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 to 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 when my appreciation for poets like Allen Ginsberg and Gil Scott-Heron began to grow. Living in a country for eight months where popular networking sites like Youtube, Facebook and Twitter were banned along with many Google pages, 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 appreciate how poetry can be used to dismantle personal prejudice and how it can initiate new ways of thinking [...].''
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.