NaPoWriMo#10: Pantoum for 1979


afrika bambaataa
Originally uploaded by Foxtongue

I’m really not entering new territory here with this pantoum but it was one of the writing exercises from my poetry class today at Berkeley City College and I feel it works well on its own.

We started today’s class by talking about “Speech Act” and the fact that two-thirds of the class needed to be enlightened about how what we say and how we say it can impact the world around us has me wondering how people can enter a poetry class and not think about its consequences.  We then moved on to a discussion of Kim Addonizio’s pantoum “My Childhood.” I wasn’t exactly feelin’ this poem.  It was way too vague with the details and didn’t do what I like my pantoums to do: wrestle with memory.  Addonizio’s poem felt more like a passing encounter with memory.

My memory still wrestles with how hip-hop actually became hip-hop. I also gotta say that Tara Betts’ AWP speech on how Hip-Hop is a part of the Republic of Poetry and hearing John Murillo read selections from his debut collection Up Jump the Boogie are both still with me and have me digging deeper into how early hip-hop is such a deep part of poetic aesthetic.

Pantoum for 1979

[Poem was here now published in Bestiary, Issue Two: Hip-Hop.]

Author: Oscar Bermeo

Born in Ecuador and raised in the Bronx, Oscar Bermeo is the author of the chapbooks Anywhere Avenue, Palimpsest, Heaven Below, and To the Break of Dawn. He lives and works in Oakland, CA.

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