Children Coming Home (1991) 
    In Montgomery (2000) 
  • The Children of the Poor


    People who have no children can be hard:
    Attain a mail of ice and insolence:
    Need not pause in the fire, and in no sense
    Hesitate in the hurricane to guard.
    And when wide world is bitten and bewarred
    They perish purely, waving their spirits hence
    Without a trace of grace or of offense
    To laugh or fail, diffident, wonder-starred.
    While through a throttling dark we others hear
    The little lifting helplessness, the queer
    Whimper-whine; whose unridiculous
    Lost softness softly makes a trap for us.
    And makes a curse. And makes a sugar of
    The malocclusions, the inconditions of love.


    What shall I give my children? who are poor,
    Who are adjudged the leastwise of the land,
    Who are my sweetest lepers, who demand
    No velvet and no velvety velour;
    But who have begged me for a brisk contour,
    Crying that they are quasi, contraband
    Because unfinished, graven by a hand
    Less than angelic, admirable or sure.
    My hand is stuffed with mode, design, device.
    But I lack access to my proper stone.
    And plenitude of plan shall not suffice
    Nor grief nor love shall be enough alone
    To ratify my little halves who bear
    Across an autumn freezing everywhere.


    And shall I prime my children, pray, to pray?
    Mites, come invade most frugal vestibules
    Spectered with crusts of penitents’ renewals
    And all hysterics arrogant for a day.
    Instruct yourselves here is no devil to pay.
    Children, confine your lights in jellied rules;
    Resemble graves; be metaphysical mules.
    Learn Lord will not distort nor leave the fray.
    Behind the scurryings of your neat motif
    I shall wait, if you wish: revise the psalm
    If that should frighten you: sew up belief
    If that should tear: turn, singularly calm
    At forehead and at fingers rather wise,
    Holding the bandage ready for your eyes. 
    Gwendolyn Brooks

Langston Hughes

 “An artist must be free to choose what he does, certainly, but he must also never be afraid to do what he might choose” Langston Hughes


  • PLACE OF BIRTH: Joplin, Missouri
  • PLACE OF DEATH: New York, New York
  • Poet, playwright, short story writer, and columnist, Langston Hughes was one of the founders of the cultural movement known as the Harlem Renaissance
  • EpjFS3CQkKE

Langston Hughes was born February 1, 1902, in Joplin, Missouri. He published his first poem in 1921. He left Columbia University after one year, traveling and supporting himself with odd jobs. His poetry was later promoted by Vachel Lindsay, and Hughes published his first book in 1926. He wrote poetry, stories, and plays, as well as a popular column for the Chicago Defender. He died May 22, 1967.


Humor is laughing at what you haven't got when you ought to have it.

– Langston Hughes


Poet, writer, playwright. Born February 1, 1902 in Joplin, Missouri. After publishing his first poem, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" (1921), he attended Columbia University (1921), but left after one year to work on a freighter, traveling to Africa, living in Paris and Rome, and supporting himself with odd jobs. After his poetry was promoted by Vachel Linday, he attended Lincoln University (1925–9), and while there his first book of poems, The Weary Blues (1926), launched his career as a writer.

As one of the founders of the cultural movement known as the Harlem Renaissance, which he practically defined in his essay, "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain" (1926), he was innovative in his use of jazz rhythms and dialect to depict the life of urban blacks in his poetry, stories, and plays. Having provided the lyrics for the musical Street Scene (1947) and the play that inspired the operaTroubled Island (1949), in the 1960s he returned to the stage with works that drew on black gospel music, such as Black Nativity(1961).

A prolific writer for four decades, he abandoned the Marxism of his youth, but never gave up protesting the injustices committed against his fellow African Americans. Among his most popular creations was Jesse B Semple, better known as "Simple," a black Everyman featured in the syndicated column he began in 1942 for the Chicago Defender.

In his later years, Hughes completed a two-volume autobiography and edited anthologies and pictorial volumes. Because he often employed humor and seldom portrayed or endorsed violent confrontations, he was for some years disregarded as a model byblack writers, but by the 1980s he was being reappraised and was newly appreciated as a significant voice of African-Americans.

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Miguel de Cervantes


 “There is no book so bad...that it does not have something good in it.” 

― Miguel de Cervantes SaavedraDon Quixote

 “The pen is the tongue of the mind.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

 The pen is the tongue of the soul; as are the thoughts engendered there, so will be the things written.

 There's not the least thing can be said or done, but people will talk and find fault.

 Miguel de Cervantes was a 17th-century Spanish novelist, playwright, poet, and the creator of Don Quixote.

NAME: Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

  • PLACE OF DEATH: Madrid, Spain
  • Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra was a Spanish novelist, poet, and playwright. His magnum opus Don Quixote is often considered the first modern novel.

    It is assumed that Miguel de Cervantes was born in Alcalá de Henares. His father was Rodrigo de Cervantes, a surgeon of cordoban descent. Little is known of his mother Leonor de Cortinas, except that she was a native of Arganda del Rey.

    In 1569, Cervantes moved to Italy, where he served as a valet to Giulio Acquaviva, a wealthy priest who was elevated to cardinal the next year. By then, Cervantes had enlisted as a soldier in a Spanish Navy infantry regiment and continued his military life until 1575, when he was captured by Algerian corsairs. He was then released on ransom from his captors by his parents and the Trinitarians, a Catholic religious order. He subsequently returned to his family in Madrid.

    In Esquivias (Province of Toledo), on 12 December 1584, he married the much younger Catalina de Salazar y Palacios (Toledo, Esquivias –, 31 October 1626), daughter of Fernando de Salazar y Vozmediano and Catalina de Palacios. Her uncle Alonso de Quesada y Salazar is said to have inspired the character of Don Quixote. During the next 20 years Cervantes led a nomadic existence, working as a purchasing agent for the Spanish Armada and as a tax collector. He suffered a bankruptcy and was imprisoned at least twice (1597 and 1602) for irregularities in his accounts. Between 1596 and 1600, he lived primarily in Seville. In 1606, Cervantes settled in Madrid, where he remained for the rest of his life.

    Cervantes died in Madrid on April 23, 1616.

    -Copied from Wikipedia
  • On the entrance of the Duke of Medina in Cádiz 

    In July we saw another Holy Week
    crammed full with certain confraternities
    --that soldiers around here call companies--
    that turn our folks, but not the English, meek.
    Such a crowd of feathers loomed around,
    that in barely fourteen or fifteen days
    their pygmies and Goliaths flew away,
    and what they'd built fell, crumbling, to the ground.

    The calf roared loud, and set them all in line;
    a thunder shook the earth, the sky turned dark,
    and threatened to bring everything right down;

    in Cadiz, then, triumphant and refined,
    with no alarm --the Count now having gone-- 
    the great Duke of Medina entered town. 

    Miguel de Cervantes

Gil Scott-Heron




What's the word? 
Tell me brother, have you heard 
from Johannesburg? 
What's the word? 
Sister/woman have you heard 
from Johannesburg? 
They tell me that our brothers over there 
are defyin' the Man 
We don't know for sure because the news we 
get is unreliable, man 
Well I hate it when the blood starts flowin' 
but I'm glad to see resistance growin' 
Somebody tell me what's the word? 
Tell me brother, have you heard 
fr“The pen is the tongue of the mind.” 
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedraom Johannesburg? 
They tell me that our brothers over there 
refuse to work in the mines, 
They may not get the news but they need to know 
we're on their side. 
Now sometimes distance brings 
but deep in my heart I'm demanding; 
Somebody tell me what's the word? 
Sister/woman have you heard 
'bout Johannesburg? 
I know that their strugglin' over there 
ain't gonna free me, 
but we all need to be strugglin' 
if we're gonna be free 
Don't you wanna be free? 

Written by Gil Scott-Heron (1949–2011)







 Scott-Heron performing at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco, 2009






Birth nameGilbert Scott-Heron
BornApril 1, 1949
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
DiedMay 27, 2011 (aged 62)
New York City, U.S.[1]
GenresSoul,[2] jazz poetry,[3] jazz,blues,[4] spoken word soul,jazz-funkproto-rap
OccupationsPoet, singer, songwriter, author
InstrumentsVocals, electric piano, guitar
Years active1969–2011
LabelsRCAFlying DutchmanStrata EastAristaTVTXL
Associated actsBrian JacksonRon Holloway,Jamie xxMusicians United for Safe Energy, Black and Blues


Brief Bio

April 1, 1949, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Raised in Jackson, Tennessee, by his grandmother, Scott-Heron moved to New York at the age of 13. His estranged father played for Glasgow Celtic, a Scottish soccer team. Astonishingly precocious, Scott-Heron had published two novels (The Vulture and The Nigger Factory) plus a book of poems (Small Talk At 125th And Lenox) by 1972. He met musician Brian Jackson when both were students at Lincoln University, Pennsylvania, and in 1970 they formed the Midnight Band to play their original blend of jazz, soul and prototype rap music. Small Talk At 125th And Lenox was mostly an album of poems (from his book of the same name), but later albums showed Scott-Heron developing into a skilled songwriter whose work was soon covered by other artists: for example, LaBelle recorded his 'The Revolution Will Not Be Televised' and Esther Phillips made a gripping version of 'Home Is Where The Hatred Is'. In 1973, Scott-Heron had a minor hit with 'The Bottle', a song inspired by a group of alcoholics who congregated outside his and Jackson's communal house in Washington, DC. Winter In America (on which Jackson was co-credited for the first time) and The First Minute Of A New Day, the latter for new label Arista Records, were both heavily jazz-influenced, but later sets saw Scott-Heron and Jackson exploring more pop-orientated formats, and in 1976 they scored a hit with the disco-based protest single, 'Johannesburg'. During this period they began working with pioneering electronic producer Malcolm Cecil from Tonto's Expanding Headband, with the duo's musical emphasis naturally shifting to synthesizer-based sounds.

One of Scott-Heron's best records of the 80s, Reflections (1981), featured a fine version of Marvin Gaye's 'Inner City Blues'; however, his strongest songs were generally his own barbed political diatribes, in which he confronted issues such as nuclear power, apartheid and poverty and made a series of scathing attacks on American politicians. Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Barry Goldwater and Jimmy Carter were all targets of his trenchant satire, and his anti-Reagan rap, 'B-Movie', gave him another small hit in 1982. An important forerunner of today's rap artists, Scott-Heron once described Jackson (who left the band in 1980) and himself as 'interpreters of the black experience'. However, by the 90s his view of the development of rap had become more jaundiced: 'They need to study music. I played in several bands before I began my career as a poet. There's a big difference between putting words over some music, and blending those same words into the music. There's not a lot of humour. They use a lot of slang and colloquialisms, and you don't really see inside the person. Instead, you just get a lot of posturing'.

In 1994, Scott-Heron released his first album for 10 years, Spirits, which began with 'Message To The Messengers', an address to today's rap artists: '... Young rappers, one more suggestion before I get out of your way, But I appreciate the respect you give me and what you got to say, I'm sayin' protect your community and spread that respect around, Tell brothers and sisters they got to calm that bullshit down, 'Cause we're terrorizin' our old folks and we brought fear into our homes'. Scott-Heron's life was becoming increasingly bedevilled by drug addiction, however, and in 2001 he was imprisoned for three years for cocaine possession. It was a tragically ironic fate for an artist who had preached so eloquently about the danger of drugs. Scott-Heron and Jackson revived their musical partnership following the former's release from prison in 2003.

As of today Mr. Heron lives drug free and routinely tours the country. Performing spoken word, and singing infront of sold out crowds.

Anaïs Nin (1903 - 1977)


The poet is one who is able to keep the fresh vision of the child alive.Anais Nin




Anaïs Nin

Author profile

February 21, 1903 in Neuilly, France

January 14, 1977




About this author

French-born novelist, passionate eroticist and short story writer, who gained international fame with her journals. Spanning the years from 1931 to 1974, they give an account of one woman's voyage of self-discovery. "It's all right for a woman to be, above all, human. I am a woman first of all." (from The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. I, 1966) 

Anaïs Nin was largely ignored until the 1960s. Today she is regarded as one of the leading women writers of the 20th-century and a source of inspiration for women challenging conventionally defined gender roles.

Anaïs Nin was born February 21, 1903 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, a suburb of Paris, France. She moved to the United States in 1914 with her mother, singer Rosa Culmell and two brothers, Thorvald and Joaquin. Her father was Joaquin Nin, a Spanish pianist and composer, who abandoned the family after leaving his family at various intervals in his career to tour Europe and Cuba, when Nin was eleven. Shortly afterward, on the boat Monserrat, Nin began her childhood diary, "Linotte", written as an extended letter to her papa.http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0632405/bio

 On truth: There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of us acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic.

 Personal Quotes

 “Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don't know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.” ― Anaïs Nin

 “Music melts all the separate parts of our bodies together.” ― Anaïs Nin

 “The secret of joy is the mastery of pain.” ― Anaïs Nin

 There are only two kinds of freedom in the world; the freedom of the rich and powerful, and the freedom of the artist and the monk who renounces possessions.Anais Nin

"I write emotional algebra" Anais Nin

Rabindranath Tagore (1913)


View:  Tagore Poems

Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore was Asia’s first Nobel Prize winner. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1913 for his book Gitanjali. Although most famed for his poetry Tagore was a creative genius who played a crucial role in the cultural renaissance of India and Bengal in the 19th and early 20th Century. As well as being a Seer poet Tagore’s achievements included notable contributions in the fields of music, literature, plays, art and education reformer.

Tagore was born in 1861, the youngest son of Debendranath Tagore and Sarada Devi. Debendranath Tagore was himself an influential Bengali and member of the Brahmo Samaj. Although very wealthy he had an underlying spirituality, qualities which to a large extent were inherited by his youngest son Rabindranath. As a young boy Rabindranath Tagore was asked to sing by his father. Debendranath was so impressed with the soulfulness of his singing that he credited his son with a valuable gift.

Rabindranath wrote his first poem at the age of 6 and as a young boy studied the classical poetry of Kalidasa. He also studied the Upanishads, languages and modern sciences. In 1878 he travelled to England in the hope of becoming a barrister. However in 1880 he left University College London and returned to India because his father had arranged his marriage to Mrinalini Devi. Thus Tagore returned home to get married and look after his family’s estates. This enabled a productive period of writing poetry, plays and short stories. In 1901 Tagore moved to Santiniketan (West Bengal) where he found an ashram, dedicated to returning educational traditions of ancient India. Later this school was to be expanded and given the name of Shriniketan — "Abode of Peace" This project was dear to Tagore’s heart throughout his life.

In 1913 Tagore was informed that he had been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. The Nobel Committed gave Tagore the prize:

"because of his profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse, by which, with consummate skill, he has made his poetic thought, expressed in his own English words, a part of the literature of the West" (1)

This prestigious award brought Tagore into the public eye in both the East and West. He now often travelled to the U.S and Europe to share his poetry and raise funds for his own ashram.

Political Views

Tagore was held in high regard by fellow Bengalis and Indians and In 1950 his song Jana Gana mana was adopted as India’s national anthem. In many respects he was one of India’s foremost cultural figures but he rarely intervened in politics directly although he did share his view at certain times. Tagore had a complex relationship with Mahatma Gandhi. On the one hand he supported India’s Independence movement and shared Gandhi’s vehement opposition to the treatment of the “untouchables”. Tagore also famously renounced his knighthood in protest over the massacre at Amritsar. However Tagore did not always share Gandhi’s methods and opinions. For example Tagore publicly criticised Gandhi’s “Swaraj” protest movement he called it the “cult of the chakra” However the two remained close and it was Tagore who was able to persuade Gandhi to give up a “fast unto death” over the treatment of the untouchables.

Tagore’s poetry

Tagore’s poetry was influenced by traditional Indian poetry. For example, his early poetry was especially influenced by the devotional Indian poets of Ramprasad and Kabir. Later he was influenced by the Baoul tradition, which is a tradition of traditional Bengali folk music, known for its simple ballads and invocation to union with the beloved. Throughout Tagore’s work there is strong mystical element. Although it is worth noting Tagore rarely refered to God directly

"When the voice of the Silent touches my words
I know him and therefore know myself."

"Love is an endless mystery, 
for it has nothing else to explain it."


However Tagore also infused his poetry with his own unique creative spirit. In particular he sought to bring the unity of nature into his poetry.

“He longed to be the wind and blow through your rustling branches,
to be your shadow and legthen with the day on the water,
to be a bird and perch on your topmost twig,
andto float like those ducks among the weeds and shadows.”

From: The Crescent Moon

For Tagore beauty and beauty’s appreciation was an important part of his life and sadhana and this was reflected in his poetry.

“Beauty is in the ideal of perfect harmony
which is in the universal being;
truth the perfect comprehension of the universal mind.”

Tagore kept writing poetry throughout his life. In the evening of his life when he suffered various illness, he became concerned with the theme of death and man’s immortality.

The night is black and the forest has no end;
a million people thread it in a million ways.
We have trysts to keep in the darkness, but where
or with whom - of that we are unaware.
But we have this faith - that a lifetime's bliss
will appear any minute, with a smile upon its lips.

On the Nature of Love

In 1940 Oxford University arranged a special ceremony in Santiniketan to honor the poet with Doctorate Of Literature. Tagore passed away on 7th August, 1941 in his ancestral home in Calcutta, the house where he was born.

Tagore influence many poets and literary figures. Early admirers includedW.B.Yeats and Romain Rolland. His poetry was also appreciated by Spanish poets such as nobel Laureates: Gabriella MistralPablo Neruda and Octavio Paz.

Biography by Richard Pettinger Poetseers.org


E. E. Cummings

E. E. Cummings

"Among the most innovative of twentieth-century poets," according to Jenny Penberthy in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, E. E. Cummings experimented with poetic form and language to create a distinct personal style. A Cummings poem is spare and precise, employing a few key words eccentrically placed on the page. Some of these words were invented by Cummings, often by combining two common words into a new synthesis. He also revised grammatical and linguistic rules to suit his own purposes, using such words as "if," "am," and "because" as nouns, for example, or assigning his own private meanings to words. Despite their nontraditional form, Cummings' poems came to be popular with many readers. "No one else," Randall Jarrell claimed in hisThe Third Book of Criticism, "has ever made avant-garde, experimental poems so attractive to the general and the special reader." By the time of his death in 1962 Cummings held a prominent position in twentieth-century poetry. John Logan inModern American Poetry: Essays in Criticism called him "one of the greatest lyri


c poets in our language." Stanley Edgar Hyman wrote in Standards: A Chronicle of Books for Our Time: "Cummings has written at least a dozen poems that seem to me matchless. Three are among the great love poems of our time or any time." Malcolm Cowley admitted in the Yale Review that Cummings "suffers from comparison with those [poets] who built on a larger scale—Eliot, Aiken, Crane, Auden among others—but still he is unsurpassed in his special field, one of the masters." 

Cummings decided to become a poet when he was still a child. Between the ages of eight and twenty-two, he wrote a poem a day, exploring many traditional poetic forms. By the time he was in Harvard in 1916, modern poetry had caught his interest. He began to write avant-garde poems in which conventional punctuation and syntax were ignored in favor of a dynamic use of language. Cummings also experimented with poems as visual objects on the page. These early efforts were included in Eight Harvard Poets, a collection of poems by members of the Harvard Poetry Society. 

After graduating from Harvard, Cummings spent a month working for a mail order book dealer. He left the job because of the tedium. In April of 1917, with the First World War raging in Europe and the United States not yet involved, he volunteered for the Norton-Harjes Ambulance Service in France. Ambulance work was a popular choice with those who, like Cummings, considered themselves to be pacifists. He was soon stationed on the French-German border with fellow American William Slater Brown, and the two young men became fast friends. To relieve the boredom of their assignment, they inserted veiled and provocative comments into their letters back home, trying to outwit and baffle the French censors. They also befriended soldiers in nearby units. Such activities led in September of 1917 to their being held on suspicion of treason and sent to an internment camp in Normandy for questioning. Cummings and Brown were housed in a large, one-room holding area along with other suspicious foreigners. Only outraged protests from his father finally secured Cummings' release in December of 1917; Brown was not released until April of the following year. In July of 1918, with the United States entering the war, Cummings was drafted into the U.S. Army and spent some six months at a training camp in Massachusetts. 

Upon leaving the army in January of 1919, Cummings resumed his affair with Elaine Thayer, the wife of his friend Schofield Thayer. Thayer knew and approved of the relationship. In December of 1919 Elaine gave birth to Cummings' daughter, Nancy, and Thayer gave the child his name. Cummings was not to marry Elaine until 1924, after she and Thayer divorced. He adopted Nancy at this time; she was not to know that Cummings was her real father until 1948. This first marriage did not last long. Two months after their wedding, Elaine left for Europe to settle her late sister's estate. She met another man during the Atlantic crossing and fell in love with him. She divorced Cummings in 1925. 

The early twenties were an extremely productive time for Cummings. In 1922 he published his first book, The Enormous Room, a fictionalized account of his French captivity. Critical reaction was overwhelmingly positive, although Cummings' account of his imprisonment was oddly cheerful in tone and freewheeling in style. He depicted his internment camp stay as a period of inner growth. As David E. Smith wrote inTwentieth Century Literature, The Enormous Room's emphasis "is upon what the initiate has learned from his journey. In this instance, the maimed hero can never again regard the outer world (i.e., 'civilization') without irony. But the spiritual lesson he learned from his sojourn with a community of brothers will be repeated in his subsequent writings both as an ironical dismissal of the values of his contemporary world, and as a sensitive, almost mystical celebration of the quality of Christian love." John Dos Passos, in a review of the book for Dial, claimed that "in a style infinitely swift and crisply flexible, an individual not ashamed of his loves and hates, great or trivial, has expressed a bit of the underside of History with indelible vividness." Writing of the book in 1938, John Peale Bishop claimed in the Southern Review: "The Enormous Room has the effect of making all but a very few comparable books that came out of the War look shoddy and worn." 

Cummings' first collection of poems, Tulips and Chimneys, appeared in 1923. His eccentric use of grammar and punctuation are evident in the volume, though many of the poems are written in conventional language. "The language of Tulips and Chimneys, ... like the imagery, the verse forms, the subject matter, and the thought, is sometimes good, sometimes bad," wrote Robert E. Maurer in the Bucknell Review."But the book is so obviously the work of a talented young man who is striking off in new directions, groping for original and yet precise expression, experimenting in public, that it seems uncharitable to dwell too long on its shortcomings." 

The original manuscript for Tulips and Chimneys was cut down by the publisher. These deleted poems were published in 1925 as &, so titled because Cummings wanted the original book to be titled Tulips & Chimneys but was overruled. Another collection quickly followed: XLI Poems, also in 1925. In a review of XLI Poems for Nation, Mark Van Doren defined Cummings as a poet with "a richly sensuous mind; his verse is distinguished by fluidity and weight; he is equipped to range lustily and long among the major passions." At the end of 1925 Dial magazine chose Cummings for their annual award of $2,000, a sum equalling a full year's income for the writer. The following year a new collection, Is 5, was published, for which Cummings wrote an introduction meant to explain his approach to poetry. In the introduction he argued forcefully for poetry as a "process" rather than a "product." 

It was with these collections of the 1920s that Cummings established his reputation as an avant-garde poet conducting daring experiments with language. Speaking of these language experiments, M. L. Rosenthal wrote in The Modern Poets: A Critical Introduction: "The chief effect of Cummings' jugglery with syntax, grammar, and diction was to blow open otherwise trite and bathetic motifs through a dynamic rediscovery of the energies sealed up in conventional usage.... He succeeded masterfully in splitting the atom of the cute commonplace." "Cummings," Richard P. Blackmur wrote in The Double Agent: Essays in Craft and Elucidation, "has a fine talent for using familiar, even almost dead words, in such a context as to make them suddenly impervious to every ordinary sense; they become unable to speak, but with a great air of being bursting with something very important and precise to say." Bethany K. Dumas wrote in her E. E. Cummings: A Remembrance of Miracles that "more important than the specific devices used by Cummings is the use to which he puts the devices. That is a complex matter; irregular spacing ... allows both amplification and retardation. Further, spacing of key words allows puns which would otherwise be impossible. Some devices, such as the use of lowercase letters at the beginnings of lines ... allow a kind of distortion that often re-enforces that of the syntax.... All these devices have the effect of jarring the reader, of forcing him to examine experience with fresh eyes." S. I. Hayakawa also remarked on this quality in Cummings' poetry. "No modern poet to my knowledge," Hayakawa wrote in Poetry, "has such a clear, childlike perception as E. E. Cummings—a way of coming smack against things with unaffected delight and wonder. This candor ... results in breath-takingly clean vision." Norman Friedman explained in his E. E. Cummings: The Growth of a Writer that Cummings' innovations "are best understood as various ways of stripping the film of familiarity from language in order to strip the film of familiarity from the world. Transform the word, he seems to have felt, and you are on the way to transforming the world." 

Other critics focused on the subjects of Cummings' poetry. Though his poetic language was uniquely his own, Cummings' poems were unusual because they unabashedly focused on such traditional and somewhat passe poetic themes as love, childhood, and flowers. What Cummings did with such subjects, according to Stephen E. Whicher inTwelve American Poets, was, "by verbal ingenuity, without the irony with which another modern poet would treat such a topic, create a sophisticated modern facsimile of the 'naive' lyricism of Campion or Blake." This resulted in what Whicher termed "the renewal of the cliche." Penberthy detected in Cummings a "nineteenth-century romantic reverence for natural order over man-made order, for intuition and imagination over routine-grounded perception. His exalted vision of life and love is served well by his linguistic agility. He was an unabashed lyricist, a modern cavalier love poet. But alongside his lyrical celebrations of nature, love, and the imagination are his satirical denouncements of tawdry, defiling, flat-footed, urban and political life—open terrain for invective and verbal inventiveness." 

This satirical aspect to Cummings' work drew both praise and criticism. His attacks on the mass mind, conventional patterns of thought, and society's restrictions on free expression, were born of his strong commitment to the individual. In the "nonlectures" he delivered at Harvard University Cummings explained his position: "So far as I am concerned, poetry and every other art was, is, and forever will be strictly and distinctly a question of individuality." As Penberthy noted, Cummings' consistent attitude in all of his work was "condemning mankind while idealizing the individual." "Cummings' lifelong belief," Bernard Dekle stated in Profiles of Modern American Authors, "was a simple faith in the miracle of man's individuality. Much of his literary effort was directed against what he considered the principal enemies of this individuality—mass thought, group conformity, and commercialism." For this reason, Cummings satirized what he called "mostpeople," that is, the herd mentality found in modern society. "At heart," Logan explained, "the quarrels of Cummings are a resistance to the small minds of every kind, political, scientific, philosophical, and literary, who insist on limiting the real and the true to what they think they know or can respond to. As a preventive to this kind of limitation, Cummings is directly opposed to letting us rest in what we believe we know; and this is the key to the rhetorical function of his famous language." 

Cummings was also ranked among the best love poets of his time. "Love always was ... Cummings' chief subject of interest," Friedman wrote in his E. E. Cummings: The Art of His Poetry. "The traditional lyric situation, representing the lover speaking of love to his lady, has been given in our time a special flavor and emphasis by Cummings. Not only the lover and his lady, but love itself—its quality, its value, its feel, its meaning—is a subject of continuing concern to our speaker." Love was, in Cummings' poems, equated to such other concepts as joy and growth, a relationship which "had its source," wrote Robert E. Wegner in The Poetry and Prose of E. E. Cummings, "in Cummings' experience as a child; he grew up in an aura of love.... Love is the propelling force behind a great body of his poetry." Friedman noted that Cummings was "in the habit of associating love, as a subject, with the landscape, the seasons, the times of day, and with time and death—as poets have always done in the past." 

Cummings' early love poems were frankly erotic and were meant to shock the Puritanical sensibilities of the 1920s. Penberthy noted that the poet's first wife, Elaine, inspired "scores of Cummings's best erotic poems." But, as Wegner wrote, "In time he came to see love and the dignity of the human being as inseparable." Maurer also commented on this change in Cummings' outlook; there was, Maurer wrote, a "fundamental change of attitude which manifested itself in his growing reverence and dedication to lasting love." Hyatt H. Waggoner, writing in American Poets from the Puritans to the Present, noted that "the love poems are generally, after the 1920s, religious in tone and implication, and the religious poems very often take off from the clue provided by a pair of lovers, so that often the two subjects are hardly, if at all, separable." Rushworth M. Kidder also noted this development in the love poems, and he traced the evolution of Cummings' thoughts on the subject. Writing in his E. E. Cummings: An Introduction to the Poetry, Kidder reported that in the early poems, love is depicted as "an echo of popularly romantic notions, and it grows in early volumes to a sometimes amorphous phenomenon seasoned by a not entirely unselfish lust. By [his] last poems, however, it has come to be a purified and radiant idea, unentangled with flesh and worlds, the agent of the highest transcendence. It is not far, as poem after poem has hinted, from the Christian conception of love as God." Waggoner concluded that Cummings "wrote some of the finest celebrations of sexual love and of the religious experience of awe and natural piety produced in our century, precisely at a time when it was most unfashionable to write such poems." 

In addition to his poetry, Cummings was also known for his play, Him, and for the travel diary, Eimi. Him consisted of a sequence of skits drawing from burlesque, the circus, and the avant-garde, and jumping quickly from tragedy to grotesque comedy. The male character is named Him; the female character is Me. "The play begins," Harold Clurman wrote in Nation, "as a series of feverish images of a girl undergoing anaesthesia during an abortion. She is 'me,' who thinks of her lover as 'him.'" In the program to the play, staged at the Provincetown Playhouse, Cummings provided a warning to the audience: "Relax and give the play a chance to strut its stuff—relax, stop wondering what it's all 'about'—like many strange and familiar things, Life included, this Play isn't 'about,' it simply is. Don't try to enjoy it, let it try to enjoy you. DON'T TRY TO UNDERSTAND IT, LET IT TRY TO UNDERSTAND YOU." Clurman believed that "the play's purest element is contained in duos of love. They are the most sensitive and touching in American playwriting. Their intimacy and passion, conveyed in an odd exquisiteness of writing, are implied rather than declared. We realize that no matter how much 'him' wishes to express his closeness to 'me,' he is frustrated not only by the fullness of his feeling but by his inability to credit his emotion in a world as obscenely chaotic as the one in which he is lost." 

In 1931 Cummings traveled to the Soviet Union. Like many other writers and artists of the time, he was hopeful that the communist revolution had created a better society. After a short time in the country, however, it became clear to Cummings that the Soviet Union was a dictatorship in which the individual was severely regimented by the state. His diary of the visit, in which he bitterly attacked the Soviet regime for its dehumanizing policies, was published in 1933 as Eimi, the Greek word for "I am." In it, he described the Soviet Union as an "uncircus of noncreatures." Lenin's tomb, in which the late dictator's preserved body is on display, especially revolted Cummings and inspired him to create the most impassioned writing in the book. "The style which Cummings began in poetry," Bishop wrote, "reaches its most complete development in the prose of Eimi. Indeed, one might almost say that, without knowing it, Cummings had been acquiring a certain skill over the years, in order that, when occasion arose, he might set down in words the full horror of Lenin's tomb." In tracing the course of his thirty-five day trip through the Soviet Union, Cummings made frequent allusion to Dante's Inferno and its story of a descent into Hell, equating the two journeys. It is only after crossing back into Europe at book's end that "it is once more possible for [Cummings] to assume the full responsibility of being a man...," Bishop wrote. "Now he knows there is but one freedom..., the freedom of the will, responsive and responsible, and that from it all other freedoms take their course." Kidder called Eimi "a report of the grim inhumanities of the Soviet system, of repression, apathy, priggishness, kitsch, and enervating suspicion." For some time after publication of Eimi, Kidder reported, Cummings had a difficult time getting his poetry published. The overwhelmingly left-wing publishers of the time refused to accept his work. Cummings had to resort to self-publishing several volumes of his work during the later 1930s. 

In 1952, Cummings was invited to give the Charles Eliot Norton lectures in poetry at Harvard University. His lectures, later published as i: six nonlectures, were highly personal accounts of his life and work, "autobiographical rambles," as Penberthy described them. The first two lectures reminisce about his childhood and parents; the third lecture tells of his schooldays at Harvard, his years in New York, and his stay in Paris during the 1920s. The last three lectures present his own ideas about writing. In his conclusion to the lecture series Cummings summed up his thoughts with these words, quoting his own poetry where appropriate: "I am someone who proudly and humbly affirms that love is the mystery-of-mysteries, and that nothing measurable matters 'a very good God damn'; that 'an artist, a man, a failure' is no mere whenfully accreting mechanism, but a givingly eternal complexity—neither some soulless and heartless ultrapredatory infra-animal nor any understandingly knowing and believing and thinking automaton, but a naturally and miraculously whole human being—a feelingly illimitable individual; whose only happiness is to transcend himself, whose every agony is to grow." 

Critics of Cummings' work were divided into two camps as to the importance of his career. His detractors called his failure to develop as a writer a major weakness; Cummings' work changed little from the 1920s to the 1950s. Others saw him as merely clever but with little lasting value beyond a few technical innovations. Still others questioned the ideas in his poetry, or seeming lack of them. George Stade in theNew York Times Book Review claimed that "intellectually speaking, Cummings was a case of arrested development. He was a brilliant 20-year-old, but he remained merely precocious to the end of his life. That may be one source of his appeal." James G. Southworth, writing in Some Modern American Poets, argued that Cummings "is too much out of the stream of life for his work to have significance." Southworth went on to say that "the reader must not mistake Mr. Cummings for an intellectual poet." 

But Cummings' supporters acclaimed his achievement. In a 1959 essay reprinted in his collection Babel to Byzantium, James Dickey proclaimed: "I think that Cummings is a daringly original poet, with more vitality and more sheer, uncompromising talent than any other living American writer." Although admitting that Cummings' work was not faultless, Dickey stated that he felt "ashamed and even a little guilty in picking out flaws" in the poems, a process he likened to calling attention to "the aesthetic defects in a rose. It is better to say what must finally be said about Cummings: that he has helped to give life to the language." In similar terms, Rosenthal explained that "Cummings's great forte is the manipulation of traditional forms and attitudes in an original way. In his best work he has the swift sureness of ear and idiom of a Catullus, and the same way of bringing together a racy colloquialism and the richer tones of high poetic style." Maurer believed that Cummings' best work exhibited "a new and delightful sense of linguistic invention, precise and vigorous." Penberthy concluded that "Cummings's achievement deserves acclaim. He established the poem as a visual object ... ; he revealed, by his x-ray probings, the faceted possibilities of the single word; and like such prose writers as Vladimir Nabokov and Tom Stoppard, he promoted sheer playfulness with language. Despite a growing abundance of second-rate imitations, his poems continue to amuse, delight, and provoke."

 E. E. Cummings






"Since I have always been the outsider, it is again both an asset and a liability in my life and my work. A source of strength as well as a source of great vulnerability."Audre Lorde

“Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought.” 
― Audre Lorde

 “Pain is important: how we evade it, how we succumb to it, how we deal with it, how we transcend it.” ― Audre Lorde

 Each time you love, love as deeply as if it were forever.Audre Lorde

 It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.Audre Lorde

  Life is very short and what we have to do must be done in the now. AudreLorde

Early Life

Poet, writer. Born Audre Geraldine Lorde on February 18, 1934, in New York, New York. Raised in New York, Audre Lorde grew up to a leading African American poet and essayist who gave voice to issues of race, gender, and sexuality. Her love of poetry started early, and she began writing as a teenager. Lorde attended Hunter College, working to support herself through school. After graduating in 1959, she went on to get a master’s degree in library science from Columbia University in 1961.

A self-styled "black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet," writer Audre Lorde dedicated both her life and her creative talent to confronting and addressing the injustices of racism, sexism, and homophobia. Her poetry, and "indeed all of her writing," according to contributor Joan Martin inBlack Women Writers (1950-1980): A Critical Evaluation, "rings with passion, sincerity, perception, and depth of feeling." Concerned with modern society's tendency to categorize groups of people, Lorde fought the marginalization of such categories as "lesbian" and "black woman," thereby empowering her readers to react to the prejudice in their own lives. While the widespread critical acclaim bestowed upon Lorde for dealing with lesbian topics made her a target of those opposed to her radical agenda, she continued, undaunted, to express her individuality, refusing to be silenced. As she told interviewer Charles H. Rowell in Callaloo: "My sexuality is part and parcel of who I am, and my poetry comes from the intersection of me and my worlds. . . . [White, arch-conservative senator] Jesse Helms's objection to my work is not about obscenity . . .or even about sex. It is about revolution and change. . . . Helms represents. . . . white patriarchal power. . . .[and he] knows that my writing is aimed at his destruction, and the destruction of every single thing he stands for." Fighting a battle with cancer that she documented in her highly acclaimed Cancer Journals, Lorde died of the illness in 1992. 

Born in New York City of West Indian parents, Lorde came to poetry in her early teens, through a need to express herself. Her first poem to be published was accepted by Seventeen magazine when she was still in high school. The poem had been rejected by her school paper, Lorde explains in Black Women Writers, because her "English teachers . . . said [it] was much too romantic." Her mature poetry, published in volumes including New York Head Shop and Museum, Coal, and The Black Unicorn,is sometimes romantic also. Often dealing with her lesbian relationships, her love poems have nevertheless been judged accessible to all by many critics. In Martin's words, "one doesn't have to profess heterosexuality, homosexuality, or asexuality to react to her poems. . . . Anyone who has ever been in love can respond to the straightforward passion and pain sometimes one and the same, in Lorde's poems." 

While Lorde's love poems composed much of her earliest work, her experiences of civil unrest during the 1960s, along with Lorde's own confusion over her sexuality—a bisexual, she married in 1962 and had two children before divorcing and making a renewed commitment to her female lovers—created a rapid shift to more political statements. As Jerome Brooks reported in Black Women Writers (1950-1980): A Critical Evaluation, "Lorde's poetry of anger is perhaps her best-known work." In her poem "The American Cancer Society, or There Is More than One Way to Skin a Coon," she protested against white America thrusting its unnatural culture on blacks; in "The Brown Menace or Poem to the Survival of Roaches," she likened blacks to cockroaches, hated, feared, and poisoned by whites. Poetry critic Sandra M. Gilbert remarked that "it's not surprising that Lorde occasionally seems to be choking on her own anger . . . [and] when her fury vibrates through taut cables from head to heart to page, Lorde is capable of rare and, paradoxically, loving jeremiads." 

Lorde's anger did not confine itself to racial injustice but extended to feminist issues as well, and occasionally she criticized African American men for their role in the perpetuating of sex discrimination: "As Black people, we cannot begin our dialogue by denying the oppressive nature of male privilege," Lorde stated in Black Women Writers. "And if Black males choose to assume that privilege, for whatever reason, raping, brutalizing, and killing women, then we cannot ignore Black male oppression. One oppression does not justify another." 

Of her poetic beginnings Lorde once commented in Black Women Writers: "I used to speak in poetry. I would read poems, and I would memorize them. People would say, well what do you think, Audre. What happened to you yesterday? And I would recite a poem and somewhere in that poem would be a line or a feeling I would be sharing. In other words, I literally communicated through poetry. And when I couldn't find the poems to express the things I was feeling, that's what started me writing poetry, and that was when I was twelve or thirteen." As an adult, her primary poetic goal remained communication. "I have a duty," she stated later in the same publication, "to speak the truth as I see it and to share not just my triumphs, not just the things that felt good, but the pain, the intense, often unmitigating pain." As a mature poet, however, rather than relying solely on poetry as a means of self-expression Lorde often extracted poems from her personal journals. Explaining the genesis of "Power," a poem about the police shooting of a ten-year-old black child, Lorde discussed her feelings when she learned that the officer involved had been acquitted: "A kind of fury rose up in me; the sky turned red. I felt so sick. I felt as if I would drive this car into a wall, into the next person I saw. So I pulled over. I took out my journal just to air some of my fury, to get it out of my fingertips. Those expressed feelings are that poem." 

In addition to race problems and love affairs, another important theme that runs through many of Lorde's poems is the parent-child relationship. Brooks saw a deep concern with the images of her deceased father in Lorde's "Father, Son, and Holy Ghost" which carries over to poems dealing with Africa in The Black Unicorn.According to Brooks, "the contact with Africa is the contact with the father who is revealed in a wealth of mythological symbols. . . . The fundamental image of the unicorn indicates that the poet is aware that Africa is for her a fatherland, a phallic terrain." Martin, however, took a different view: "Audre Lorde is a rare creature. . . . She is the Black Unicorn: magical and mysterious bearer of fantasy draped in truth and beauty." Further, Martin found the poet's feelings about her mother to be more vital to an understanding of her works. In many of Lorde's poems, the figure of her mother is one of a woman who resents her daughter, tries to repress her child's unique personality so that she conforms with the rest of the world, and withholds the emotional nourishment of parental love. For example, Lorde tells us in Coal's "Story Books on a Kitchen Table": "Out of her womb of pain my mother spat me / into her ill-fitting harness of despair / into her deceits / where anger reconceived me." In The Black Unicorn's "From the House of Yemanja," the mother's efforts to shape the speaker into something she is not do not quench the speaker's desire for the mother's love: "Mother I need / mother I need / . . . I am / the sun and moon and forever hungry." "Balled from Childhood" in The New York Head Shop and Museum is Lorde's depiction of the ways in which a child's hopes and dreams are crushed by a restrictive mother. After the mother has made withering replies to her child's queries about planting a tree to give some beauty to their wasteland surroundings, the child gives up in defeat, saying: "Please mommy do not beat me so! / yes I will learn to love the snow! / yes I want neither seed nor tree! / yes ice is quite enough for me! / who knows what trouble-leaves might grow!" 

As Martin noted, however, Lorde's ambivalent feelings about her mother "did not make [her] bitter against her own children when circumstances changed her role from that of child to mother." Coal includes the poem "Now That I Am Forever with Child," which discusses the birth of Lorde's daughter. "I bore you one morning just before spring," she recounts, "my legs were towers between which / A new world was passing. / Since then / I can only distinguish / one thread within runnings hours / You, flowing through selves / toward You." 

In addition to her poetry, Lorde was noted for eloquent prose, one example of which was her courageous account of her agonizing struggle to overcome breast cancer and mastectomy, The Cancer Journals. Her first major prose work, the Journals discuss Lorde's feelings about facing the possibility of death. Beyond death, Martin asserted, Lorde feared "she should die without having said the things she as a woman and an artist needed to say in order that her pain and subsequent loss might not have occurred in vain." Recounting this personal transformation was, for Lorde, of primary importance; as AnaLouise Keating noted in Journal of Homosexuality, "For Lorde, self-expression and self-discovery are never ends in themselves. Because she sees her desire to comprehend her battle with cancer as 'part of a continuum of women's work, of reclaiming this earth and or power,' she is confident that her self-explorations will empower her readers." Her Journals also reveal Lorde's decision not to wear a prosthesis after her breast was removed. As Brooks pointed out, "she does not suggest [her decision] for others, but . . . she uses [it] to expose some of the hypocrisies of the medical profession." Lorde summarized her attitude on the issue thus in the Journals:"Prosthesis offers the empty comfort of 'Nobody will know the difference.' But it is that very difference which I wish to affirm, because I have lived it, and survived it, and wish to share that strength with other women. If we are to translate the silence surrounding breast cancer into language and action against this scourge, then the first step is that women with mastectomies must become visible to each other." Martin concluded: " The Cancer Journals affords all women who wish to read it the opportunity to look at the life experience of one very brave woman who bared her wounds without shame, in order that we might gain some strength from sharing in her pain." 

Lorde's 1982 novel, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, was described by its publishers as a "biomythography, combining elements of history, biography and myth," and Rosemary Daniell, in the New York Times Book Review, considered the work "excellent and evocative. . . . Among the elements that make the book so good are its personal honesty and lack of pretentiousness, characteristics that shine through the writing, bespeaking the evolution of a strong and remarkable character." Daniell said that, throughout the book, Lorde's "experiences are painted with exquisite imagery. Indeed, her West Indian heritage shows through most clearly in her use of word pictures that are sensual, steamy, at times near-tropical, evoking the colors, smells—repeatedly, the smells—shapes, textures that are her life." 

In the late 1980s Lorde and fellow writer Barbara Smith founded Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, which was dedicated to furthering the writings of black feminists. Lorde would also become increasingly concerned over the plight of black women in South Africa under apartheid, creating Sisterhood in Support of Sisters in South Africa and remaining an active voice on behalf of these women throughout the remainder of her life. Indeed, Lorde addressed her concerns to not only the United States but the world, encouraging a celebration of the differences that society instead used as tools of isolation. As Allison Kimmich noted in Feminist Writers, "Throughout all of Audre Lorde's writing, both nonfiction and fiction, a single theme surfaces repeatedly. The black lesbian feminist poet activist reminds her readers that they ignore differences among people at their peril. . . . Instead, Lorde suggests, differences in race or class must serve as a 'reason for celebration and growth.'"http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/audre-lorde
For most of the 1960s, Audre Lorde worked as a librarian in Mount Vernon, New York, and in New York City. She married attorney Edwin Rollins in 1962, and the couple had two children-Elizabeth and Jonathan. The couple later divorced.

First Work Published

Her life changed dramatically in 1968. Her first volume of poetry,First Cities, was published, and she left her job as a head librarian at Town School Library in New York City that year. Also in 1968, Lorde taught a poetry workshop at Tougaloo College in Mississippi, witnessing first-hand the deep racial tensions in the South. She would later teach at John Jay College and Hunter College in New York.

Audre Lorde’s third volume of poetry, From a Land Where Other People Live (1973), earned a lot of praise and was nominated for a National Book Award. In this volume she explored issues of identity as well as concerns about global issues. Her next work, New York Head Shop and Museum (1975), was more overtly political than her earlier poem collections. 

With the publication of Coal by a major book company in 1976, Audre Lorde began to reach a larger audience. The Black Unicorn(1978) soon followed. In this volume, Lorde explored her African heritage. It is considered one of her greatest works by many critics. Throughout her poetry and other writings she tackled topics that were important to her as a woman of color, as a lesbian, as a mother, and as a feminist.

Battle with Cancer

Besides poetry, Audre Lorde was a powerful essayist and writer. In terms of her nonfiction work, she is best remembered for The Cancer Journals (1980), in which she documents her own struggle with breast cancer. Having undergone a mastectomy, Lorde refused to be victimized by the disease. Instead she considered herself-and other women like her-to be warriors. The cancer later spread to her liver and this latest battle with the disease informs the essay collection, A Burst of Light (1989). This time she chose to pursue alternative treatments rather than to opt for more surgery.

Audre Lorde battled cancer for more than a decade and spent her last few years living in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Around this time, she took an African name-Gamba Adisa-which reportedly meant “she who makes her meaning clear.” Audre Lorde died on November 17, 1992, on the island of St. Croix. During her long career, Lorde received numerous accolades, including an American Book Award for A Burst of Life in 1989. She is remembered for being a great warrior poet who valiantly fought so many personal and political battles with her words.

© 2012 A&E Television Networks. All rights reserved.

The Last Poets:Dedicated to Raising Social Conscience their words still resonate today as they are timeless....

Jalal Mansur Nuriddin , Omar Ben Hassan , and Abiodun Oyewole




Jalal Mansur Nuriddin

.. was one of the seven founding members of The Last Poets, who first hit most people's consciousness when their song 'Wake Up Niggers' was used as part of a soundtrack in Mick Jagger's debut film "Pergrandfatherofrap.com Jalal Mansur Nuriddin's websitegrandfatherofrap.com Jalal


NAccording to legend, the south african poet little Willie Kgositile, arrived in New York n 1968, where he joined the Harlem based, black writer's workshop previously mentioned in "The origin of The Lasts Poets" segment, and after joining the workshop, which was called the "East Wind" and is located in Harlem, N.Y. the unofficial black capital of America. Little Willie, who had fled from the racist aparteid regime in south africa, had written a poem, and in the poem, he said: "That this was the last age of essays and poems, and that guns and rifles, would take there place, so therefore, we are the last poets of this age. " The poets who were in the workshop all concurred that they were the last poets, in the figurative sense of the words. Little Willie left shortly thereafter, and reportedly went to Zimbabwe, leaving the poets in their workshop, contemplating and working on how to articulate what it meant to be last. Not that was difficult at all, since as a people, historically, the black population in America had always been "last." But in whatever endeavor they were allowed to participate in, the two most well known professions being entertainment and sports, they excelled and became first and foremost in those or any other particular field that they were permitted to engage in. So from the time that the africans were brought to the shores of America to the present, they have had to historically struggle for recognition. Competing against the dominant society, as well as each other, they had to "strive to stay alive".

The Last Poets, became wordsmiths and hammered the feelings of their people, and eventually all oppressed people in the world, into the shape and scope of the struggle between dispair and hope. After many personnel changes, the longest performing and active members of the group, honed the artform into a vehicle of total expression, which is today called rap and hip-hop. But the price that they had to pay for introducing their artform (Spoagraphics) to the world, would cost them their lifetimes, and for some members their lives.

They were the first rap group to be acclaimed by the people and went on to sell a million records by word of mouth, although they were the last to be acknowledged by the recording industry, who sold their records on the down-low, without the benefit of advertising and promotion, and continue to do so, for thirty years on since the group was first formed.

In addition the Last Poets, were originally a collective, that granted itself the right to come and go as they pleased. The two members who opted to stay together for the longest period of time, managed to record six albums, publish one book, and briefly perform in one movie which starred Janet Jackson and Tupac Shukur, which was entitled: "Poetic Justice"

The Last Poets, though, never intended to get into show business, and considered their commercial popularity to be divine providence.

Thus, the two most active members, continued to evolve the artform, individually and collectively, for twenty-four years, until they became literally and figuratively the "Grandfather's of Rap." In the beginning,The Last Poets consisted of Gylain Kain, Abiodun Oyewole, David Nelson, Felipe Luciano, Omar Bin Hassen, Jalal Nuriddin & Sulieman El-Hadi. Due to conflicts in style and content, they performed in various combinations with each other, or not at all, until such time as a suitable cohesive lasting unit could knit together, in complimentation as opposed to competition, and Jalal and Sulieman emerged as rhyme partners for almost a quarter of a century. Together they developed the science of making sense out of non-sense until Sulieman passed away on October 3, 1995.

Because rap and hip-hop is performed today in rhyme, that unit of the Last Poets, are considered to be the pioneers of today's rap, and the "hip in the hop."

Today, Jalal, the sole remaining member of that unit, has evolved the artform to the bard level, and after having recorded his first rap record with Jimi Hendrix in 1969, he continues to develop his own style of spoetry, which he calls "Spoagraphics" as a separate development in his evolution, and doesn't mind being "Last but not least". In as much as his objective as an artist has always been to master his "axe" a piece of advice given to him by Max Roach, in the early days of his career.

He has recorded four solo albums, and one EP. His experiences as a member of the last poets, will be rhymed in future time, in his forthcoming book.uri

 Umar Bin Hassan may be the best spoken-word artist in America. 

With the legendary Last Poets in the early 1970s, Umar cut such incendiary tracks as “Niggers Are Scared of Revolution” (click here to listen) and “This Is Madness.”

During the 1980s, he got caught up in crack addiction. As Umar told me in a 1993 interview: “[A] little selling here, a little smuggling here. I was dancing to the piper, I had to pay the price.”

Emerging in the early ’90s with a revived Last Poets, Umar recorded under the auspices of star producer Bill Laswell. The rage of youthful discontent was replaced by an aching maturity. Rappers now treat him as an elder statesman.

Umar Bin Hassan (born Jerome Huling) has created “street poetry” of tremendous passion, honesty and grace over the last 15 years... often for other people


Abiodun Oyewole Biography 

FoodChicken & Fish
Time of YearMy Birthday
Vacation SpotAny Island with Beautiful Black People

Abiodun Oyewole was born Charles Davis on February 25, 1948 in Cincinnati, Ohio. At the age of three, he moved to Queens, New York, with his maternal aunt and her new husband. He was greatly influenced by the jazz and gospel music they played and by poets like Langston Hughes. At fifteen, he and a friend attended a Yoruba Temple in Harlem, New York. There, a Yoruba priest performed a ceremony, giving him the name Abiodun Oyewole, by which he is best known. Oyewole began learning about the Yoruba gods and developed a spiritual connection to the religion, which stressed the significance of praying to one's ancestors for guidance and strength. 

Oyewole is a founding member of the American musical spieling group, The Last Poets. On May 19, 1968, the anniversary of Malcolm X's birthday, Oyewole and two others David Nelson and Gylan Kain read poetry in tribute to Malcolm X at a memorial for him, and the group was born. The group's message, deeply rooted in Black Nationalism, quickly became recognized within the African American community. The Last Poets along with the artist Gil Scott-Heron are credited as having had a profound effect on the development of hip-hop music. In 1970, the Last Poets were signed by jazz producer Alan Douglas and released their first album. This album includes their classic poem Niggers are Scared of Revolution. The Last Poets' spoken word albums preceded politically laced Rhythm and Blues projects, such as Marvin Gaye's What's Going On, and foreshadowed the work of hard-hitting rap groups like Public Enemy and Dead Prez. 

After being sentenced to four years in a North Carolina prison for larceny, Oyewole was forced to leave The Last Poets. He served two and half years of his sentence and during that time attended a nearby college where he earned his B.A. degree. He went on to earn his Ph.D. from Columbia University in New York City, where he has served as a faculty member. Oyewole rejoined The Last Poets, during its 1990s resurgence. The Last Poets took part in Lollapalooza in1994 and released a new album entitled Holy Terror in 1995 and a book called On a Mission: Selected Poetry and a History of the Last Poets in 1996. Oyewole continues to tour various venues giving lectures on poetry and politics. 

Oyewole lives in New York City. 

Oyewole was first interviewed with The HistoryMakers on December 13, 2006

Oyewole was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 13, 2006.


"No More Prisons"
[feat. Hurricane G.]

Check check check it out, check it out, check it out
Check check check it out, check it out, check it out
Check check check it out, check it out, check it out
Check check check it out, check it out, check it out

We need, more prisons, like a hole in the head
A prison is a home for the living dead
It is time for us to recognize that every man must be free
if we really want to see eternity

Understand that the spirit, is a prime source of life
that can only be stifled, when put behind bars
We must all have an opportunity to shine like stars

We need more prisons like a hole in the head
Prisons create, living dead
Prisons create, living dead
Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/the-last-poets#ixzz1rB6oSZfK

 Last Poets were rappers of the civil rights era. Along with the changing domestic landscape came the New York City-hip group called The Last Poets, who used obstreperous verse to chide a nation whose inclination was to maintain the colonial yoke around the neck of the disenfranchised.

Shortly after the death of Martin Luther King, The Last Poets were born. David Nelson, Gylan Kain, and Abiodun Oyewole, were born on the anniversary of Malcolm X's birthday May 19, 1968 in Marcus Garvey Park. They grew from three poets and a drummer to seven young black and Hispanic artists: David Nelson, Gylan Kain, Abiodun Oyewole, Felipe Luciano, Umar Bin Hassan, Jalal Nurridin, and Suliamn El Hadi (Gil Scott Heron was never a member of the group). They took their name from a poem by South African poet Willie Kgositsile, who posited the necessity of putting aside poetry in the face of looming revolution.

"When the moment hatches in time's womb there will be no art talk," he wrote. "The only poem you will hear will be the spearpoint pivoted in the punctured marrow of the villain....Therefore we are the last poets of the world."

 We're no more 'godfathers of spoken word' than the man in the moon; it comes in a package from the motherland. But we accept there is work out there that we can do. People need to see a focal point, a beacon, and we don't have no problem with shining."


“Right now, it is it is almost.. it is almost uhh, IMPOSSIBLE for you not to see how strong rap has gotten Y'know hat I'm sayin, it's it's like umm..our our brothers and sisters, our youths, and some of our adults their ear is PINNED to rap music right nowAnd if you really wanna get our message outand really wanna start teachin, we need to start doin thatWe we really need to start usin, our methods, y 'knoww hat I'm sayin?The Last Poets did it with poetryAnd uhh, and and.. even in our historyfrom a ancient Afl- African civilization poets went from village to village And that's how, stories and messages and lessons were taught Y'know what I'm sayin, and so like you say, history repeats itself And so.. it it was, it was.. at it was, y'know obvious It was, pick it up, y'know?Bein the race that we are, bein the strong race that we ar We picked it up, we picked up those positive, those positive vibesand we started rappin and soI think it is, it's a very good medium too” 
Tupac Shakur





Beat Poets :http://www.heureka.clara.net/art/beat-generation.htm

 The so-called Beat Generation was a whole bunch of people, of all different nationalities, who came to the conclusion that society sucked. -- Amiri Baraka

 But yet, but yet, woe, woe unto those who think that the Beat Generation means crime, delinquency, immorality, amorality ... woe unto those who attack it on the grounds that they simply don’t understand history and the yearning of human souls ... woe in fact unto those who those who make evil movies about the Beat Generation where innocent housewives are raped by beatniks! ... woe unto those who spit on the Beat Generation, the wind’ll blow it back. -- Jack Kerouac

Nobody knows whether we were catalysts or invented something, or just the froth riding on a wave of its own. We were all three, I suppose. -- Allen Ginsberg


 The term 'beat generation' was introduced by Jack Kerouac sometime around 1948 to describe his social circle.

 I hold the most archaic values on earth ... the fertility of the soul, the magic of the animals, the power-vision in solitude, .... the love and ecstasy of the dance, the common work of the tribe. -- Gary Snyder

 'The secret of this kind of climbing,' said Japhy in a tone that might be reminiscent of Snyder's, 'is like Zen. Don't think. Just dance along. It's the easiest thing in the world, actually easier than walking on flat ground.' -- Jack Kerouac, Dharma Bums

 In addition to the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, Snyder can count the 1966 Poetry Prize from the National Institute of Arts and Letters among his many awards. The wide range of awards reflect the many dimensions of Snyder's life: the Bollingen Prize for Poetry (1997), the John Hay Award for Nature Writing (1997), the prestigious Buddhism Transmission Award (1998) by the Japan-based Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai Foundation (Buddhist Awareness Foundation). The internationally recognized foundation makes annual awards to distinguished scholars, artists, and monks who make outstanding contributions to the theory and practice of Buddhism. Snyder, the first American literary figure to receive the award, is honored for distinctive contributions in linking Zen thought and respect for the natural world across a lifelong body of poetry and prose.

 Allen Ginsberg, b. Newark, N.J., June 3, 1926, is an American poet and leading apostle of the beat generation. His first published work, Howl and Other Poems (1956), sparked the San Francisco Renaissance and defined the generation of the '50s with an authority and vision that had not occurred in the United States since T. S. Eliot captured the anxiety of the 1920s in The Waste Land. Ginsberg's bardic rage against material values, however, was in a voice very different from Eliot's scholarly mourning for the loss of the spirit. In his second major work, Kaddish (1961), a poem on the anniversary of his mother's death, Ginsberg described their anguished relationship. In the 1960s, while vigorously participating in the anti-Vietnam War movement, he published several poetic works, including Reality Sandwiches (1963) and Planet News (1969). The Fall of America received the National Book Award for 1974. Collected Poems, 1947-85 (1995) contains all of his important work; White Shroud (1987) includes poems from the 1980s. Ginsberg sees himself as a part of the prophetic tradition in poetry begun by William Blake and continued by Walt Whitman. He names his contemporary influences as William Carlos Williams and his friend Jack Kerouac.

Kerouac managed to publish some 17 books during his lifetime, both poetry and biographical fiction. He recorded three albums, dabbled in art (see Ed Adler's book on Kerouac's art), and helped inspire a new generation of people who wanted to go out and see the world, and experience what it had to offer.

 Mr. Kerouac's admirers regarded him as a major literary innovator and something of a religious seer, but this estimate of his achievement never gained wide acceptance among literary tastemakers.

 "I want to work in revelations, not just spin silly tales for money. I want to fish as deep down as possible into my own subconscious in the belief that once that far down, everyone will understand because they are the same that far down." — Jack Kerouac

 “The only truth is music.” 

― Jack Kerouac

 "The only thing that can save the world is the reclaiming of the awareness of the world. That's what poetry does."Allen Ginsberg

 Fortunately art is a community effort - a small but select community living in a spiritualized world endeavoring to interpret the wars and the solitudes of the flesh.Allen Ginsberg 

 “Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.” Gary Snder


subtle birds 
Wheel and go,leaving air in shreds 
black beaks shine in gray haze. 
Brushed by the hawk's wing 
of vision.'' Gary Snyder

― Gary Snyder

Text Copyright © 1996 Grolier Incorporated





Allen Ginsberg



Born: June 3, 1926 
Place of Birth: Newark, New Jersey
Died: April 5, 1997
Place of Death: East Village, New York City



Gary Snyder

Born: May 8, 1930 
Place of Birth: San Francisco, California




Jack Kerouac

Born: March 12, 1922 
Place of Birth: Lowell, Massachusetts 
Died: October 21, 1969 
Place of Death: St. Petersburg, Florida

The Beat Generation, also known as the beat movement, were a group of American writers who emerged in the 1950s. Among its most influential members were Gary Snyder, the radical poet Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac.

Jack Kerouac was the acknowledged leader and spokesman for the Beat Generation. What could be loosely described as the underlying philosophy was visionary enlightenment, Zen Buddhism, Amerindian culture. The Beat Generation were centred around the artist colonies of North Beach (San Francisco), Venice West (Los Angeles) and Greenwich Village (New York City). The Beat Generation rejected the prevailing academic attitude to poetry, feeling that poetry should be brought to the people. Readings would take place in the Coexistence Bagel Shop and Lawrence Ferlinghetti's City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, often to the accompaniment of Jazz. A common theme that linked them all together was a rejection of the prevailing American middle-class values, the purposelessness of modern society and the need for withdrawal and protest.

The major Beat writings include Jack Kerouac's On the Road, Allen Ginsberg's Howl, and William Burroughs' Naked Lunch. Both Howl and Naked Lunch became the focus of obscenity trials in the United States that helped to liberalize what could be legally published.

Allen Ginsberg said some essential effects of Beat Generation artistic movement could be characterized in the following terms:

Spiritual liberation, sexual "revolution" or "liberation," i.e., gay liberation, somewhat catalyzing women's liberation, black liberation, Gray Panther activism.
Liberation of the word from censorship.
Demystification and/or decriminalization of some laws against marijuana and other drugs.
The evolution of rhythm and blues into rock and roll as a high art form, as evidenced by the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and other popular musicians influenced in the later fifties and sixties by Beat generation poets' and writers' works.
The spread of ecological consciousness, emphasized early on by Gary Snyder and Michael McClure, the notion of a "Fresh Planet."
Opposition to the military-industrial machine civilization, as emphasized in writings of Burroughs, Huncke, Ginsberg, and Kerouac.
Attention to what Kerouac called (after Spengler) a "second religiousness" developing within an advanced civilization.
Return to an appreciation of idiosyncrasy as against state regimentation.
Respect for land and indigenous peoples and creatures, as proclaimed by Kerouac in his slogan from On the Road 'The Earth is an Indian thing.'
Bob Dylan, The Beatles were heavily influenced by the Beat Generation. Members like Allen Ginsberg were influential in the anti-war movement. Others who were influenced include: Jefferson Airplane, Joan Baez, Country Joe and the Fish, Crosby Stills Nash and Young. The Beat Generation were followed by the hippies, anti-war movement, which led to the environmental movement, deep ecology and Earth First!

The Beat Generation inspired the Black Mountain poets, so named as they wrote for the Black Mountain Review. The Black Mountain poets were a loose group of poets who coalesced around Robert Creeley, Robert Duncan and Charles Olson while they were teaching at Black Mountain College, North Carolina. Their style was typified by a move away from the structured poetry of T S Eliot to a freer, looser style. The essay 'Projective Verse' by Charles Olson became the group manifesto. Creeley edited the Black Mountain Review, which featured the work of William Carlos Williams, Paul Blackburn, Denise Levertov, Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder. Much of the group's early work was published in Origin.

James Baldwin :

“Any writer, I suppose, feels that the world into which he was born is nothing less than a conspiracy against the cultivation of his talent.

James Baldwin, "Autobiographical Notes" from Notes of a Native Son, 1955

James Baldwin: Born August 2, 1924 in Harlem, NY, Died December 1 1987, St. Paul-de-Vence, France

The first of nine children of Berdis (Jones) a clergyman and a factory worker, David (step-father), in Harlem, NY. Baldwin was a storefront preacher for three years starting at age 14.  His writing started as a way to escape his stern stepfather.  

 In  1944 he moved to Greenwich Village where he met Richard Wright and began his first novel, In My Father's House.   In 1953 he finished his important novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain which stands as a partially autobiographical account of his youth.  The following year he wrote the play, The Amen Corner and won the Guggenheim Fellowship.


During the 1960's Baldwin returned to the United States and became politically active in support of civil rights.

Sir Baldwin wrote,poetry, novels, screen plays, and essays .

 All art is a kind of confession, more or less oblique. All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story; to vomit the anguish up.James Baldwin

“Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up "James Baldwin


Some of his works:


 “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” 

― James Baldwin





Ralph Waldo Emerson : 


 Emerson was before his time i can feel the passion he felt for the oppressed ie slaves, orphaned children ,less fortunate, ie "Free Thinkers" held back by society not their own will.  Suffering suppression So he channeled the empathy and compassion speaking up through his speeches , essays and poems . Emerson believed everyone and everything is connected to GOD(LOVE) and perceived as radical well then count me in .He was not judgmental but rather holding those accountable for their destiny and actions that we are responsible for the truth and the truth is intuitively experienced through nature my take Spiritual .



Ralph Waldo Emerson – “Within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence; the universal beauty”


We live in succession, in division, in parts, in particles. 
Meantime within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence;
 the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is 
equally related, the eternal ONE. And this deep power 
in which we exist and whose beatitude is all accessible to us,
 is not only self-sufficing and perfect in every hour,
 but the act of seeing and the thing seen, 
the seer and the spectacle, the subject and the object,
 are one. We see the world piece by piece, as the sun, the moon, the animal, 
the tree; but the whole, of which these are shining parts, is the soul.


 Sunshine cannot bleach the snow, Nor time unmake what poets know.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson 

 "Don't be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams. "Ralph Waldo Emerson

 “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

 The following year Emerson published Nature (1836) which speaks of nature as inspiration and source of humanity's fulfillment. He writes in the introduction

Undoubtedly we have no questions to ask which are unanswerable. We must trust the perfection of the creation so far, as to believe that whatever curiosity the order of things has awakened in our minds, the order of things can satisfy. Every man's condition is a solution in hieroglyphic to those inquiries he would put. He acts it as life, before he apprehends it as truth. In like manner, nature is already, in its forms and tendencies, describing its own design. Let us interrogate the great apparition, that shines so peacefully around us. Let us inquire, to what end is nature?"


 "Man is priest, and scholar, and statesman, and producer, and soldier."

 "Life is our dictionary."

 "It is one soul that animates all men."

 "A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer."Ralph Waldo Emerson

 "All mankind love a lover."Ralph Waldo Emerson

 "Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air"RWE


 Language is fossil poetry.RWE


 Slavery is no scholar, no improver; it does not love the whistle of the railroad; it does not love the newspaper, the mail-bag, a college, a book or a preacher who has the absurd whim of saying what he thinks; it does not increase the white population; it does not improve the soil; everything goes to decay.RWE


The sun goes down, and with him takes
The coarseness of my poor attire;
The fair moon mounts, and aye the flame
Of Gypsy beauty blazes higher.


For, the sense of being which in calm hours rises, we know not how, in the soul, is not diverse from things, from space, from light, from time, from man, but one with them and proceeds obviously from the same source whence their life and being also proceed. We first share the life by which things exist and afterwards see them as appearances in nature and forget that we have shared their cause. Here is the fountain of action and of thought. Here are the lungs of that inspiration which giveth man wisdom. . . . We lie in the lap of immense intelligence. . . .RWE


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