power of poetry
There’s a big controversy brewing on the East Coast over “Somebody Blew Up America” a poem by famed New Jersey poet laureate Amiri Baraka. The poem contains a stanza that mentions the now widely discredited Internet rumor about the 4,000 Israelis who supposedly stayed home on 9/11/01. This Philadelphia Inquirer article describes the controversy and calls by different sides for Baraka’s removal. The problem is that, due to a technicality, the governor can’t remove the poet laureate. So now they’re working on finding out ways to enable them to do that. But what exactly is a poet laureate? Here’s one answer.
And even though the stanza (in an otherwise powerful poem) made me wince, I don’t know if it would be legal to remove him for something he’s said. But of course I could be wrong on this one.