Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam

Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam

4.8 10
by Tony Medina
     
 

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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…  See more details below

Overview

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


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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

ISBN-13:
9780307565648
Publisher:
Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony
Publication date:
04/23/2009
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
File size:
2 MB

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)


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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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.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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