Friday, June 13, 2014

Responses to Amiri Baraka's poetry

Today, we read and listened Amiri Baraka's "Jungle Jim Flunks His Screen Test," "Dope," and "Digging Max." What follows are responses to the poems, and suggestions from the Fellows on what to look and listen for while covering the pieces.

"Jungle Jim Flunks His Screen Test"
Readers should explore how Amiri Baraka applies descriptions of a multifaceted "ugly" throughout his poem "Jungle Jim Flunks His Screen Test." They should seek to understand how Baraka 'plays the dozens' on the ugliness of political figures and capitalism, and also through his use of menacing images as he describes comparisons to ugly. Readers should analyze the purpose of the poem as Baraka shows how the unstated 'You' is stained by the various falsities of the world.- Candace Chambers
Amiri Baraka's "Jungle Jim Flunks His Screen Test" uses swift lines within mountainous stanzas to critique the outcomes of Colonialism in a ruthless, yet whimsical manner. The middle of the 8th stanza,"You think stealing make you better/looking,. Lying gives you an orgasm. Only Pain make/you smile," followed by, "'Nature made me like this,' You Say./Naturally everything denies it," in the final stanza suggests the desire to colonize and rule over others is unnatural. Furthermore, when examining those lines, Baraka offers that Whiteness, thought to be the pinnacle of society and humanity, is the least natural phenomena on earth because of the destruction it caused. - Josalynn Smith

In Amiri Baraka’s poem “Dope” look for the phrase “must be the devil” as an ironic reference to popular white leaders and the white community. The poems speakers style is that of a black preacher, claiming that the corruption in the black communities is because of the “devil” not the white leaders. However after the speaker claims it “must be the devil” he names specific white leaders or government officials, showing how he really sees the white people as the true evil. --Alesia Alexander

To understand the lime one really has to question themselves on how they understand New Media, preaching, and anything that they have been told. Once they have really thought about that, then they need to think of ways in which that could be wrong or distorted. --Deontez Q. Wimbley

"Digging Max"
Reverence, admiration, and recollection are just a few concepts that appear in Baraka's "Digging Max." This piece stands as a form of appreciation and thanks to those who stand firm in Black consciousness. Amiri Baraka stated, "Thats why we call him Max, the ultimate, the furthest star. the eternal, the visible invisible, the message from afar," to reveal to us that Max is an image of the immortality of the Black conscience. --Amber Walker
In "Digging Max," Baraka is a radical a poet incorporating jazz and rhythmic repetition to deliver a powerful message about black consciousness. He uses cataloging of many black jazz musicians and a lot of black verbal culture to relate to his audience. Both his message and delivery are explosive in his performance, signifying examples of arcane black theology. --Mariah Hill

AALCI 2014


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