Thursday, January 8, 2009

Remembering Freddie Hubbard.

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I picked up a fantastic anthology that I'll be using with my batch of sophomores this semester called From Totems to Hip-Hop, edited by Ishmael Reed. Here's a little something from Reed's introduction to the anthology, something that struck me: "...They have been confined to an intellectual cave by what William Oandasan called the Ogre with One Eye, the limited vision of American missionary education that's driving blacks and Hispanics from the classroom. Maybe someone will get a grant to study why black and Hispanic students pack the slam poetry events and write hip-hop verse themselves, but doze off in the missionary classroom and receive low scores in reading and writing on the missionary's SAT."

He then goes on to write: "Why can't T.S. Eliot and Tupac Shakur and Bob Holman, all in this anthology, be studied together? They're all homies."

I'm especially interested in this anthology's section entitled "Manifestos," since my students will be writing their own in response to this present [teen]Age of Anxiety. Get it? Pieces by Amy Lowell, Haki Madhubuti, L. Ferlinghetti, Dead Prez, and several others are included.

Because we'll be looking at the first part of the 20th century, both WWs and so forth, one of the suggested readings will be Clifford's Blues by John A. Williams. I mention this here, because I once had the incredible pleasure of hearing John A. Williams read in San Francisco. I remember him sharing his libretto that night; we all listened, and it nearly brought my ass to tears. The look on his face as he listened to the music circulate the room was priceless, as they say--his eyes closed, the gentle smile. What possibilities! I remember thinking to myself.

And who introduced him that night? Yes, it was Ishmael Reed. What an evening!

While flipping through FTTHH, it was also nice to see a poem bien bad-ass by Ernesto Trejo. There's a copy of his Entering a Life at the Imperial Valley College that still bares a slight coffee cup stain from when I foolishly placed my mug near the book's edge. O, but how I loved that book! I'm sure it's forgiven me by now. Fire and water, the book's greatest enemies. Or is it the book burning asshole who drinks water after his sport?


Francisco Aragón said...

I love that book by Ernesto Trejo and think it needs to be re-vived, re-visited somehow. Would you care to write about it for LPR?

Manuel Paul Lopez said...

Francisco, I'd love to review the book for LPR. Let me get my hands on a copy, and I'll get back to you.

Happy New Year.