Saturday, 28 May 2011
Gil Scott-Heron. April 1, 1949 – May 27, 2011
I heard about Heron's death today and I am truly sad. He was an exceptional poet, musician, and activist. I included him in the opening paragraph of my poetry assignment only two weeks ago. Here I speak about his influence;
''Leaving a democracy to live in a Communist country serves as an unlikely introduction into poetry, but that is how it began for me. I was teaching English in China and quickly became shocked at how aspects of the country operated; in a nutshell Mao was considered a God, global empire was pushed at the expense of its people and horrific injustices like Tiananmen Square were swept under the carpet. This is where my appreciation for poets like Allen Ginsberg and Gil Scott-Heron began to surface. Living in a country for eight months where popular networking sites like Youtube, Facebook and Google pages were banned, Heron’s 1970s poem The Revolution Will Not Be Televised became relevant to me then, as it had been to others in the generation it was written. I began to understand poetry's ability to dismantle personal prejudice and how it can initiate new ways of thinking, and so this became a principle reason why I started writing poetry; not necessarily to send out grand messages, but rather show myself (and hopefully a few others along the way) that there are constantly new ways of looking at the same things, and poetic devices like metaphor, semantics and word combinations encourage this.''
Few people contributed to performance poetry in the way that he did. The only light in this loss is that his lyrical talents will be more appreciated and enjoyed now more than ever. RIP.