Apples can cause riots

Linh Dinh playfully and bitterly engages food, war, and race in a poem called “Eating Fried Chicken,” and those were the topics raised in PoemTalk's 51st episode, released in March of 2012.  The poem appeared in Dinh's book American Tatts, published by Chax in 2005. Thomas Devaney, Susan Schultz (visiting from Hawai'i), and Leonard Schwartz (visiting from Olympia, Washington) joined Al Filreis to talk about this work of apparently straightforward address yet tonal complexity. <--break- />During the discussion Tom especially wrestles with the problem of tone. There’s plenty of humor in the poem, he notes, but one can also read the speaker as a person who has “taken all the trouble inside of him and he’s internalized it.”  Thus the “debts you owe me” — debts presumably the “brother” of line 1 owes the speaker — remind Tom of a tonal double strategy (particularly on questions of race) that Linh Dinh has learned from the early Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) and from Etheridge Knight: “going on the offensive," as Tom puts it, "and yet implicating himself fully.” [read more]