Effect of Islam on Amiri Baraka's Poetry, Free Essay on Literature

Published: 2022-03-11
Effect of Islam on Amiri Baraka's Poetry, Free Essay on Literature
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Poem Islam American literature
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 1073 words
9 min read

Amiri Barak one of the world's most popular poets practiced his craft between the years 1940 to the year 2014 when he died. Over his entire life as a poet, he sought to mainly address issues that directly affected the population. In his entire career, he focused on issues of social justice and equity. He was a key player in the poetic and acting scene in numerous spheres in the United States. Over his lifetime, he had numerous transition points. One of the greatest transitions he underwent was that of converting to Islam. This occurred after the year 1965 (Baraka, 24). One of the major motivations for this change was the death of Malcolm X through a process of assassination. The poet had to defy a lot of challenges with this move so as to address his points of interest in the society. One of his locus points was the discrimination of black people by the whites in the US. Apparently, this conversion greatly impacted on his style of poetry. Some of the facets that changed greatly were the rhyme, meter, and rhythm of his poems. However, the content in his poems changed greatly in comparison to what he used to write at an earlier stage.

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Incident Poem

The incident is a poem Amiri wrote way before he converted to Islam. One of the points one is able to clearly decipher from the poem is that his subject matter is in no way inclined to any religion (Baraka, 16). Rather, there is a keen detail on the happenings in the society. Such happenings include the death of an individual in a particular incident. The first point that one notes at this point are that there is no particular rhythm to the poem. This is applied to the poem to make a particular statement concerning the aim of the poem (Ghosh, 25). The poem specifically addresses the murder of individuals with no punishment to the murderers. This was mostly seen during the dark ages when black people were treated as nobodies. This implied that they would get killed without anyone following up on the case (Nicholson, 57). Most of the culprits for such heinous acts were deemed to be white. The poem tries to address such a manner of a haphazard way of administering justice. The lack of a particular rhythm addresses this instance in the American society. As it is, there is no direct reference to Islam or relation to the Islamic faith. This is set to change with the poets change intro, Islam.

Somebody Blew up America

Amiri Baraka wrote this poem after the 2001 attack on American soil that led to the loss of more than 3,000 people. After the attack, there was word around the world that the attack was instigated by people from the Muslim faith from Afghanistan. There was also a presumption that the attack was instigated by ideologies of the Islam faith. This was the main motivation of the poem. By writing this poem, Amiri tried to bring out the public vilification of Islam Americans as enemies of the state (Baraka, 23). He tried to show this in a somewhat sarcastic manner by stating that all the blame was placed on Americans. The poem majorly subscribes to most Islam and ARAB WRITING STYLES. The poem was written in the period after the conversion of Amiri Baraka into the Islam faith. This conversion greatly changed the manner in which Amiri wrote. Looking at the poem, one can clearly see a number of changes in terms of Rhyme, minute and Rhythm in all the facets of the poem. The poet greatly displays the effect of Islam on his poetry skill.

Bearing in mind that the Somebody Blew Up America poem was written years after the poet's conversion, it is clear that he was now completely influenced by the Islamic faith. One of the most points one can note in all this is that there is an increase in the manner in which the poet adds rhyme to the poem (Baraka, 17). For instance, in the third verse, there is a lot of instance of rhyme. The poet tries to create a pattern that will interest the reader. The rhyme is also meant to create a particular meaning in the poem and the message the poem should send out to the readers (Ghosh, 67). In one of the verses, Amiri makes mention of some of the most oppressed communities in the world. Apparently, he selects the communities in a manner that they fulfill a particular rhyme. Particularly, he states the words "niggers, Jews, Italians, Irish, Africans, Japanese and Italians." All these names end with the same rhyming sounds. This is meant to draw the common feature in all these personalities while they are reading the poems. The change witnessed in this poem compared to the Incident are reminiscent of the fact that the poet had converted to Islam. This dictated that his style of poetry would also change significantly.

In conclusion, people's religion has a great effect on how they communicate and set their ideas in literature. Religion may also cause a change in a person's content in their art. For example, in the case of Amiri Barak, he focused more on the general injustices conducted by authorities in his time. This is clearly depic6ted in a mysterious incident where a black individual got killed and no culprit was ever caught. The poet also displays a unique style of writing which does not specifically incorporate a particular pattern. However, such a haphazard form of writing may be due to a desire to express a haphazard way of dealing with issues in the country at the time of the poem. However, with the conversion to Islam, the poet tends to veer off and acquires more rhyme, minute and Rhythm in his poems. This is reminiscent of the poem Somebody Blew Up America. Here, he expresses numerous instances of rhyme which relate to the Islam faith. There is also a consistent change on the topic he writes. This poem is different from the previous one in that it incorporates more Islamic content. He plays the role of an advocate for the Islam faith.

Works Cited

Baraka, Amiri. S O S: Poems, 1961-2013. N.p., 2016. Print.

Baraka, Amiri. Somebody Blew Up America & Other Poems. N.p., 2014. Print.

Ghosh, Prabodh C. Poetry, and Religion as Drama. Calcutta: World Press Private, 2014. Print.

Nicholson, Reynold. Studies in Islamic Poetry. New Delhi: Cosmo Pub, 2012. Print.

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