Skip to comments.Laureate Faces Silence Of The Iambs (Amiri Baraka)
Posted on 07/07/2003 7:51:00 PM PDT by blam
Laureate faces silence of the iambs
Gary Younge in New York
Tuesday July 8, 2003
The Guardian (UK)
New Jersey's legislature has voted to abolish the position of state poet laureate after the governor discovered that he could not sack the current holder of the post. Amiri Baraka, who was appointed by the Republican state governor, James McGreevey, has attracted criticism since reading his poem Somebody Blew Up America at a festival last year.
The poem, a series of rhetorical questions, is primarily a diatribe against American racism and imperialism, asking "Who stole Puerto Rico", "Who killed the most Jews" and "Who keep the Irish a colony".
But it also implied that Israel knew in advance that the September 11 terrorist attacks were going to happen, and repeated the anti-semitic urban myth that Israelis were told not to go to work on the day.
The poem also asks: "Who know why five Israelis was filming the explosion /And cracking they sides at the notion?"
The furore created by the reading prompted Mr McGreevey to denounce Baraka, and to ask him to resign and to stop taking his $10,000 (£6,000) annual stipend. Only when Baraka refused to go did Mr McGreevey find out that he had no authority to sack him.
Last week the New Jersey state legislature voted 69-2 to abolish the post of poet laureate.
Baraka has now threatened to sue the state for violating his first amendment rights to free speech and for slander. "Very few of those people have even read that poem," he said. "I can't have a differing opinion about a foreign state?"
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|Silence Of The Iambs
I think the author's pun is bad it needs some more precision. If I had been the editor I'd see about revision.
Newspapers don't have to be accurate anymore, he's a Democrat!
Sure, you've got the right to say anything you want. But as a public servant, paid for by public funds, you serve at the pleasure of the population, which appears to want you to peddle your hatred somewhere else, on your own dime.
Read: "I hate those shyster f**king Jew bastards".
A. Murray Baruchstein
I'll be darn, they sure did!
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