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Monday, August 22, 2011

PROFILE: Poet Carolyn M. Rodgers


by Tony Lindsay


There are poems that cause one to remember, and there are poems that make memories. A truly great poet can create a poem that does both. Carolyn Marie Rodgers was such a poet.

                                               

47th & Vincennes/Chicago

                                dark children     

                                running in the streets

joyscreaming about a kite           

dark children

clomping up and down on

half heels no heels half soled shoes

dodging chunks of glass

joyscreaming about a kite           

a kite

that flies no higher than

the two story liquor store

they stream in front of

 

don't these children know

that kites will fly

higher

much higher

than two story liquor stores.

 

                                II

a dog dances around

these children

sure-footed fast tipping

dances, like a ballerina

on his tender toes-

the dog speaks, the dog knows

of

too much glass.

 

                                III           

a man

in a deuce and a quarter

is staring daggers at me.

when I look,

i can see him through my

rear view mirror

he knows that soon i am going

to leave this space/

my motor is humming. . . .

 

he does not understand what

is taking me so long

why my head is bent towards

the pad in my lap

how could he know

i am

busy, writing poems

about liquor stores and dark children

with tender footed dogs and kites

and dusky proud men who sit and stare

daggers at me, while flaunting their

expensive pride,

in deuces and quarters

on 47th street.

 

3.8.70

 

On April 2, 2010 Carolyn M. Rodgers physically left this world, but her creative presence remains and exists strongly in the hearts of those who love poetry. With ten books of poetry to her credit she should be firmly imbedded in America's literary cannon. More than a poet she was a co-founder of Third World Press and an originator of the Organization of Black American Culture; educated at Roosevelt University and the University of Chicago. As a Black Arts Movement poet many of her works were controversial even within the movement. Whether her poems took civil rights themes, feminist themes, where spiritual, or conscious raising - she always left readers with images in their minds, she left them with memories.

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