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Black Portfolio

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FC: http://awesomedc.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/africa.jpg "Wise I" by Amiri Baraka

1: WHYS (Nobody Knows The Trouble I Seen) Traditional If you ever find yourself, some where lost and surrounded by enemies who won't let you speak your own language who destroy your statues & instruments, who ban your omm bomm ba boom then you are in trouble deep trouble they ban your own boom ba boom you in deep deep trouble humph! probably take you several hundred years to get out!

2: Amiri Baraka | Born 1937 in Newark, NJ. | "It has been said that Amiri Baraka is committed to social justice like no other American writer."

3: Political Activist who has written over 40 literary works. | Has lectured on political and cultural matters in the US, the Caribbean, Africa, and Europe. | Some of the people who have influenced his work are Malcolm X, Sun Ra, and John Coltrane. | Creator of the Black Arts Movement in Harlem in the 1960s. | "He has taught at Yale, Columbia, and the State University of New York at Stony Brook."

4: "If you ever find yourself, some where lost and surrounded..." | When starting to read the poem for the first time, without background information, it is not necessarily obvious that the poem will be about slavery and discrimination. The lines of the poem end abruptly, which make the reader read the poem slowly, and really absorb the content as they go.

5: "by enemies who won't let you speak in your own language..." | After the first three lines, the reader gets a sense that the poem could be about slavery. In these three lines, Baraka is referring to the fact that Africans were taken from their country, and were expected to speak English if they were to speak at all.

6: "who destroy your statues & instruments, who ban your omm bomm ba boom..." | The author sets up his poem with an extremely long run on sentence, which keeps the reader waiting for some large climax. Baraka also uses onomatopoeia to describe the music of the Africans. Music in this poem symbolizes all of the African culture. In this quote, the speaker is saying how the white men destroyed the African lifestyle and culture by banning the African's art and music. As the reader continues reading, the poem evolves into a bitter tone as the speaker continues to list off all of the horrible things the white men made their slaves go through.

7: "then you are in trouble deep trouble they ban your boom ba boom you in deep deep trouble..." | Baraka uses repetition to emphasize: 1) the "boom ba boom" taken away from the slaves 2) and the "trouble" that the Africans are in because of the white men.

8: "humph!" | Baraka uses sound to make the poem sound conversational and personal. The "humph!" emphasizes the exasperation and annoyance the speaker has for the way his ancestors were treated. | "probably take you several hundred years to get out!" | In the last sentence of the poem, Baraka is saying that even though slavery ended a long time ago, African Americans are still looked down upon. This poem was written in 1995, and although we practice equal rights, it is still true that racism is still a factor today.

9: SOAPSTone | Speaker- an African American living in modern day; possibly the author. | Occasion- The poem takes place in modern day and in the United States. | *Uses dialect to indicate speaker.- "You in deep deep/ trouble" | The poet suggests it has been a long time since slavery has ended, when he writes: Probably taker you several hundred years/ to get/ out/

10: Audience- the speaker could be directing his conversation at anyone. His poem is hypothetical- asking "WHAT IF this happened to you. Purpose- Baraka's goal is to drive home the point that even today African Americans are being treated as if they were inferior to white men. In the last sentence of his poem, he emphasizes how it could take hundreds of years before the repercussions of slavery are rectified.

11: Subject- the poet offers his thoughts about slavery and civil rights. If you ever find yourself, some where lost and surrounded by enemies... probably take you several hundred years to get out (lines 1-4 and 17-19) | Tone- sarcastic The way Baraka writes the poem suggests slavery was a hypothetical situation, or not a big deal- when in reality it was a major issue.

12: Poetical devices

13: Onomatopoeia- (omm bomm ba boom) uses drum sounds to emphasize African music and culture. | line breaks(free verse)- although the poem is only 2 sentences long, there are short choppy lines. Where the lines break seem to be random. These breaks make the audience read the poem slowly and absorb the context. | Dialect- Baraka makes the speaker sound African American, and changes some of the words to do so. you in deep deep trouble (lines 14-15) | Repetition- the repetition of several words indicates that they are important. The author emphasizes twice that you're in trouble (lines 11-12 and 14-15) and that they take away your omm bomm baboom (9 and 13).

14: "Amiri Baraka- Poets.org - Poetry, Poems, Bios & More." Amiri Baraka- Poets.org - Poetry, Poems, Bios & More. Web. 06 June 2012. . "Amiri Baraka-Bio." Amiri Baraka-Bio. Web. 06 June 2012. . | Bibliography:

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  • Title: Black Portfolio
  • Poetry Explication
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  • Published: almost 6 years ago