I need to compare a Saul Williams poem to a Langston Hughes poem. Help!?
n 1921, James Weldon Johnson wrote of “the need for Aframerican poets in the United States to work out a new and distinctive form of expression.” Do you think that Langston Hughes met the need articulated by Johnson? (If you like, you can also apply Johnson’s question to the poems of Saul Williams, which we will discuss on April 23.) Please write a 700 word essay that compares two of Hughes’s poems, or one poem by Hughes and one by Williams. The comparison needs to focus on the ways that both poems are products of poetic traditionalism and of the innovation of the Harlem Renaissance and, perhaps, hip-hop. Please support your essay with ample evidence from the poems, and please document according to MLA guidelines. Enjoy this essay, if such a thing is possible! The topic is an important one, but the essay should be viewed as a more thoughtful, coherent version of a journal entry.
Saul Williams is a successful, working young poet. You won’t find much of his stuff for free on line. I found one piece, so everybody is going to do this one.
I checked my library. We have him. I put a “hold” on SAID THE SHOTGUN TO THE HEAD.
I’ll bet there’s some whoppers in there.
by Saul Williams
the greatest Americans
have not been born yet
they are waiting patiently
for the past to die
please give blood
those crumbled tablets
were to share a story
with a burning Bush
where is that voice from nowhere to remind us
that the holy ground we walk on, purified by native blood has rooted trees
whose fallen leaves now colour code a sacred list of demands?
who among us can give translation of autumn’s hues to morning news?
the anchor man
has simply rooted us in history’s repeating cycle
a nation in its Saturn years that won’t acknowledge karma
where is that voice from nowhere, the ones your prophets spoke of?
there are voices from fear
disconnected from their diaphragms
dangling from coffee covered teeth
that spill into our laps
and scorch our privates
there are voices from the sides of necks
some already noosed
pronouns running for sentence serving life in corner offices
and ghetto corners
their voices are the same:
dead to themselves numb to the possibility of truth
existing beyond that which can be palmed into your hand, period.
there are voices of elders
which seem to do no more
than damn us to our childish ways for in many households wisdom no longer
comes with age
so where is that voice from nowhere?
that burning bush?
that passing dove?
for i hear generals calling for ammunition presidents calling for arms and
women calling for help
where is that voice from nowhere?
that god of abraham?
can he be heard over the gunfire
the wizz of passing missiles
the crash of buildings
the cries of children
the crack of bones
the shriek of sirens
or is that his mighty voice?
your angry god craving the sacrifice of generation’s sons degenerate
your holy books
written in red ink
on burning sands
your prayers between rounds do no more than fasten the fate of your children
to the hammered truth of your trigger
a truth that mushrooms
it’s darkened cloud
over the rest of us
so that we too bear witness to the short lived fate
of a civilization that worships a male god
your weapons are phallic
all of them
that dummie that sits
on your lap is no longer
a worthwhile spectacle
his shrunken pale face
leaves little room for imagination
we have spotted your moving lips and have pinned the voice to it’s proper source
it is a source of madness
a source of hunger for power
a source of weakness
a source of evil
we have exited your coliseum and are encircling your box office demanding
our families back
our cultures back
our rituals back
our gods back
so that we may return them to their proper source
the source of life
the source of creation
our mother’s womb
the great goddess
we will cut through
the barbed wire hangers
and chastity belts
we will climb in and
incubate our spirits
through the winter
we will wait through
the degenerate course
of your repeated history
we will wait
for the past