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May 10, Sarah rated it it was amazing Shelves: poetry. My lunchtime book. Oct 08, Cassie rated it it was amazing Shelves: poetry. May 09, Joe rated it it was amazing Shelves: poetry. The lights in the prison barracks Flick off, one by one. Jul 28, Seven rated it it was amazing. Apr 23, Danielle rated it really liked it Shelves: readsoullit , own , poetry , Review to come because I have thoughts. May 06, Stan rated it it was amazing. A brilliant book.

Knights poems are raw, dirty, funny, nasty beautiful like life itself. Oct 20, Walidah rated it it was amazing. This is one of the most powerful collections of poetry I've read in so long. I would finish a poem and say "Damn Etheridge! I read it through in a day, and then reread it the next morning. Aug 05, Carly Johnson rated it really liked it Shelves: poetry. Powerful poetry written mainly from prison. Jan 16, S. Gordon rated it really liked it. I read this book on MLK Day and discovered that my privilege does not make me immune to the power of this poet.

She played a recording of Mr. Knight reading his poem Ancestry accompanied by jazz. The upbeat music and his celebratory voice clashed with the pain of his words.

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I knew I had to read more. Through poetry this man found salvation and meanin I read this book on MLK Day and discovered that my privilege does not make me immune to the power of this poet. Through poetry this man found salvation and meaning in what would have otherwise been a tragic life.

He overcame poverty, racism, war, injury, addiction, prison, marginalization. His words speak across generations, across races, across classes, and unite us all in a common humanity. Thank you EK.

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Essential What happens if we listen first? I don't think I would have paid attention to these poems when I was in my 20s. The basis for my judgments would have been different then. Now, I think, the best of these poems show the tragedy of imprisonment, both in and out of prison. I wish this were a longer book. I want to read more of Knight's poetry.

Mar 01, Cate rated it it was amazing Shelves: borrowed.

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Jul 25, Ian Carpenter rated it it was amazing. So good. And Belly Song just knocks my socks off. He's incredible. Mar 04, tortoise dreams rated it it was amazing. Etheridge Knight was a black American poet.

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He was seriously wounded in Korea, became an addict, was sent to prison for armed robbery, and there started writing poems. None of the facts given above are reasons to read the poetry in The Essential Etheridge Knight. The reason to read his poetry are the poems, not his history.

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Even Etheridge Knight was a black American poet. Even with two volumes, there's no room for Etheridge Knight, he's not been anointed by the academics as one of them. Instead, he's himself. A man of the streets, a black man in 60's America, a soldier, a junkie, an inmate, and yes, a poet. Torn between what he wants to do and what he has to do, Knight is well aware of the role of the black American poet. He writes hard, sharp metaphors, describing Malcolm X: "The sun came But his rhymes aren't random, they fit an oral tradition of poetry that escapes the paper prison of the page there are clips on YouTube of Etheridge Knight reciting these poems.

Hear his anger and love especially one called Ilu, the Talking Drum -- read it aloud, you'll be glad you did.

Etheridge Knight's poems include folk tales, bigger than life mythic characters who beat the system even if only temporarily , and put it over on society. He writes like a big man, with big feelings and big passions. His poems are made of family and lovers, the healing, saving power of love over pain.


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As did Richard Wright, Etheridge Knight likes to use the haiku form, tho he's a little freer with it than Wright was. Here's a couple: The wire fence is tall. He's that cliche of the vulnerable tough guy, but while reading these poems you'll never think it's a cliche. The poems in The Essential Etheridge Knight embody humor, drugs, sex, poverty, black revolution, love, and most of all his life. This is not the poetry you're supposed to read, it's the poetry you need to read. Dec 02, Sam rated it really liked it Shelves: african-american , fun-lit , poetry.

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I came to Mr. Knight with a strong recommendation, and I will hopefully pass that recommendation on in the future because this is a poet worth reading. I would give this collection somewhere between a 4 and a 5-star rating. Since it's a selected poems, the book covers a range of themes. I ended up preferring the earlier poems I believe they were written while he was in prison , but his entire corpus would be worth investigating. Given that Knight was a politically-active and incarcerated black I came to Mr. Given that Knight was a politically-active and incarcerated black man in the s, it's not surprising that topics like race and prison, and words like "revolution," are frequent features of his verses.

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Some works are tied to specific events, like those that mark the funerals of MLK Jr. Many of the poems are strongly sexual, but they are just as likely to have a violent undertone as erotic. Love sometimes is affectionate, but oftentimes seen from the back as it walks out the door "Feeling Fucked Up". Knight also wrote haiku was this common at the time?

I know that Richard Wright also did , some of which are striking: "The wire fence is tall. And with so many suffering the tyranny of some past event or anxieties about the future, what a gift being in the moment can be, especially then if a jewel can be slipped into your pocket by some magi'sbrush stroke, writings, sculpture, instrument, or ballet step. Hafiz helps us inherit a treasure that is already ours, decreed at birth; and he speaks directly about that in some of his poems — how to file your claim! I have published around Hafiz rendering-poems in six books. And the impetus behind every single line of Hafiz I ever wrote is to help light a candle in your heart, to assist our perennial need to have fun, laugh and dance, "to lift the corners of your mouth.

His love for us is time tested and keeps encouraging and can inspire. He helps us to forgive those we have yet to forgive. And honour those we have yet to honour.


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And his herculean strength, his enlightenment, will rub off on you so that you too wish and discover yourself more able never to harm another via sound or movement.