Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Lorenzo Thomas

Lorenzo Thomas was born in Panama in 1944 and immigrated to the US with his family at the age of 4. He was part of the Black Arts Movement and New York School and a member of the Umbra workshop, a black writers’ collective whose members included poets Ishmael Reed and Calvin Hernton. 
His poetry is both personal and political, as John Ashbery express it: “Thomas’s poems have a graceful New York School nonchalance that can swiftly become a hard and cutting edge when he writes of the African American experience.” 

A few of his poems can be found online at the Poetry Foundation.

My own response to the two poems included in the Anthology below.

~ - ~

A Poet’s Business
After Lorenzo Thomas

the poet’s business       
is just words
as if such a thing
as
just words
even existed
as if
you could
just
say something
with no context or
intention
but your words are
heavy now
and so are mine
and the windows
always
rattling
in the february wind

the poet’s business
to sweet
-talk to flatter to
charm
to honey the bitter
everyday
taste of love
as it fades
or harvest the venom
drinking
it
twisting
the knife
in their gut
because it’s
all in their hand
it’s all their fault
“you
could really be a bit more
compromising
you know
now and
again
the poet’s business
to delight to
revel to
reveal
beauty
certainly
not those bills
piling up on the desk
certainly not
those dishes
not those dirty sheets
the phone
ringing in the other
room
the muffled voices
and
laughter
certainly not the slamming
door

the poet’s business
is just
words
is
just words
and
the
silence
in between




No comments:

Post a comment