For the Consideration of Poets-Haki Madhubuti

When I first started college, I had no idea what my major would be. Now it seems so silly but I didn’t have a major until I took a Black Studies class in my second year. When that happened…it was like all the things that people describe when they have an epiphany. All of a sudden, I knew that I wanted to major in English and minor in African American Studies.

I know that my decision was rooted in the beauty that was the reading material for the class.  However, I also know that it was because the class combined two of my favorite subjects: English and History.

I’ve said many times here that poetry is rebellion. It is resistance and a call to arms. Poetry can be a perfectly formed arrow to aim instead of actual projectiles. This poem by Haki Madhubuti reminds us all of that. Although today is James Baldwin’s birthday, and he was critical of protest literature I am sharing a piece that, in my opinion, pays homage to him.


black arts movement

where is the poetry of resistance, 
                     the poetry of honorable defiance 
unafraid of lies from career politicians and business men, 
not respectful of journalist who write 
official speak void of educated thought 
without double search or sub surface questions 
that war talk demands? 
where is the poetry of doubt and suspicion 
not in the service of the state, bishops and priests, 
not in the service of beautiful people and late night promises, 
not in the service of influence, incompetence and academic 
         clown talk?

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