Skip to comments.No'Mo Poet Laureate in New Jersey
Posted on 07/07/2003 7:30:21 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
What do you do with a state poet laureate who writes "a poem" about 9-11 so laced with anti-Semitism and other bilious nonsense that it offends the Jewish community and a lot of other folks? In New Jersey, you have to pass a law to get rid of the position - in order to get rid of the poet.
The poem was entitled "Someone Blew Up America" and it's likely that Amiri Baraka, a Muslim convert, has conjured up some justification for 9-11. One line from the poem was "Who told 4,000 Israeli workers at the Twin Towers to stay home that day?" The Star-Ledger (Newark) referred to this as a claim "based on the long-discredited rumor that Israeli citizens and American Jews knew of the attack in advance."
Baraka tried to weasel his way out of this by saying "It's Israelis that I'm talking about...." But Israelis translates as Jews and his ugly bias is on display for all to see.
New Jersey has been home to quite a few very distinguished poets, but Amiri Baraka is not one of them. Let the literary dilettantes proclaim him one of the leading figures of his time, but Baraka is just a third-rate talent who traded on being black and not just black, but the quintessential "angry" black man. Politics makes for bad poetry and Baraka has only a few strings on his literary violin; most of which have a racial or political agenda.
In 1934 Baraka was born LeRoi Jones in Newark. By the 1950s he was living in New York's Greenwich Village and, after the assassination of Malcolm X, he became a Black Nationalist, moving first to Harlem and then back to Newark. In the mid-1970s, he became a Third World Marxist-Leninist. He taught in the SUNY-Stony Brook Department of Africana Studies for twenty years and retired in 1999. Why any of this qualified him to be selected New Jersey's first and possibly last poet laureate is anyone's guess.
Beside which, his stuff is really bad. The man would not know a sonnet from a haiku if one jumped up and bit him. His so-called poetry is mostly just ghastly, rambling prose. It doesn't rhyme much and the only reason to call it poetry is because the writer says it is. Baraka and his so-called poetry will be forgotten about five minutes after they bury his sorry behind.
Last week, Gov. James E. McGreevey signed legislation eliminating the state post of poet laureate, about the only act of office he's performed that has any chance of being remembered for the good it has done. Baraka responded by threatening to sue the State. Tort law, however, prevents a person from suing the State "unless gross negligence can be shown." I contend that gross negligence was demonstrated when Baraka was selected for the post.
So, the state is safe once again and the ghosts of Walt Whitman, William Carlos Williams, Alan Ginsberg, and quite a few really good poets can rest in peace.
from poets, maybe, but that leaves a lot still 'on the plate'
His job blowed up real good.
There once was in Jersey a "poet".
Lacking all skill, don't you know it?
His poems were treason.
Devoid of all reason.
His reign as chief poet showed no wit!
They may support him though...
I would ammend this to say 'ghastly rubbish'. Prose is a stretch.
I've seen this guy interviewed, incredulously, he even makes Sharpton seem resonable.
Baraka should really be dropped off in Cuba.
I'll believe this when I actually see it. I'm expecting a lawsuit from Baraka, with lots of amicus briefs being filed on his behalf by poets, the ACLU, the NAACP, CAIR, etc.
The air will soon be filled with leftists' shrieks of "right-wing censorship", "chill winds", "racism" and "anti-Muslim bias."
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