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SENTINEL POETRY (ONLINE) #42

The International Journal of Poetry & Graphics...since 2002

MAY 2006  ISSN 1479-425X    Editor: Amatoritsero Ede

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Editorial: The Professional Poet continued from Previous page

 

and plays up to a gallery of politicians, literary administrators, the beguiled or ignorant public and so on.

 

 When the poet insists on discharging his duties to the society by being overtly critical he falls out of favour or power. Power should not be his preserve anyway because power corrupts and so does money; and these two are infinitely entwined in the game of patronage. Humility, not the monarch’s chambers, should be the poet’s first court. A good example of a poet falling out of favour is the erstwhile Poet Laureate of New Jersey, who was brave enough, in a world running wild with lap-dog poets, to criticise. Here is the poem in contention:

 

Somebody Blew up America

 

They say its some terrorist,
some barbaric
A Rab,
in Afghanistan
It wasn't our American terrorists
It wasn't the Klan or the Skin heads
Or the them that blows up nigger
Churches, or reincarnates us on Death Row
It wasn't Trent Lott
Or David Duke or Giuliani
Or Schundler, Helms retiring

 

Who killed the most niggers
Who killed the most Jews
Who killed the most Italians
Who killed the most Irish
Who killed the most Africans
Who killed the most Japanese
Who killed the most Latinos

 

 

Who knew the World Trade Center was gonna get bombed
Who told 4000 Israeli workers at the Twin Towers
To stay home that day
Why did Sharon stay away?

...

 

Like an Owl exploding
In your life in your brain in your self
Like an Owl who know the devil
All night, all day if you listen, Like an Owl
Exploding in fire. We hear the questions rise
In terrible flame like the whistle of a crazy dog

Like the acid vomit of the fire of Hell
Who and Who and WHO who who
Whoooo and Whooooooooooooooooooooo!

 

 

 The poet was brave indeed and discharged his duties admirably. But from a long-standing poet and no neophyte, one would have expected a more subtle language that would stab at hypocrisy and at the same time disarm. But as that poem stands its language is too close to that of propaganda. It was this one failure that made him fall out of favour; this near prosaic deployment of a language that should be properly satiric and difficult to arrest.

 

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