Original Writing

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Original Writing

My writing as a poet has been heavily influenced by writers like Langston Hughes, Nikki Giovanni, Alice Walker and Slam poets such as Black Thought and the Last Poets. These writers write and speak about the struggles and uniqueness of Black culture. Their individual experiences and political stances as well as the influences of other artist are evident in their work. For example in Giovanni’s poem “Revolutionary Music” she quotes some of the lyrics from Sam Cooke and James Brown to illustrate her personal views on racism and the equal rights movements. Hughes in his piece titled “Message to the President” skillfully incorporates the political events of his time into his poem using it to sardonically articulate his view on racial inequalities that were occurring in his time. Black Thought and the Last Poets utilize jazz and urban hip hop along with their idea of Black to relay their message.

In writing my individual poems, I find it difficult not to incorporate the style of the writers mentioned. I gained my consciousness of Black culture and struggle through the words of these writers their ideas have no choice but to be reflected in my own writing. I wrote a piece titled “Books not Bombs” which originated during the time the troops were being sent to Iraq to fight a war that was unnecessary in my opinion. The students at my high school and schools around the city were walking out of class to protest in city hall; however, we were told that we would be suspended by the principal if we left. I felt that the administration was silencing our voices by holding us with the threat of suspension. In this poem I used a line from a local pop song from the group OutKast, “They’re throwing bombs over Baghdad, but what about the bombs that are exploding right here, right now…” Using this mimics Giovanni and Hughes’ incorporation of musical lyrics of the time to make the piece relatable to the intended audience. I was also influenced by the social political climate that was being hotly debated at the time (war). My particular social influence is reflective of Robert P. Yagelski’s essay “Who’s Afraid of Subjectivity”. In his essay he used Donald Murray’s experience of writing and rewriting his piece which was reflective of his war years and the political controversy of his time. “…which provided impetus to write the poem and helped and helped shape the very content of the poem.

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