Text and Meaning in T.J. Reddy’s Poems in One-Part Harmony (part 3 of 4)

Author Signe Waller explores the costs of love and freedom in the book LOVE & REVOLUTION.

“…With endurance, laughter and a song
these walls of injustice can be torn down, light
can enter the rubble,
the road to freedom can become more visible…”
––T.J. Reddy from the poem “We Are Not Disillusioned”

In poems such as “On My Way Home from School,” “Black Child Watching Cartoons,” and “Four Black Children Walking the Streets in Charlotte, North Carolina on a December Night, 1968,” T.J. Reddy provides unsettling snapshots of the impact of racism and poverty on the psyches of African-American children. Anyone telling themselves this particular subject is outdated in the year 2014 need only recall the numerous dialogues that surfaced following the shooting of Trayvon Martin. Interviews with numerous black fathers and mothers revealed to the world how they prepare their sons to avoid violent interaction with “white authority figures.”

In “Black Child Watching Cartoons” the conflict is more internal than external but no less damaging:

I am a Black child of the fifties,
developing negative images of myself,
watching a cartoon about Africa and America,
seeing history manipulated and indoctrinating,
presented as funny and factual.
––T.J. Reddy

Stylistically, the poet most frequently employs free verse that gives his lines and voice an unambiguous clarity. Occasional rhymes reminiscent of Langston Hughes’ blues poems and dialogue that brings to mind works by Henry Dumas also help shape the poems. Ultimately, however, they are defined by the qualities of political outrage balanced with spiritual contemplation and romantic inclinations that inform his aesthetic sensibilities.

You can catch the full read by Aberjhani by clicking here:
Text and Meaning in T.J. Reddy’s Poems in One-Part Harmony (part 3 of 4) – National African-American Art | Examiner.com
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