African American Review - Summer/Fall 2003
- Issue Number: Volume 37, Numbers 2-3
- Published Date: Summer/Fall 2003
- Review by: John Palen
I remember reading about the controversy over Amiri Baraka’s poem, “Somebody Blew Up America,” written and performed after 9-11 and after Baraka’s appointment as poet laureate of New Jersey. One line in the poem— “Who told 4000 Israeli workers at the Twin Towers / to stay home that day”—was condemned as anti-Semitic and led, ultimately, to Baraka’s sacking as poet laureate. In this issue, African American Review explores not only that incident (and whether it is legitimate to condemn Baraka as anti-Semitic), but they publish several controversial Baraka poems, an interview with Baraka, and essays covering the range of Baraka’s career as a poet and radical. Among the most notable poems, “Somebody Blew Up America” and “The McVouty Bible,” both showcasing Baraka’s anger and politics. My favorite essay was “Sometimes Funny, But Most Times Deadly Serious: Amiri Baraka as Political Satirist” by Jiton Sharmayne Davidson, which explores the history of Baraka’s satire, from his earliest, humorous attempts to his latest jabs at former New York Mayor Giuliani. [African American Review, Saint Louis University, Shannon Hall 119, 220 N. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63103-2007. E-mail: . Single issue $12. http://aar.slu.edu/] - JPReturn to List.