Friday, April 27, 2007

The Poet is Full of Rage and Hate - WARNING racist epithet included

The Poet is Full of Rage and Hate - WARNING racist epithet included

I set up a Google alert for [poem "Virginia Tech"] and, at first, was disappointed with the results. Then I got something interesting, a link to this page:

It's about some extremely angry poetry written the years of youth, poetry by Nikki Giovanni, sometime professor to the infamous Cho.

The page originally hosted the text of a poem called THE TRUE IMPORTANCE OF PRESENT DIALOG, BLACK VS. NEGRO, of which the site now says:

"Ms. Giovanni’s early poems are a point of reference for rage at a youthful age. The implied lesson here is that an honored poet can also produce very angry text at a young age."

They've taken down the text of the poem for the moment, because apparently some people have been using the page to disrespect Ms. Giovanni. But they still provide a link to the text, for those who are interested.

The page further says:

"Readers when reading these poems should be very careful not to jump to conclusions about the relationship between angry text and actions. There are angry textual rages published everywhere in America, each and every day. Our task as humans is to examine rage with as much humanity as we can possibly bring to it."

I thought that was an interesting comment. I've written some fairly extreme stuff in my time, but I haven't get gone Glock-crazy.

The text of the page also

""Nikki Giovanni, prof at Virginia Tech, said of her former student, Cho Seung Hui, a 23-year-old : “I’ve taught troubled youngsters. I’ve taught crazy people. It was the meanness that bothered me. It was a, really, mean streak.” ""

The page is comment-capable, and a lot of people have added comments, if you'd like to take a look.

I clicked a link on the page and got to the following page:


Here is an excerpt from the unexpurgated text:

Can you kill
Can you kill
Can a nigger kill
Can a nigger kill a honkie
Can a nigger kill the Man
Can you kill nigger
Huh? nigger can you
Do you know how to draw blood
Can you poison
Can you stab-a-Jew
Can you kill huh? nigger
Can you kill
Can you run a protestant down with your
'68 El Dorado
(that's all they're good for anyway)
Can you kill
Can you piss on a blond head
Can you cut it

The site bears a log saying "Free Speech Online Blue Ribbon Campaign."

The homepage for the site which features the excerpt above is the following:

It features poems by a number of poets, one bearing the name Muhammad Ali. When I was a kid there was a boxer by that name.

What you see on the page is a short poem which uses the voice of the boxer, and which quite possibly includes words that he actually spoke, but I have no idea if this is:

(a) an actual poem that the real Muhammad Ali put together himself;

(b) a poem that someone put together by building it from words spoken by Ali; or,

(c) A poem written by a poet who is using Ali as a persona to speak through.

Anyway, I thought it was an interesting little poem, and I saved a copy to keep.

The direct link to the page is:

And part of what we see on the page is this:

Actually, there seem to be two poems on the page, both bearing the heading MUHAMMAD ALI. The second is shorter than the first, consting of just these three lines:

"" "Keep asking me, no matter how long
On the war in Viet Nam, I sing this song
I ain't got no qurrel with them Viet Cong." ""

The longer poem enlarges on this theme, and ends by Ali saying he'd rather go to jail and spend his time watching "television fed" than being with "you white folks," in Vietnam, and dead.

I had planned to delete my Google alert for ["Virginia Tech" poem], but, seeing as how it has led me to what is, for me, a very interesting exploration of the Internet, I think I'll keep it.


Anonymous Steve said...

As a New Zealander living in Japan, you might be interested in this story!

7:52 AM  

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