Jasper Recites A June Jordan Poem

This June Jordan poem is from Directed by Desire. The Collected Poems of June Jordan. Reprinted with the permission of the June M. Jordan Literary Estate Trust, and Copper Canyon Press. www. Junejordan.com

Every year, Everyday Citizen blogger Melissa Tuckey has been helping to organize the Split This Rock Poetry Festival. The Split This Rock Poetry Festival’s purpose is to call poets to a greater role in public life and to bring today’s challenging American poetry of witness to a larger and more diverse audience. The name “Split This Rock” is taken from the Langston Hughes’ poem “Big Buddy.

Don’t you hear this hammer ring?
I’m gonna split this rock
And split it wide!
When I split this rock,
Stand by my side.

When I first started blogging for Everyday Citizen, I didn’t know anything about activist poets (except for maybe Langston Hughes). But then I discovered poet activists like Grace Paley, Muriel Rukeyser, W.S. Merwin, Daniel Berrigan, Amiri Baraka and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Everyday Citizen has two wonderful poets, Melissa Tuckey and Diane Wahto who publish their poems on this site.

The next Split the Rock festival will be dedicated to the poetry of June Jordan. According to her website, June Jordan was an poet, activist, journalist, essayist and teacher. June Jordan was born in Harlem in 1936, the child of West Indian immigrant parents. She graduated from Barnard College, where she would earn her B.A. June Jordan was the author of twenty-five books of poetry, fiction and essays, as well as numerous children’s books. She wrote librettos for the operas, plays and musicals. Jordan was a regular columnist for The Progressive.

Jordan also was a teacher at the City College of New York, Yale University, Sarah Lawrence College, the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and the University of California, Berkeley. During her time teaching Berkeley, Jordan founded the influential poetry program Poetry For the People. Poetry for the People is a program that teaches empowerment through the artistic expression of writing and reading poetry.

As well as write, Jordan was active in the civil rights, feminist, antiwar and gay and lesbian rights movements.

Here are four youtube videos of an interview with June Jordan and recitations of June Jordan poetry.

If you enjoy this cartoon, take a look at these links for more of my political cartoons at Everyday Citizen:

Jasper Celebrates the 4th of July

Jasper Meets Howard Zinn
Jasper and the Nature Poem
The Reunion
Government and the Market Economy
Jasper Joins Two Protests
Bob the Nerd Vampire
Jasper Debates War
Jasper Finds His Way Home
Jasper Escapes the Detention Center
Jasper At A Detention Center
Jasper Meets a Poet
Jasper’s Day
Jasper Tackles Health Care
Jasper Protests the War
Jasper and the Economy
Jasper Sings a Protest Song
The Road To Health Care Reform Cartoon
A Cartoon about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
A Cartoon about My Experience in an Evangelical Church
A Cartoon about Political Debate
A Cartoon On Gay Marriage


About angelolopez

I’ve wanted to be an artist all my life. Since I was a child I’ve drawn on any scrap of paper I could get a hold of. When I went to San Jose State University, I became more exposed to the works of the great fine artists and illustrators. My college paintings were heavily influenced by the humorous illustrations of Peter De Seve, an illustrator for the New Yorker magazine. I also fell under the spell of the great muralists of the 1930s, especially Thomas Hart Benton and Diego Rivera. I graduated with a degree in Illustration. Since my time in college, my goal has been to be a successful children’s book illustrator. I’ve illustrated 3 books: Two Moms the Zark and Me by Johnny Valentine in 1993; Night Travelers by Sue Hill in 1994; and Cherubic Children’s New Classic Story Book Volume 2 for Cherubic Press in 1998. I’ve painted murals for Lester Shields Elementary School in San Jose, the Berryessa branch of the San Jose Public Library, and Grace Community Church in Los Altos. I’ve had a few illustrations published in South Bay Accent Magazine and I will have an illustration published in the January/February issue of Tikkun magazine.
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