The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

4 July 2003

Somebody blew up Baraka

It couldn't happen to a nicer moonbat.

New Jersey poet laureate Amiri Baraka, after coming under fire for a poem which asserted that Jews had advance knowledge of the World Trade Center attacks, had been asked to resign. He refused. In January of this year, the New Jersey Senate considered a bill to abolish the position entirely; it passed 21-0, albeit with 19 abstentions. This week, the Assembly passed that bill on a 69-2 vote, and Governor James McGreevey, one of Baraka's harshest critics, is almost certain to sign it.

I liked the Trenton Times editorial comment:

Somebody blew up the poet laureate's job
Amiri Baraka, as before, remains completely free
To peddle to the gullible his loony history
In characteristic clumsy meter and adolescent rhyme —
But no longer in New Jersey's name and on New Jersey's dime.

(Muchas gracias: Timekeeper at Horologium.)

Posted at 11:06 AM to Almost Yogurt


Good riddance to bad poets. And besides - WTF? Why on earth do we use government money to pay for poets, fercryingoutloud?

Posted by: David at 5:04 PM on 4 July 2003

"Poet Laureate" -- okay, I want to be Georgia's official "Limericker Laureate."

Just as long as nobody Spoonerizes the introduction...

Posted by: McGehee at 7:03 PM on 4 July 2003

I think a case can be made for some direct payments to poets, using the same logic (or lack thereof) that was once used to justify paying farmers not to grow certain crops.

Posted by: CGHill at 8:13 PM on 4 July 2003

Speaking as a poet, I'd sure like some money. And the poet laureate tradition has some good ancestors, like Tennyson. Unfortunately, today Tennyson would never, ever be able to get a grant. They'd be all, "Dude, lose the militarism and patriotic fervour, and we'll talk. And what's with the understanding of metre? Metre is for fascists!"

Posted by: surlybird at 11:52 PM on 5 July 2003

A lot of people seem awfully willing to assume that where there's a dactyl, there's a jackboot.

Still, I figure that most people's free verse is no better than mine, and mine is generally horrid.

Posted by: CGHill at 12:12 AM on 6 July 2003