COLTRANE AND NADHIRI

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[By: Jerry W. Ward Jr.] It might be argued that Langston Hughes’s Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1971) can make readers more attentive to combinations of words and music and to the issues of response and interpretation broached in Stephen Henderson’s Understanding the New Black Poetry: Black Speech and Black Music as Poetic References (New York: William Morrow, 1973). More recent critical discussions […]

The Decarceration of Black America: Notes to a Native Son

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  [By: Jerry W. Ward, Jr.] A Preface Q: Should one give critical attention to a stylistically and rhetorically flawed book by a self-proclaimed left-wing Conservative? A: Yes. Q:  Why? A:  If the book tries to examine reasons for “mass incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” from a black Republican or independently conservative  point of view, it merits attention rather than self-righteous silence.  The book’s failure to meet the […]

Reading the dystopia wherein you live (revisited)

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[By: Jerry W. Ward, Jr.] Since January 20, 2017, it is quite fashionable to talk about Donald J. Trump under the influence of reading dystopian or apocalyptic fictions.  There is the possibility that what fifty years ago was accepted as “the news” is now a blatant form of social fiction.  Broadcast from every ideological angle, what seems to be the news is replete with alternative facts and […]

The Joy of Refusing

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[By: Jerry W. Ward Jr.] From a pre-future vantage, one can discover the joy of refusing. Refusing or resisting is neither an innate virtue nor a vice, despite the fact that one must ultimately account for the moral properties of one’s actions . Refusing is an opportunity to live with the alternatives that might better identify one’s historicity. Consider the outcomes of refusing to read […]

GUEST BLOG: A NOTE TO CONGRESS

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[By Jerry W. Ward, Jr.] Dear  Congresspersons:                 Either indirectly or directly, all of you are responsible for creating the political climate that encouraged American citizens, with the help of the Electoral College, to elect President Trump.  In the spirit of trying to perpetuate  a liberal democracy , citizens voted.  A number of feel cheated. We have been cheated as  the MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN mantra resounds throughout  the United States. In this Republic, which […]

Lorenzo Thomas (1944-2005)

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[Jerry W. Ward Jr.] Lorenzo Thomas (1944-2005) As I reread a few of Lorenzo Thomas’s essays and poems, I recall  the first line of Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” —      “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving                hysterical naked….” The single word in the beginning of Ginsberg’s semi-autobiographical, derivative tribute to Walt Whitman […]

Strong Readers Reading the Difficult Long Poem

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A metronome does not measure the pleasure of reading a long poem. The pleasure exists, outside of time, in a reader’s total aesthetic experience of bringing something to the poem and taking away much more than she or he arrived with. Only strong readers survive, and some of them opt to transform knowledge gained into actions. Others hoard their intellectual wealth. In American time-and-capital-driven cultures […]