‘Tis the Season for the Magic of Poetry: Black Gold | Aberjhani Author-Poet-Literary-Consultant | LinkedIn

'Tis the Season for the Magic of Poetry: Black Gold | Aberjhani Author-Poet-Literary-Consultant | LinkedIn
Cover of new anthology: Black Gold, edited by Ja A. Jahannes.

When contemplating such issues as the current protests against the trend of white policemen killing unarmed black men (or boys in the case of 12-year-old Tamir Rice) and the unceasing escalation of war and terrorism across the globe, some might consider poetry an insignificant subject to address as the year 2015 approaches. Others, however, might contend that just like black lives in the past, present, and future–– poetry matters, enough in fact to be placed among Big Ideas 2015 .

One important reason poetry matters is because it often helps to expand humanity’s capacity for putting brutal and sublime experiences alike into usable, meaningful, contexts. What may be the oldest known Christmas poem, A Visit from Saint Nicholas (often referred to as “Twas the Night Before Christmas”) was first published anonymously on December 23, 1823, and later attributed to Clement Clark Moore. The year was a relatively peaceful one compared to the year before and that which followed. The poem, then, in addition to celebrating the holiday spirit of giving, could have been the poet’s way of affirming grace in a world too often overrun by grief.

Black Gold

The forthcoming poetry anthology entitled Black Gold, edited by playwright and composer Ja A. Jahannes, is not a collection of holiday verse. But it does offer a powerful counterbalance to the current mainstream images documenting what it does or does not mean to be a person of African or Latin descent in these still-early years of the 21st century.

With its mixture of multigenerational, gender inclusive, and intercontinental voices, Black Gold in some ways accomplishes through poetry what various government, educational, and community institutions have not. That is to say it successfully replicates the principle of unity, or Umoja, which many celebrate on the first day of Kwanzaa (December) and then generally ignore throughout the rest of the year. This should not be taken to mean the poets presented in the book are without their own brand of diversity.

To check out the full post with video and quotes please click the link:

‘Tis the Season for the Magic of Poetry: Black Gold | Aberjhani Author-Poet-Literary-Consultant | LinkedIn.

Honoring the Life and Legacy of Amiri Baraka

The Great Author Amiri Baraka (photo by Lynda Koolish)

Amiri Baraka with poems and mic in hand. (photo by Lynda Koolish)

This story was first published as part 2 of the article “Two Literary Laureates Celebrated: Herta Muller and Amiri Baraka.” It is presented now to honor the life and legacy of the great African-American literary powerhouse Amiri Baraka (Oct 7, 1934-Jan 9, 2014).

While his was not among the names short-listed for the Nobel Prize in Literature, Amiri Baraka has long been lionized for his tell-tale intellectually precise yet poetic analysis of U.S. culture and his fire-brand style of political truth-telling.

A playwright, novelist, poet, essayist, short-story writer and performance artist all wrapped into one, the Newark-born Baraka attended Rutgers and Howard Universities and is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He launched his writing career under the name LeRoi Jones with the 1958 play, A Good Girl is Hard to Find, produced in Montclair, New Jersey. He went on to confirm the promise evident in his early efforts with the 1961 publication of his first major collection of poetry, Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note, and the 1964 Obie-winning play Dutchman, among other published and performed works.

These early years of Baraka’s career are often described as his “Beat” period both for the influence of jazz and blues music upon his writings and because of his literary affiliation with such Beat writers as Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, many of whose work he published in a literary magazine called Yugen.

Like Haki R. Madhubuti, Sonia Sanchez, Eugene Redmond, Nikki Giovanni, and a number of other African-American litterateurs still writing today, Baraka became a major voice of the 1960s Black Arts Movement that championed both the re-publication of classic works by Harlem Renaissance authors and the publication of new works by emerging black authors of the era.

To read more of the complete article by Aberjhani please click the link: Two Literary Laureates Celebrated: Herta Müller and Amiri Baraka (Part 2) – National African-American Art | Examiner.com.