Posts Tagged ‘poet’

Controversial Poet Amiri Baraka Coming to San Francisco’s Main Public Library This Sunday

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

Poet, activist and essayist and former SFSU Lecturer Amiri Baraka (or the Amiri Baraka) is coming to the San Francisco Public Library at the Main Branch this Sunday, Nov. 8, at 1 p.m -  Koret Auditorium, 100 Larkin Street. He’ll be discussing the first year of the presidency of Barack Obama.

Interestingly, Wiki has a whole section devoted to Amiri Baraka called “controversy” – you might find it worthy of note. See below.

amiribw
Via Wikipedia:

“The following is from a 1965 essay:

Most American white men are trained to be fags. For this reason it is no wonder their faces are weak and blank. … The average ofay [white person] thinks of the black man as potentially raping every white lady in sight. Which is true, in the sense that the black man should want to rob the white man of everything he has. But for most whites the guilt of the robbery is the guilt of rape. That is, they know in their deepest hearts that they should be robbed, and the white woman understands that only in the rape sequence is she likely to get cleanly, viciously popped.”

“More recently he has replied to questions about this quote with:

Those quotes are from the essays in Home, a book written almost fifty years ago. The anger was part of the mindset created by, first, the assassination of John Kennedy, followed by the Assassination of Patrice Lumumba, followed by the assassination of Malcolm X amidst the lynching, and national oppression. A few years later, the assassination of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. What changed my mind was that I became a Marxist, after recognizing classes within the Black community and the class struggle even after we had worked and struggled to elect the first Black Mayor of Newark, Kenneth Gibson”

So much for ancient history. Here’s a bit from this decade:

“Amiri Baraka was Poet Laureate of New Jersey at the time of the September 11, 2001 attacks. He wrote a poem titled “Somebody Blew Up America” about the event. The poem was controversial and highly critical of racism in America, and includes angry depictions of public figures such as Trent Lott, Clarence Thomas, and Condoleezza Rice. The poem also contains lines claiming Israel’s involvement in the World Trade Center attacks:

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?
[...]
Who know why Five Israelis was filming the explosion
And cracking they sides at the notion

O.K. fine. Here are the deets from the SPL:

“In a rare West Coast appearance, poet, playwright, essayist and political activist Amiri Baraka will deliver a historic speech on the nation’s first African-American president, Barack Obama, at the San Francisco Public Library. Appearing this Sunday, Nov. 8, at 1 p.m. in the Main Library’s Koret Auditorium, 100 Larkin St., San Francisco, Baraka’s presentation is titled, “We Are Already in the Future! Barack Obama: Year One.”

In 2008, during the primary and general election cycles, Baraka surprised, delighted and provoked his friends and enemies with a series of rigorous, inventive and powerfully deciphering essays on then-candidate Obama. With this unique event, Baraka will revisit those essays, and bring his keen, and always original, interpretation of the Obama Presidency in its first year.

A transitional figure from the Beat Generation and Civil Rights Era, Baraka is known as the father of the Black Arts Movement. Baraka is also one of the true giants of international poetry and a towering presence in the U.S. The talk will be immediately followed by a discussion with literary producer Justin Desmangles, and conclude with a question and answer session with the audience.

Grand Re-Opening of the Richmond Branch Library, Home of the Ann Coulter Collection

Friday, May 15th, 2009

Well, the Richmond Branch of the San Francisco Public Library will once again be open to the public starting tomorrow afternoon at 1:00 PM. Check it:

“Mark your calendars now! The Richmond / Senator Milton Marks Branch will re-open Saturday, May 16, with a spectacular opening party featuring music, entertainment, refreshments and lion dancers. Located at 351 Ninth Ave., the branch has been closed for a renovation that adds 4,000 square feet to the building and includes seismic strengthening, accessibility improvements, and energy-efficiency and technology upgrades.”

We’ve got your grandeur right here in spades:

“VITA SINE LITERIS MORS EST” means Give a Hoot Read a Book or Life Without Learning (Literature?) is Death, one of those.

Kicking it old-school, baby:

Now about controversial writer Ann Coulter. Can you see her book Guilty: Liberal “Victims” and Their Assault on America prominently displayed? It jumps right out at you as you walk in. This might be the entire collection of Coulterana in the whole county.

The branch’s expansion will allow for enhanced services, including an increase in the collection size with more teen, audiovisual and Chinese and Russian materials.

The branch will now have two new study rooms; a spacious new lobby at the 10th Avenue entrance; additional public restrooms; and a designated teen room. A large program room is included, creating a new neighborhood venue for events. The historic integrity of this 1914 Carnegie landmark has been maintained and the building restored to its original grandeur.

See you there!

Gavin Newsom Names San Francisco Poet Laureate #5: Diane di Prima

Friday, May 15th, 2009

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and City Librarian Luis Herrera honored Poet, Prose Writer, Playwright and Teacher Diane di Prima today at the recently refurbished Richmond Branch Library on 9th Avenue. She is now officially the fifth San Francisco Poet Laureate.

The mise en scene – our new old Carnegie Library at 361 9th Avenue betwixt Geary blvd. and Clement. FYI, the Grand Re-Opening is tomorrow at 1:00 PM. Click to expand:

The San Francisco Poet Laureate program was started up by former Mayor of San Francisco Willie Brown. Others so honored over the years have been Jack Hirschman, Janice Mirikitani, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and devorah major.

Reading Rant from Pieces of a Song: “The only war that matters is the war against the imagination. All other wars are subsumed in it.”

Some of Ms di Prima’s original paperbacks are quite pricey these days. Here’s what’s she’s been up to:

A bibliography

This Kind of Bird Flies Backward, Totem Press, New York, 1958
Various Fables from Various Places, (editor), G.P. Putnam, New York, 1960
Dinners and Nightmares, Corinth Press, New York, 1961
The New Handbook of Heaven, Auerhahn Press, San Francisco, 1962
The Man Condemned to Death, (translator), no press listed, New York, 1963
Poets’ Vaudeville, Feed Folly Press, New York, 1964
Seven Love Poems from the Middle Latin, Poets Press, 1965
Haiku, Love Press, Topanga, CA, 1966
New Mexico Poem, Poets Press, New York, 1967
Earthsong, Poets Press, New York, 1968
Hotel Albert, Poets Press, New York, 1968
War Poems (editor), Poets Press, New York, 1968
Memoirs of a Beatnik, Olympia Press, Paris and New York, 1969
L.A. Odyssey, Poets Press, San Francisco, 1969
The Book of Hours, Brownstone Press, New York 1970
Kerhonkson Journal, Oyez, Berkeley, 1971
Revolutionary Letters, City Lights Books, San Francisco, 1971, 1974, 1979
The Calculus of Variation, Eidolon Editions, San Francisco, 1972
Loba, Part I, Capra Press, Santa Barbara, 1973
The Floating Bear: a Newsletter (editor), Laurence McGilvery, La Jolla, 1973
Freddie Poems, Eidolon Editions, Point Reyes, 1974
Brass Burnace Going Out, Pulp artforms-Intrepid Press, Buffalo, 1975
Selected Poems: 1956-1975, North Atlantic Books, Plainfield, VT, 1975
Loba, Part II, Eidolon Editions, Point Reyes, 1976
The Loba As Eve, The Phoenix Book Shop, New York, 1977
Selected Poems: 1956-1976, North Atlantic Books, Plainfield, VT 1977
Loba: Parts 1 – 8,  [Book I] Wingbow Press, Berkeley, 1978
Memoirs of a Beatnik (revised), Last Gasp Press, San Francisco, 1988
Wyoming Series, Eidolon Editions, San Francisco, 1988
The Mysteries of Vision, Am Here Books, Santa Barbara, 1988
Pieces of a Song: Selected Poems, City Lights Books, San Francisco, 1990
Seminary Poems, Floating Island, Point Reyes, 1991
The Mask Is the Path of the Star, Thinker Review Internatl, Louisville, 1993
Loba, [Parts 1 - 16, Books I & II] Penguin, New York, 1998
Dinners and Nightmares [expanded edition], Last Gasp, 1998
Recollections of My Life as a Woman: The New York Years, Viking, NY 2001
Fun with Forms [ltd. ed.] Eidolon Editions, San Francisco, 2001
Towers Down (with Clive Matson) Eidolon Editions, San Francisco, 2002
The Ones I Used to Laugh With, Habenicht Press, San Francisco 2003
TimeBomb, Eidolon Editions, San Francisco, 2006

Look for Diane at the Excelsior Branch Library in Wednesday, May 27, 2009 at 7:00 PM for an “informal talk/ reading” called “Taking Dictation.” 

And a more formal inauguration of her new title is forthcoming.

Congratulations Diane di Prima!