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A Poetry Slam, Indeed.
October 15, 2006 1:25 PM   Subscribe

When Poets Attack Tony Snow denies that the president called him a nut, but now, poet Nikki Giovanni called Ken Blackwell an S.O.B., in quite a public place.
posted by tizzie (35 comments total)

 
Previously, Ms. Giovanni had called Ohio's Secretary of State a "horrible individual." I couldn't find anything about a specific incident that caused her to hate him - maybe it's just the same reasons that so many of the rest of us do!
posted by tizzie at 1:30 PM on October 15, 2006


I have nothing to contribute except that Nikki Giovanni recently gave a reading here in Athens, Ohio, where I live and work (teach) and you can bet my everything I'm voting as many times as I can come 7 November.
posted by mistersquid at 1:41 PM on October 15, 2006


Tony Snow is a nut.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 1:51 PM on October 15, 2006


The poem:
I am Cincinnati
I ran from the whips and the dogs
Across the frozen pond
I made my home in the West End
When the Civil War came I dug the trenches
Showing the South
Free men live here
Who are unwilling to yield
I kept the city safe
I am the Seven Hills
I am the neighborhoods
Community centers
Shopping malls
Churches
Libraries
I am the Bengals
The Reds
The incomparable Underground Railroad Museum
I am history
I am Findlay Street market
I am the best 3-way chili in the world
I am Montgomery ribs
I am the University of Cincinnati
I am Xavier
I am Sister Jean Patrice Harrington bringing Mount St. Joseph into the 21st century
I am Eden Park and the Conservatory of Music
I am Symphony Hall and the oldest opera company and one of the world's greatest teaching zoos
I am Spring Grove Cemetery
My dead rest in beauty and peace
I am Marian Spencer
I have watched segregation reign and have built a bridge between that island and the city
I have watched policemen
Shoot young black men in the back
And have watched my community respond, a people who once saved this city
. . .
I am the Cincinnati Western and Southern Tennis Championships, though I am played in Mason
. . .
I am not a son of a bitch like Kenny Blackwell
...
I will not use the color of my skin to cover the hatred in my heart
I am not a political whore jumping from bed to bed to see who will stroke my knee

I am Mark Mallory
Talking to everyone
Walking with everyone
Listening to everyone
Leading by consensus, not fear
I am Cincinnati
I slaughter hogs and make soap
I am the biggest Oktoberfest outside Munich, Germany
Though I have been boycotted
I am not shirking my responsibilities to the next generation
I am finding a way to be great again
I am the lady in the fountain
Let my waters cleanse and refresh you
Let my waters heal
Together we can still save this city
posted by Mick at 2:26 PM on October 15, 2006


Yeah, Nikki's still around (and feisty as ever)! Glad to hear it. I've been a fan since at least high school (yeah, that's circa 1991).

Why the controversy? Blackwell IS a son of a bitch. And a fucking Uncle Tom, at that.

(Posting from Maryland, home of Michael Steele, cut from a Blackwellian cloth himself . . . sigh)
posted by CommonSense at 2:30 PM on October 15, 2006


What an unexceptional poem.
posted by Kwantsar at 2:49 PM on October 15, 2006


I think it's reasonable for a black person to be a republican, but when you try to do things to keep other black people from voting, that crosses a line...
posted by delmoi at 2:50 PM on October 15, 2006


I think it's reasonable for a black person to be a republican, but when you try to do things to keep other black people from voting, that crosses a line...

Specially since they all know each other.
posted by srboisvert at 3:02 PM on October 15, 2006


Specially since they all know each other.

I think rather than implying some high degree of racial fraternity, what delmoi is suggesting is that calling Blackwell an Uncle Tom by dint of his Republican status would be something of a content-free slur, however, the guy deserves some contempt for what appear to be real efforts to disenfranchise Ohio voters, among whom there are in fact black people.
posted by weston at 4:12 PM on October 15, 2006


I think it's reasonable for a black person to be a republican...

That's sporting of you.

Politics aside, that's an awful poem.
posted by cribcage at 4:26 PM on October 15, 2006


Also: Ken Blackwell is a son of a bitch.
posted by eustacescrubb at 4:33 PM on October 15, 2006


Politics aside, that's an awful poem.

Apparently you need to read it with the vocal mannerisms of Truman Capote to recognise the true genius behind it.
posted by Sparx at 4:54 PM on October 15, 2006


I know this will sound like a snark, and I don't really mean it as such, but why is it noteworthy that some poet doesn't like some Ohio politician?
posted by brain_drain at 5:13 PM on October 15, 2006


I was there, it was awesome.
Emcee Bootsy Collins was entertaining. He mispronounced rookwood (Rookwood Pottery Co.) as rockwood and then said, 'I must have rock on the brain." He later said, "I swear I ain't drank nothing but water this morning."
To be fair, the manager of the event had promised that it would be "wild", and to "expect the unexpected."
posted by tresbizzare at 5:19 PM on October 15, 2006


Wait, all I have to do is collect a random assortment of declarative statements about a particular city and I will quickly become famous for my mind? Awesome, let's do this.

I am Orlando
I am giant mouse costumes
I am sexist princesses
taking pictures with your daughters
Tan people live here,
many racially spicy people too
I am the fannypack
that will keep hoodlums
from stealing your shitty filth-money
I am a delicious Gepetto Burger
I am Mark Foley lol
Let the alligator rise up
and swing open our hearts
on the hinge of his jaws
Together we can make this city
a little less lame
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 5:43 PM on October 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


A poet who hates Republicans! Now that's what I call pushing the envelope.
posted by MattD at 5:47 PM on October 15, 2006


I am utterly unimpressed.
posted by Falconetti at 6:29 PM on October 15, 2006


Nice work, Powerful Religious Baby
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 6:44 PM on October 15, 2006


meh.
posted by ronv at 6:56 PM on October 15, 2006


Thank you, M.C. Lo-Carb!, I feel famous already.
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 7:05 PM on October 15, 2006


PRB's version is actually much better than the original.
posted by brain_drain at 7:15 PM on October 15, 2006


Conservatives don't know shit about poetry.

Never have. Never will.

Nikki's great.
posted by rougy at 7:43 PM on October 15, 2006


Why, rougy, whatever do you mean?

"At a time when men are supposed to admire a woman with a good 'six pack' it's refreshing to read a poem which praises a woman for her small hands."
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 7:56 PM on October 15, 2006


Cons have crappy taste in all the arts, especially poetry.
posted by rougy at 8:03 PM on October 15, 2006


Cons have crappy taste in all the arts...

Right. And Jews are cheap, and blacks drink grape soda.
posted by cribcage at 8:36 PM on October 15, 2006


Cons also aren't so bright in the cabeza - look at how many of them think Iraq is a success, or that Bush didn't lie about the war.

Nikki's great - the poem was great.

And Ken Blackwell is a son of a bitch.
posted by rougy at 8:40 PM on October 15, 2006


Well, so much for irony. Apparently "libs" aren't all that much brighter.
posted by cribcage at 8:59 PM on October 15, 2006


Part of the problem, Cribcage, is that irony is like work. If I have a hot reservoir and a cold reservoir I can use that heat to do work. If everything is hot, no work gets done.

Right now the gap between The Onion and The Wall Street journal is so narrow, Casimir forces are becomming signifigant.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 10:42 PM on October 15, 2006


Conservatives don't know shit about poetry.

Tell that to the British modernists like Eliot and Pound.
posted by Falconetti at 11:40 PM on October 15, 2006


Baby, if you've ever wondered,
Wondered whatever became of me,
I'm living on the air in Cincinnati,
Cincinnati, WKRP.

Got kind of tired packing and unpacking,
Town to town and up and down the dial
Maybe you and me were never meant to be,
But baby think of me once in awhile.

I'm at WKRP in Cincinnati..
posted by jpburns at 4:56 AM on October 16, 2006


I was there, it was awesome.
Emcee Bootsy Collins was entertaining.


Who cares about the poem? Bootsy was emcee!
posted by jonp72 at 6:07 AM on October 16, 2006


Libs don't take baths, and live off welfare. Am i rite?!
posted by Bugbread at 6:38 AM on October 16, 2006


Who cares about the poem? Bootsy was emcee!

Just trying to give some context.
posted by tresbizzare at 6:52 AM on October 16, 2006


Bad Manners, oh my!
posted by Otis at 5:49 AM on October 17, 2006


Conservatives don't know shit about poetry.

Tell that to the British modernists like Eliot and Pound.
This is a serious conflation of categories. Present day "conservatives" do tend to be xenophobic but, technically, they are not the same as WWII-era fascists.

Eliot and Pound were anti-Semites and Nazi sympathizers. Calling them "conservative" is like calling skinheads Republicans.
posted by mistersquid at 5:57 AM on October 21, 2006


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