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Carole campbell Brown

Lately, I've gone from reading very bad poetry to reading very good and powerful poetry. I have been reading The Gorgon Goddess” by Evie Shockley in anticipation of her March 4th poetry reading at Central library in honor of Black and Women’s History Months. Shockley currently lives in Winston Salem, but was born in Tennessee. Once a Chicago lawyer, she traded her law degree for a PhD. in English and is now an English professor at Wake Forest University. Her poems are powerful , and although I think of myself as a feminist, she constantly reminds me not to forget the women (and men) before me that fought the hard battle (some harder than others) so that all US citizens could have equal rights and be respected and acknowledged for their contributions to society. But you don't have to take my word for it, here's a sample of Evie's work:

bio / autography
(or, 18th century multiculturalism)

found in africa / dawned in freedom
raised in boston / rose in slavery
schooled in greek / grew in god
published in england / died in poverty

-- for phillis wheatley

by Evie Shockley


Carole's idea is interesting --- that you might learn to appreciate good poetry by first reading some really bad poetry. One of the challenges in trying to popularize poetry is to figure out a way to not pass judgment on people's tastes, but at the same time to help them appreciate great poems such as those written by Rita Dove. It's a lot like music: you might think that country-western music is great and I think Miles Davis is great; or you like poems that rhyme and I like free verse. So what constitutes really bad poetry?

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