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Poetic Inspiration-Celebrating Spoken Word Artists.

Poetry.. my dreams and visions, my war cry of rebellion, loving santuary and knowledge seeking truth. I have had a long standing relationship with poetry from when I first read “Where the Sidewalk Ends” by Shel Silverstein and “A Dream Deferred” by Langston Hughes when I was 9. To my delight the media has showcased spoken word poetry through out with the 1975 broadway play  ” For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow is Enuf”, 1997 movie “Love Jones”, 2002, HBO 6 season, Def Jam Poetry and 2008 “Brave New Voices” for teenage poets. April is National Poetry Month so Im sharing a few of my favorite poets that I love and admire. These are just a few Revolutionary Poets! Support Poetry!

1. Sunni Patterson– Her spirit reached out and healed me…  “More than a poet, more than a singer, more than an emcee–it’s not just what she says, it’s how she says it.  Emerging from the musical womb that is New Orleans, artist and visionary Sunni Patterson combines the heritage and tradition of her Native town with an enlightened modern world view to create music and poetry that is timeless in its groove.”

Website for more information www.sunnipatterson.com/

2. Warasan ShireSpeaks to my soul thee most!… “Warsan Shire is a Kenyan born Somali poet and writer who is based in London. Born in 1988, she is an artistic activist who has read her work all over the world, more recently South Africa, Italy and Germany. Her poetry has been translated into Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. She believes in healing through narrative and art. She works with refugee communities in the UK through poetry workshops to document their stories of journey and trauma.”

Poem Six-Haiku

In prepartaion for War

to my daughter i
will say, when the men come, set
yourself on fire.

Hair

like many of the women back home
you have hair that reaches your waist
or the ground if you are bent over a chair
or the dimples of his back
if you are over his shoulder.

like many of the men you have loved
he was obsessed with your hair,
once even wrapped it around
his arm like rope, another time enjoyed
mouthfuls of it while you made love.

Check out her blog for more poems: http://www.warsanshire.blogspot.com/

3. Amir Sulaiman– Intense, powerful….  “Deep within Rochester New York, a poet writes the words his heart can no longer restrain. From the silent cries of the battered wife to the painful resignation of the orphaned child in Malawi, Amir Sulaiman intensely radiates the stories of life. The ailments of humanity are channeled through him into the eyes, ears, and hearts of the listeners.”

Danger

I am not angry, I am anger
I am abominable, stress, Eliotic relentless
I’m a death sentence
For the beast and his henchmen
Politicians and big businessmen
I’m a teenage Palestinian
Opening fire at an Israeli checkpoint, point blank, check-mate, now what?!
I’m a rape victim with a gun cocked to his cock, cock BANG! Bangkok! Now what?!…..

For rest of this poem check out his website  http://amirsulaiman.com/

4. Staceyann Chin– Fell in love with her story and presence…  “A resident of New York City and a Jamaican National, she has been an “out poet and political activist” since 1998. From the rousing cheers of the Nuyorican Poets’ Cafe to one-woman shows Off- Broadway to poetry workshops in Denmark and London to co-writer and performer in the Tony nominated, Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam on Broadway.”

For more information http://www.staceyannchin.com/v2/index.html

5.Gil Scott-HeronOne of the orginal revolutionary poets….”Gil Scott-Heron (born April 1, 1949) is an American poet, musician, and author known primarily for his late 1960s and early 1970s work as a spoken word soul performer and his collaborative work with musician Brian Jackson. Albums, most notably Pieces of a Man and Winter in America in the early 1970s, influenced and helped engender later African-American music genres such as hip hop and neo soul. Scott-Heron’s recording work is often associated with black militant activism.”

Website http://gilscottheron.net/

Influenced poet Sara Jones-Your Revolution

Writing saved my life…

I am a thought sought out by curious minds“…my favorite quote I wrote in 12th grade creative writing class. I always felt like I was born a writer, a poet but until recently I realized my passion and gift started somewhere. I have had this partial memory of being 8 years old alongside my older sister and being introduced to poetry. We were taken out of class to learn about rhyming and haikus not just for poetry sake but because it was counseling. I know now it was grief counseling through a creative outlet to deal with the death of my older brother. I suppressed the counseling part and held on to the poetry. But I was told to remember the good things about him and write that. So I wrote and haven’t stopped since.  I realized that we will never know the complete plans of God and all that he has in store for us and why things happen. I acknowledge that God gave me poetry, adjectives, verbs, prose and monologue, so I could cope. God saw my pain, my loss and gave me new life by breathing creativity into my heart.  Writing became my refuge, my world I lived in. I mourned through my paper and pen and was comforted with my words. I wrote poems, simple sentences and random thoughts. I was told to be a good writer you have to read and write a lot. I read sci-fiction, murder mystery, non-fiction, even trashy romance novels. In middle school I once read a book about how to skin animals.  Clearly I just wanted to read anything.

Growing up and making friends I rarely came across men that enjoyed reading as much as I did. And now I feel that people barely read or even write. Reading helps in mental development and is an activity that involves greater levels of concentration and adds to ones conversational skills.   We write Facebook statutes and tweets. We can’t spell if it wasn’t for spellcheck and I am guilty of depending on that too much myself. In college no one wants to read their class books much less a recreational book. Instead of reading a book people read worldstarhiphop.com. The art of writing letters has even died. I can just expect a bill in the mail. I love to feel a pen to paper versus fingers to keys. I remember the Harlem Renaissance and the passion that was once felt for literature. African-American writers living in Paris and creating rhythm and beats to words are the inspirations that I cling to. The works of Sonia Sanchez, Claude McKay, Nikki Giovanni, James Baldwin, Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Waldo Ellison, Langston Hughes and many others have fueled my passions and desire for knowledge.

It has famously been said “The best way to hide something from a black man is to put it in a book.” Maybe this quote makes sense to why the black men have the lowest high school graduation rate of any other group and their college enrollment is so low. I find it crazy how slaves risked beatings and death to learn to read and write and now you would have to beat someone to make them read and write. I choose to honor the memory of my brother and my ancestors by writing and reading. I use my words for positive upliftment and read to gain insight and education so that I may never be a slave to anyone nor dead to the world.