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Study Guide | Literary

Poetry 2016


I Be
Poet: Flaco Navaja

I be the son of hard core South Bronx Puerto Rican nationalists
An aguinaldo, Bomba y Plena, Salsa singing Actor Activist
South Bronx streets follow me where ever i go
From the Sien in Paris to Old San Juan’s callejons
I was raised on a steady diet of Ralphy Leavitt y la selecta
Hector Lavoe, KRS one Bob Marley The Doors Jimi Hendricks y la protesta
I am the tree that grew from the seeds planted by Ruben and Willie so many years ago.
I am Juana Pena and Pedro Navaja’s illegitimate child
I AM Hip Hop
I AM Salsa

Skill highlight
How do we define ourselves? And how do we communicate who we are to others? Poetry has always tackled this challenge. From the self-proclamations of writers like Walt Whitman (“I am large, I contain multitudes” from his “Song of Myself ”)  to hip-hop (“I am One who is one with all things”), how we choose to express our identity is the backbone of self expression. Flaco Navaja in “I Be” shows the complexity of identity. So how do you choose to identify yourself?

“Interview with Anne Carson Interviewing Hara Tamiki”
Poet: Jennifer Cendaña Armas

Death comes always
Scars make voice
Love breathes deep
Madness keeps score
Passion puts love back on play
Balance forever chases
Dreams quiet me still
Gods don't play tricks
Grace raised me
Politics makes it personal
I swore I was done with that
Laughter I swore I was starting that
War is the mirror
Is the child
Why not take the shorter way home?
Habits get very, very old.

Skill highlight:

Repetition is one of literature’s oldest devices. Repeating a word clarifies, expands our idea of something, or shows us multiple definitions and meanings.


The Negro Speaks of Rivers by Langston Hughes

Anaphora is a particular form of repetition. Anaphora is a literary and rhetorical device in which a word or group of words is repeated at the beginning of two or more successive clauses or sentences. This technique adds emphasis and unity to the clauses. Many believe anaphora originated in Biblical psalms to emphasize certain words and phrases. It was also very popular in Elizabethan and Romantic literature, like the works of Shakespeare.

Sonnet 66 – William Shakespeare

Tired with all these, for restful death I cry,
As to behold desert a beggar born,
And needy nothing trimm’d in jollity,
And purest faith unhappily forsworn,
And gilded honour shamefully misplac’d,
And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted,
And right perfection wrongfully disgrac’d,
And strength by limping sway disabled
And art made tongue-tied by authority,
And folly—doctor-like—controlling skill,
And simple truth miscall’d simplicity,
And captive good attending captain ill:
Tir’d with all these, from these would I be gone,
Save that, to die, I leave my love alone.