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Poetry insurrection: words rise up against oppression
Literature Today - and Yesterday...
'Still I Rise' by Maya Angelou (1987, Live performance)
(Final poem from 'Maya Angelou - Live and Unplugged') Still I Rise You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I'll rise. Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom? ’Cause I walk like I've got oil wells Pumping in my living room. Just like moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high, Still I'll rise. Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes? Shoulders falling down like teardrops, Weakened by my soulful cries? Does my haughtiness offend you? Don't you take it awful hard ’Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines Diggin’ in my own backyard. You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I’ll rise. Does my sexiness upset you? Does it come as a surprise That I dance like I've got diamonds At the meeting of my thighs? Out of the huts of history’s shame I rise Up from a past that’s rooted in pain I rise I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide, Welling and swelling I bear in the tide. Leaving behind nights of terror and fear I rise Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear I rise Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise I rise I rise. [There I go!] (Last line not in original poem)
The Masque of Anarchy by Percy Bysshe Shelley narrated by Malc Cowle
In the month of August in 1819, Manchester's leading Magistrates disgraced that town in the eyes of the civilised world. Over sixty-thousand peaceful working men, women and children demonstrating for Parliamentary Reform had assembled on Saint Peter's Fields. They were slashed with sabres, trampled by horses and crushed to death by panic for having the temerity to do so. Shelley wrote The Masque of Anarchy as a result. Not surprisingly, many workers of the subsequent period could recite every single verse, word for word, and the scarcely hidden revolutionary message they contain wasn't lost on them. As a result Manchester and Salford took the lead in the struggle to advance the rights of working children, men and women and spear-headed the fight for social justice, universal suffrage and Parliamentary Reform. Video by the workers at www.penandmouth.com
Mathematics || Spoken Word by @holliepoetry
A poem on immigration based on personal experience and studies. The poem owes a lot to a book by economist Philippe Legrain called Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them. Mathematics He says "those god damn pakistanis and their goddamn corner shops Built a shop on every corner took our British workers jobs He says those godamn Chinese and their goddamn china shops I tell him theyre from Vietnam but he doesn't give a toss I ask him what was there before that damn Japan mans shop He stares at me and dreams a scene of British workers jobs Of full time full employment before the godamn boats all came Where everybody went to work full time every day A British Business stood their first he claims before the Irish came Now British people lost their jobs and bloody turkish are there to blame I ask him how he knows that fact he says because it's true I ask him how he knows the fact he says he read it in the news Everytime a Somalian comes here they take a job from us The mathematics one for one, from us to them it just adds up He bites his cake and sips is brew and says again he knows the spot The godamn Carribeans came and now good folk here don't have jobs I ask him what was there before the goddamn Persian curtain shop I show him architectures plans of empty godamn plots of land I show him the historic maps A bit of sand, a barren land There was no goddamn shop before those pakistanis came and planned Man I'm sick of crappy mathematics Cos I love a bit of sums I spent three years into economics And I geek out over calculus And when I meet these paper claims That one of every new that came Takes away ones daily wage I desperately want to scream "Your maths is stuck in primary" Cos one who comes here also spends And one who comes here also lends And some who comes here also tend To set up work which employs them And all your balance sheets and trends Work with numbers not with men And all your goddamn heated talk Ignores the trade the Polish brought Ignores the men they gave work to Not plumbing jobs but further too Ignores the ones they buy stock from Accountants, builders, on and on And I know it's nice to have someone To blame our lack of jobs upon But immigrations not as plain Despite the sums inside your brain As one for one, as him or you As if he goes, they'll employ you Cos sometimes one that comes makes two And sometimes one can add three more And sometimes two times two is much much more Than four And most times immigrants bring more Than minuses.
Obiodun Oyewole - Joe's Pub (9.3.12)
Saul Williams and his band of poets did a reading at Joe's Pub to celebrate the release of the anthology "Chorus." The honor of invocation and first poem went to Obiodun Oyewole, member of The Last Poets and grandfather of rap. Video by Kevin Yatarola http://www.kebya.com
The Insurrection of Poetry
Chrys Salt reads her poem ' The Insurrection of Poetry'. It features in "A Kist of Thistles: An anthology of radical poetry from contemporary Scotland", edited by Jim Aitken, 196 pps. ISBN: 978-1-912710-32-4 Price: £10 plus £3 p. and p., available from the Culture Matters website, www.culturematters.org.uk.
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