A specter is haunting poetry. All the powers of prior poetic generations have entered into a holy alliance against them: lyric and language, conceptual and confessional, page and performance. It is the specter of social media, and the extreme popularity of the individuals who flourish on platforms such as Tumblr and Instagram, as well as off them.
In an apartment on Masonic Avenue in San Francisco, the same year Huey Newton and Bobby Seale founded the Black Panther Party across the bay in Oakland, poet and Black Power activist Dingane Joe Goncalves (b. 1937) started the Journal of Black Poetry (1966–1975), “the poetic Bible of the ’60s Black Liberation/Black Arts Movement.” A literary magazine of poetry, essays, art and news, ranging from the West Coast to Africa and the Caribbean, the journal encouraged a “political paradigm” for poetic aesthetics — “an unapologetically Black paradigm,” as Kalamu y
The first image of a rape that I saw was Peter Paul Rubens’s Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus. I was paging through my father’s art history books. I had just learned to read and even before I encountered the word r-a-p-e, I knew there was something wrong with it. Something ugly. Being brought up, as many of us were, on the Western canon of Greek myths, I understood that rape had something to do with love. When a god loved a mortal too much, the result was rape. But this painting did not show rape; it portrayed the epigraph to rape.
What kind of writer would Kathy be if she were still alive? So much of her work speculated on the future that would arise from the nightmarish neoliberal present. Could you call it prophetic? Her apocalyptic work, In Memoriam to Identity, or The Burning Bombing of America. Her attention to Islam, colonialism, and terrorism, to the symbol of the World Trade Center, which fell four years after her death. Her sense of the ever-expanding police state and the utter collapse of an unjust economy, leading inexorably to worse.