'I think that through the listening of a poem or the reading of a poem about the woes of the world , we can be inspired to find the wonderful in ourselves and in each other.' Poet Kwame Alexander talks about his new book of poetry about race in America.
In Light For The World To See: A Thousand Words On Race And Hope, Kwame Alexander writes of the killing of George Floyd, Colin Kaepernick's kneeling protests, and the election of Barack Obama.
On why he wrote this book of poemsI think the weight of being Black was too much to carry for me for a long time. I didn't know how to find answers to assert myself to do something. And then a friend of mine sent me a quote by Toni Morrison that said this is precisely the time when artists go to work. There's no time for despair. No place for self pity. No need for silence. No room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language, that is how civilizations heal. And so I wrote. I used my words to scream, to shout, to sort of lift up my voice to shine a little light for the world.
I wanted to write this as a reminder to Black children and families to remember their humanity. I wanted to write it as sort of a wake-up call to white Americans to acknowledge and know the truth, to fight against a proclivity to maintain the hierarchy, whether conscious or not. I think of these poems as sort of negro spirituals in a way — which are timeless in their comfort and their guidance and their roots in praise houses and ring shouts and other informal gatherings of enslaved Africans who needed to express their sorrows and their hopes, wading in the water.
Nobody knows the trouble I've seen.Steal away to Jesus. That's what these poems are for me. They are psalms and balms for my soul and hopefully for our souls so that we can get on with the business of making the world a better place.On the parallels he sees in James Baldwin's headtopics.comRead more: NPR »
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Wow. That poem was powerful magic. I’ll be searching for your book, kwamealexander. It's got the feel of a traffic report from Mama Lookabooboday Please take a moment to listen to this truly beautiful and moving segment. Not only will it ground you, but also it will lift your spirits. (Running to vromans later to pick up several copies of kwamealexander 's new book for family and friends.)
Hard pass good Basketball Rule 3 Never let anyone lower your goals. Others' expectations of you are determined by their limitations of life. The sky is your limit, sons. Always shoot for the sun and you will shine. Kwame Alexander Your reporter EmilyZFeng is on crack, go drug test her and fire her. That poem and the reading was great. Thank you.
Woe: Trump is President. Wonderful: He won't be soon.