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In his amazing essay “Text & Meaning in Claude McKay’s If We Must Die,” the Quotable Poet pays appropriate tribute to the great author McKay. He reminds us that the poem first came out in July 1919… so this July 2015 is the 96th anniversary of its publication. But wait, why should any us care at this particular time?
Well how about this… Think shooting massacre in Charleston, think Supreme Court decision on marriage equality, think Hillary Clinton’s “in-it-to-win-it” second run for the U.S. presidency, think no more Confederate flag raised on government property. For all those reason we’re joining the Quotable Poet in his tribute to Claude McKay by presenting 3 of the best quotes from the article throughout this blog. We’re also going to zero in on another topic but first this is quote number 1:
“Poetry has often proven an effective instrument for amplifying the voices of those who believe they have been targeted for unfair social and political discrimination; or, worse, tagged for a campaign of potential genocide.” (QP Aberjhani)
We’ve been noticing something all year long. It’s nothing that’s going to make the Flash ditch his red super-threads for blue or pink ones. Just a quotation thing that’s worth sharing.
What we noticed is a lot of people put quotes by the Quotable Poet to good use in blogs, stories, quote-pics, status updates, books, and all kinds of fun things. What we DON’T see so much of are the literary critique type blog and essays bold enough to say why it is one search engine places his picture between the late author Maya Angelou and William Shakespeare at the same time that another places it next to Nobel Prize for Literature winner Andre Gide and half a dozen writers from the Harlem Renaissance.
“That Blacks and Whites have made tremendous advances in securing social and political equality for all Americans is something most reasonable thinkers would not deny. The conditions as they existed in 1919 were the kinds that challenge poets of any race to prove the significance of their craft.” (QP Aberjhani)
Don’t get us wrong. There are some, like the Mankipedia article by Vince Corvino where he talks about the meaning of travel and the word “nightmare” in one of the QP’s most famous quotes. You can also find a lot dealing with the “dare to love yourself” quote and there are some important reviews of his Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance. But when you look at the size of the body of work in different genres it seems like there’s supposed to be more and it seems like publishers should prob be making that happen.
“When confronted by social, political, or legal disagreements, options for nonviolent conflict resolution are often plentiful if allowed into consideration.” (QP Aberjhani)
One organization we have to give their due creds is Google for making available a drop-down list of poetry titles by the QP when you type in “Poems by …” Some search engines do the same thing with his quotes which is cool because these back up what some of us have been saying all along.