Amiri Baraka 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. After his conversion, he included more poetic styles into his poems. Most of these styles such as rhyme, rhythm, and meter are reminiscent of the Islamic faith and its teachings.
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). In this poem which focuses on a period before the author's conversion to Islam, there are certain elements of poetry that lack. As discussed above, he was not able to form a poem in the right manner because He had not yet received the right mental and psychological transformation to write a proper Novel. Some of the critics stated that he was overly racist with a great bias towards the African Americans. It was majorly stated that he converted from a poet to a politician.
Amiri Baraka wrote the Somebody Blew Up America 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 Arabic 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. In this poem, there is more and more inclusion of poetic styles such as rhyme and meter. 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 (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 rhyme is one that has come about due to his conversion to Islam. One thing is apparently in his poetry, the fact is that he has changed his style of writing as depicted from the Stanza depicted above, the poet has included a great instance of formal poetry styles. Changing to Islam made him more calm and resolute in his assessment of matters at hand. This can be attributed to his cognitive judgment which changed with his conversion to Islam.
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. In his last poem, he clearly defends the Islam religion despite the fact that it was the one blamed for the September eleven terror attack on US soil.
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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