From fools honoring Ted Nugent one day and then railing against the thuggism of Common the next, to those who believe themselves the authority on what is and isn't poetry, I really believe Cornelius Eady told us all we needed to know about this some years ago:
Why Do So Few Blacks Study Creative Writing?Always the same, sweet hurt,The understanding that settles in the eyesSooner or later, at the end of class,In the silence pooling in the room.Sooner or later it comes to this,You stand face to face with yourYounger face and you have to answerA student, a young woman this time,And you're alone in the class roomOr in your office, a day or so later,And she has to know, if all musicBegins equal, why this poem of hersNeeded a passport, a glossary,A disclaimer. It was as if I were...What? Talking for the first time?Giving yourself up? Away?There are worlds, and there are worlds,She reminds you. She needs to knowWhat's wrong with me? and you wantTo crowbar or spade her hurtTo the air. You want photosynthesisTo break it down to an organic language.You want to shake I hear youInto her ear, armor her lifeWith permission. Really, whatCan I say? That if she choosesTo remain here the termNeighborhood will always haveA foreign stress, that thereWill always be the momentThe small, hard detailsOf your life will be madeTo circle their wagons?