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Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam

Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam

4.8 10
by Tony Medina, Sonia Sanchez (Foreword by), Louis Reyes Rivera (Editor)

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Bum Rush the Page is a groundbreaking collection, capturing the best new work from the poets who have brought fresh energy, life, and relevance to American poetry.

“Here is a democratic orchestration of voices and visions, poets of all ages, ethnicities, and geographic locations coming together to create a dialogue and to jam–not slam. This is


Bum Rush the Page is a groundbreaking collection, capturing the best new work from the poets who have brought fresh energy, life, and relevance to American poetry.

“Here is a democratic orchestration of voices and visions, poets of all ages, ethnicities, and geographic locations coming together to create a dialogue and to jam–not slam. This is our mouth on paper, our hearts on our sleeves, our refusal to shut up and swallow our silence. These poems are tough, honest, astute, perceptive, lyrical, blunt, sad, funny, heartbreaking, and true. They shout, they curse, they whisper, and sing. But most of all, they tell it like it is.”
–Tony Medina, from the Introduction

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
To most readers, the hundreds of tightly rhymed, orally friendly poems here will read as "slam." But in his introduction, Medina, a poet and activist, takes great pains to separate the poems from slam's crowd-pleasing limitations, and uses the term "def jam" to describe the political spoken-word poetry he and Rivera, also a poet-activist, have collected. Medina's and Rivera's emphasis is on the poem and its subject matter, not the poet, which makes for a remarkably democratic anthology. Every poet has about the same page and a half of space. The book's design puts the poets' names in a very small type. None of the big names June Jordan, Reg E. Gaines, Edwin Torres, Wanda Coleman, Patricia Smith and Amiri Baraka are given more attention than the less published. Organized by subjects such as "Blood, I Say, Study our Story, Sing this Song," "Drums Drown Out Our Sorrow" and "Seeds of Resistance," most of the poems use urban imagery, tough talk and declaration. Most are identity-centered, anti-racist and pro-activist. Many focus on current events. There are, for instance, at least four poems about Amadou Diallo, the unarmed Ghanaian immigrant killed by New York policemen as he stood in his doorway. All mention the 41 shots; all include the word "mother." There are poems about Shaka Sankofa (convicted of murder at 17, and executed nearly 20 years later under Texas's then-Governor George W. Bush), and homages to Cuban bandleader Tito Puente. Some readers will wish for more variation of theme and for more layered meanings, but the topicality and directness of the poems make this an ideal textbook for introductory poetry classes, especially for urban high school students, and for anyone interestedin poetry as a social art. (Oct.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

Publication date:
Wheeler Large Print Book Ser.
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Way We Move
the way we move, funk groove beat the rhythm out some pavement,
our elegant violent attitude, quick slow motion movement in quicksand in somebody else's shit house shanty town shingly jingly chains clamped on our neck,
hang to the floor scrape spark and clink and we make music out of this cool behind dark shades, taught to fear the sun, hiding in beauty parlors and bars draggy face with hatred and ugliness,
and it only comes when you don't accept the natural gifts, the fingerprints of a higher order of peace and simple logic, what makes us phenomenal is that we can sleep walk in harmony, never breaking a sweat 'cept in factories or bars, prisons we even build systems for, our own street logic and survival, but this is not where we're meant to be, not on the operating table of extinction or at the broken doorstep of finality stumbling drunk confused scagged out on whiteness and greed and stupidity into the bleeding face of our dead father, and we are not supposed to move this way, slow mumbling suicide in quicksand and defeat we must refocus, we must see again

Tony Medina (New York)

. . . And the Saga Continues
for Gary Graham

From Guinea to Haiti to Brooklyn
And back
From Guinea to Haiti to the Bronx
And back
From Brooklyn to the Bronx to LA
And back
From Philly to Haiti to the New Jersey Turnpike
And back
From village to hamlet to Borough
And back
From LA to Orange to Newark to Guinea
And back
From PR to the Bronx Brooklyn Queens Guinea
And back
From Soundview to no view of the anguish of . . .
Mother Mother why have you forsaken me

Bless me father for they are winning
And my mutter is crying
Bless me father for my mutter is crying
At the sight of my dying
Save me Lord from being vanquished
Save my mutter from this anguish

From Harlem to the Bronx to Brooklyn Queens Newark San Juan and the nation's highways I languish
In my blood and tears of my mother's anguish
And back

Call the name . . . Call the names I say you know them better than I

Shaka Sankofa Malcolm Ferguson Patrick Doresmond
Abner Louima Amadou Diallo Kevin Cedeno James Byrd
Matthew Sheppard Anthony Baez Michael Stewart
Earl Faison . . . etc. etc. etc.

And the list gets longer week by week
An African got lynched today
Juneteenth 2000

From Texas to Chicago to Watts to Newark
And back
From PR to Cuba to the Dominican Republic
And back

Africa calls from the bottom of the Atlantic
And back
From Ghanaian fields smooth black skin
Turns purplish under lash under water
And back

Can you hear them gurgle . . . Abnerrrrr
Can you hear them scream . . . Amadouuuuuuuu
Can you hear the windpipe snap . . . Antonyyyyyyyyap

Blessed be Blessed be Blessed be
Dear Lord have mercy Lord have mercy
Have mercy on me bless me father for I
have sinned . . .
with my mind I daily will demise of the western ways and all of its compatriots

Bless me father with a bottle of scupernog or
Wild Irish Rose to soften the blow of this monster's breath upon my neck
And back

in harlem in havana in charleston in Porto Prince the saga continues . . .
blood blood I say blood in the rectum bullets in the gut in the head the chest neck
And back

A rope a nightstick pepper spray
Or a lethal illegal injection from the State the state of tex ass where seldom is heard an encouraging word and the sky is cloudy all year how 'bout florida or new jersey or new york the city so nice they kill you twice

Next stop Ghana to the Congo to Zimbabwe
And back

Ted Wilson (Orange, NJ)

Meet the Author

Tony Medina is a poet, professor, activist, and author of ten books, including DeShawn Days, Love to Langston, and Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social and Political Black Literature & Art.

Louis Reyes Rivera is a professor of Pan African, Caribbean, Puerto Rican, and African American history and literature. A noted poet and essayist, he is the recipient of more than twenty citations, including a Special Congressional Recognition Award for his work as an activist poet. Def Poetry Jam is a multimedia poetry project featuring live showcases and jams across the country, a website, and other projects aimed at bringing poetry to new audiences.

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Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Quillie Stapleton More than 1 year ago
My life is spoken i always had a dream beside me i hate life is never compelte
stocknstuff More than 1 year ago
New poetry, unlike anything you've read unless you're familiar with the movement. Contemporary genius.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
In reading Bum Rush the Page, the reader feels as if being thrown into the audience of an open mic or poetry cipher that Medina and Reyes have masterfully organized. With a powerful foreword by Sonia Sanchez and poetry adorning even the invocation, the subtitle brings no false heat in declaring this work a `def poetry jam¿. The first portion of this anthology, entitled, Blood I Say, Sing Our Story, Sing this Song contains pieces that, much like the title, tell a story and have a narrative-like feel for them. Pieces that stand out specifically in this section are An Asian Am Anthem and And the Saga Continues, which capture the title and tell of history and pain. Emotionally charged pieces, such as On the Other Side and Lonely Women tell painful stories of domestic violence and love gone wrong. The accompanying section, Open Your Mouth and Smile, kicks of with poems such as 450 Years of Selective Memory (Smile) that begs the reader to smile amidst all of the reasons in the world to do just the opposite. Following this the sections, Every Word Must Conjure Up and Drums Drown Out the Sorrow both contain masterful works from poets young, old, near, and far. The climax of this anthology is reached in the section entitled, When the Definition of Madness is Love. When the poets of Bum Rush the Page speak of love, it is unlike anything I have ever heard before. The metaphoric content for happiness, love, tears, pain, and heartache is brought to a higher exponential level than ever thought possible. The reader can feel the sorrow and heartbreak in pieces such as The Hardest Part About Love or Bullet Hole Man. Emotion is felt at its highest point in this section, thus making it, in my opinion, the strongest. These poets truly know how to tug on reader¿s heartstrings. The sections that come after, We Whose Fathers Are Hidden, Seed of Resistance, Beauty is Moving Us Forward, It Was the Music that Made Us, and Children of the Word provide even more heartfelt work from poets who have captivating stories to tell and complicated emotions to free. Comical pieces, such as Owed to Eminem, show diversity in that these writings can not only make you cry, but they can make you laugh. Specifically, I would recommend this publication to people ages 16+ with an open mind Overall, I would recommend Bum Rush the Page to anyone who enjoys poetry and spoken word.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This collection of poetry is extremely inspiring. I fell in love with the repetition and feeling conveyed in '13' by Jennifer Murphy,and the subtle but strong meaning of 'Like a Dog' by Cheryl Boyce Taylor, among others.There were only a few that I couldn't really get into or I felt were over my head. But either way, after reading this book I felt pushed to write. The opening quote by Langston Hughes,'The prerequisite for writing is having something to say' is the case for all of these poems.What is important to one person, might not be to another, but that is what makes the sharing and expression of these opinions through poetry so great.The genre and styles of writing were so diverse, that if there was something you couldn't relate to on one page, on the next one you could.I enjoyed being able to see the words on the page the way the writer initially visualized it and then question the significance of their artistic choices.I have never seen Def Poetry Jam, but I can only imagine the impact that it has when performed live. Still, I feel that the act of reading poetry by yourself or with others is so much more personal and am glad I have this in my collection.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Let me start by saying I was never into Spoken Word poetry. I did like hip-hop but I never went out of my way for this type of poetry. One day I was flipping channels on my TV and a ran into Def Poetry Jam I was hooked right away. When I heard there was a book I didn¿t care how much it would cost I had to buy it. I love to read a lot and I have many books but this book is by far the tightest book I have ever read. I love it so much. I really love how there is so many poets from all around with so many styles there is something for everyone in this book from urban hip hop heads to people like me that just wants to get some goose bumps when I read poetry this good. This for sure is a must buy for anyone even if you think you might not really like def poetry its worth it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Some poetry is hard to read on the page because it needs to be recited out loud. But poems like 'A Poet is not a jukebox' by Dudley Randall are so tight they could be read out loud or on a page and still be flawless. Some poems were great! Others could've stayed in the poets head ('It's called Kings' by by Susana Cabanas). Overall, I thought the book was cool but the show is better by a long shot.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the most iconoclastic Poetry Anthology, since Upton Sinclair's "The Cry For Justice, An Anthology of the Great Social Protest Literature of All Time." It's a must read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is packed with so many talented poets displaying works that touch on various levels of life and pure human emotion! There is nothing else like this anywhere and I am proud to have it in my collection.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought the book a few days ago, and I am surprised at the number of unknown poets featured for just over 20 dollars. My favorite poems are works written by Fred Hampton Jr. called 'The Things I've Seen.' I also enjoy a peom called 'Bullet Hole Man' by an author I don't re-call. It was a love poem that captured the beauty and beast love affair between a sista who loves a 'drug-dealer or despised gang member.' There are ample poems in this book that people will enjoy and find entertaining as well as thought prokoking. I went on a date recently and we read different poems to one another in the book and the conversations it created made the date go excellent. She said my suggestion that we go out on a date with this book was the most unique and enjoying date she ever had! Thanks Russell for branding your def poetry jam to this complete work of TRUE poetry.