Black Ancestors : Carolyn M Rodgers

Discussion in 'Honoring Black Ancestors' started by oldsoul, Apr 21, 2010.

  1. OldSoul

    OldSoul Permanent Black Man PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Carolyn Marie Rodgers, a Chicago poet and writer who helped found one of the country's oldest and largest black-owned book publishers, has died. She was 69. The Chicago-based Third World Press says Rodgers died April 2 at Mercy Hospital after battling an undisclosed illness. The Chicago native wrote nine books, including "How I got Ovah." Her work often delved into the experiences of black women.
    Rodgers is credited with being a star of the black arts movement of the 1960s and 1970s. She started her own publishing company, Eden Press. During her career as a writer, she has taught at the following institutions: Columbia College (1968-1969); University of Washington (Summer 1970); Malcolm X Community College (1972); Albany State College (1972); and Indiana University (Summer 1973). She has also held a position as a book critic for the Chicago Daily News, as well as a position as a columnist for the Milwaukee Courier. In December 1967, along with Haki R. Madhubuti, Johari Amini, and Roschell Rich, Rodgers helped found Third World Press. Carolyn M. Rodgers was also a founding member of the Organization of Black American Culture (OBAC).
    Funeral services have been held. A public memorial is planned May 4 where Rodgers' work will be read.
    Noted for her vulgarity and other excesses, Rodgers was quickly criticized by other Black Aesthetic practitioners for her unladylike uses of the very rhetorical excesses they had promoted.
    Rodgers responded to critics who dictated a more conventionally feminine role for black women. In "The Last M.F.", she promises to stop employing vulgar language in her poems; Rodgers vows never again to use obscenities like "mother fuck3r," but she does so in lines that obviously savor this last opportunity for such expressiveness:

    they say,
    that i should not use the word
    muthafucka anymo
    in my poetry or in any speech i give.
    they say,
    that i must and can only say it to myself
    as the new Black Womanhood suggests
    a softer self
    a more reserved speaking self. they say,
    that respect is hard won by a woman
    who throws a word like muthafucka around
    and so they say because we love you
    throw that word away, Black Woman ...
    i say,
    that i only call muthafuckas, muthafuckas
    so no one should be insulted.

    and so i say
    this is the last poem i will write calling
    all manner of wites, card-carrying muthafuckas
    and all manner of Blacks (negroes too) sweet
    muthafuckas, crazy muthafuckas, lowdown muthafuckas
    cool muthafuckas, mad and revolutionary muthafuckas,
    But anyhow you all know just like I do (whether I say
    it or not), there's plenty of MEAN muthafuckas out
    here trying to do the struggle in.

    [​IMG]

     
  2. BSPhD

    BSPhD New Member MEMBER

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    Not enough people know about Rodgers. Even better, you've clearly read the work on her by my dissertation chair, Karen J. Ford. "Rodgers responded to critics who dictated a more conventionally feminine role for black women. In "The Last M.F.", she promises to stop employing vulgar language in her poems; Rodgers vows never again to use obscenities like "mother fuck3r," but she does so in lines that obviously savor this last opportunity for such expressiveness:" is word-for-word what she wrote about Rodgers for MAPS. I encourage anyone reading this to check that out next. Just do a search for "MAPS poetry Rodgers," and it'll be the first thing that comes up.

    It's a shame how few people read Rodgers's work. Thanks for working against that! Hope the weather's great over there in Bronzeville. ;) :goodpost:
     
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