April 12, 2016

Friday, April 2, 2010

National Poetry Month 50 State Tour: The Real Poets of New Jersey

Full disclosure as we head into New Jersey, third state on our National Poetry Month tour. I was born in Teaneck, in the shadow of New York, NY. (That's a photo of Farleigh Dickinson University, where my dad used to teach when I was little).

I may not have the big hair, or the accent, but I'll always be a Jersey Girl.

We've got awesome diners, Walt Whitman (who has his own rest stop), the Shore, William Carlos Williams, the Boss and Bon Jovi, the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, the Jersey Devil, Allen Ginsberg, Renee Ashley poet laureate.

We're like an All-Star Poetry Team with no captain.

Jersey -- you're breaking my heart here.

We used to have a poet laureate position. The last one was Amiri Baraka. His anti-semitic rant at the 2002 Dodge Poetry Festival was hurtful and stupid (the Dodge crowd is typically P.C. -- Poetically Correct leaning greenly left.)

But, New Jersey, you hired a political poet for the job and you got one. Baraka has never been P.C. Truth in advertising, is all I'm saying. Read the whole tale of woe here (and Baraka's rebuttal, to be fair.)

Here is Amiri Baraka reading his Ode to Obama.

New Jersey -- I hope you give the whole poet laureate thing another try. There are plenty of poets to choose from. Just one piece of advice -- one I give my 13-year-old every night -- "Do your homework!" I'm sorry to do this to you, but you're going on my Wall of Shame.

We're off to Georgia and Connecticut tomorrow. After all that drama, I need a rest!


Anonymous said...

Such a great idea for National Poetry Month. Looking forward to all the wonderful reads.

Author Amok said...

Thanks, Susan. I'm having a great time reading some poets who are new to me. And the poetry is as diverse as the states are.