Saturday, February 17, 2018

Dr. Maya Angelou the Power of Words

                                    Dr. Maya Angelou the Power of Words

 Dr. Maya Angelou says they can seep into the walls, every fabric in your home and, eventually, you. Find out why Dr. Angelou says words are things, and hear her discuss their great power. Dr. Maya Angelou on the Power of Words | Oprah's Master Class | Oprah Winfrey Network

Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Annie Johnson; April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014 . She was an American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and was credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. She received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees. Angelou is best known for her series of seven autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences.

 The first, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), tells of her life up to the age of 17 and brought her international recognition and acclaim. She became a poet and writer after a series of occupations as a young adult, including fry cook, sex worker, nightclub dancer and performer, cast member of the opera Porgy and Bess, coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and journalist in Egypt and Ghana during the decolonization of Africa. She was an actor, writer, director, and producer of plays, movies, and public television programs.

 In 1982, she was named the first Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She was active in the Civil Rights Movement and worked with Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Beginning in the 1990s, she made around 80 appearances a year on the lecture circuit, something she continued into her eighties. In 1993, Angelou recited her poem "On the Pulse of Morning" (1993) at President Bill Clinton's inauguration, making her the first poet to make an inaugural recitation since Robert Frost at the inauguration of John F. Kennedy in 1961.

 With the publication of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Angelou publicly discussed aspects of her personal life. She was respected as a spokesperson for black people and women, and her works have been considered a defense of black culture. Her works are widely used in schools and universities worldwide, although attempts have been made to ban her books from some U.S. libraries. Angelou's most celebrated works have been labeled as autobiographical fiction, but many critics consider them to be autobiographies. She made a deliberate attempt to challenge the common structure of the autobiography by critiquing, changing and expanding the genre. Her books center on themes such as racism, identity, family and travel.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Tracy K. Smith

Tracy K. Smith is the author of three books of poetry: The Body's Question (2003), which won the Cave Canem prize for the best first book by an African-American poet; Duende (2007), winner of the James Laughlin Award and the Essense Literary Award; Life on Mars (2011), winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry; and Wade in the Water (forthcoming, April 2018). In 2014 she was awarded the Academy of American Poets fellowship. She has also written a memoir, Ordinary Light (2015), which was a finalist for the National Book Award in nonfiction.

Tracy K. Smith is a native of Falmouth, Massachusetts. She was raised in Fairfield, California in a family with "deep roots" in Alabama. She is the youngest of five children. Her mother was a teacher and her father an engineer  who worked on the Hubble telescope. Smith became interested in writing and poetry early, reading Emily Dickinson and Mark Twain in elementary school; Dickinson's poems in particular struck Smith as working like "magic", she wrote in her memoir Ordinary Light, with the rhyme and meter making Dickinson's verses feel almost impossible not to commit to memory. Smith then composed a short poem entitled "Humor" and showed it to her fifth-grade teacher, who encouraged her to keep writing. The work of Elizabeth Bishop, Seamus Heaney, Philip Larkin, Yusef Komunyakaa, and Rita Dove also became significant influences.

Smith received her A.B. from Harvard University, where she studied with Helen Vendler, Lucie Brock-Broido, Henri Cole and Seamus Heaney.  While in Cambridge, Smith joined the Dark Room Collective.  She graduated in 1994, then earned an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Columbia University in 1997. From 1997 to 1999, she was a Stegner Fellow in poetry at Stanford University.

Smith lives in Princeton, NJ with her husband, Raphael Allison, and their three children

Smith is the recipient of the 2014 Academy of American Poets Fellowship. About Tracy K. Smith, Academy of American Poets Chancellor Toi Derricotte said: “The surfaces of a Tracy K. Smith poem are beautiful and serene, but underneath, there is always a sense of an unknown vastness. Her poems take the risk of inviting us to imagine, as the poet does, what it is to travel in another person’s shoes. The Academy is fortunate to be able to confer this fitting recognition on one of the most important poets of our time.”

In June 2017 Poet and educator Tracy K. Smith was named the U.S. Poet Laureate. Smith, whose appointment was announced by the Library of Congress , will serve as the country’s official poet for a one-year term.

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said. “Her work travels the world and takes on its voices; brings history and memory to life; calls on the power of literature as well as science, religion and pop culture. With directness and deftness, she contends with the heavens or plumbs our inner depths—all to better understand what makes us most human.”

         Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith Inaugural Reading

        Tracy K. Smith Reads From 'Life of Mars'

        Tracy K. Smith, "Ordinary Light"

    A Conversation with U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith

Sunday, October 8, 2017


     The Tree of Life

 aka wizthom

Why waste the rest of your life,

Blaming love ,Cause some fool,

Jerked your heart around,

Why waste so much time and thought,

Placing blame Placing fault,

Feeling shame Time to Holt,

Stop it! Right here and now,

Your life is not over,

Love is still deserving,

Pick up your pride,

Dust off your dignity,

Walk with me,Talk with me,

I'll be the wind,You be the trees,

I'll tell you secretes,You just listen,

Before you tell the masses,

Tell em love is the answer,

It’s the cure for what ills,

Like lying cheating,Deceiving,Hurting,

My friend the answers you seek,

Lye’s deep within,

From the moment you were conceived,

Love was planted within Thea,

So why waste time putting down,

Complaining bout love not being around,

Don’t be like that king,

Who searched a life time,

For the Holy Grail,

Only to realize,On his death bed,

It was within his reach,

All the time,Show some love,

Show some compassion,

Try a little tenderness,

Despite what you may receive,

Let the end justify the means,

Just wanna testify Let me clarify,

That when you look back,

On your journey,

You will see a tree standing tall,

Yes that tree will be you,

But with a new name,

You will be called the Tree of life.peace wisemanspeeks@protected aka wizthom

the hallways of my mind

     the hallways of my mind

aka wizthom

i love the hallways of my mind
the footsteps of my life,
in the sands of time ,
that i have made,
the lessons i learned,
bridges i burned,
mistakes along the way,
are all the reason for me,
being the man i am today,
oh yea,no regrets,
i would not change a thing,
look i can still dream,
how many can say,
in the face of reality ,
they can still dream,
i dream in color,
i can still love,
you can't say i don't know pain,
you can't say I'm a stranger to change,
walk with me Thu the hallways of my mind,
and see just where i been in my life and times,
this door leads to all the loves I've known,
for whatever reasons,
like old cloths i put away and moved on.
this door is my favorite i come here often,
to reminisce on the good times I've shared,
there are so many fond memories here,
almost too many for one man to bare,
i love the hallways of my mind,
i find peace and solace,in my solitude,
so much it will amaze you,
why in my life there is so much truth,
ooo woe this door with all the pad locks,
boarded up with the cross bones and skull,
bold red letter stating do not enter,
has all my tears and fears,
things that almost destroyed me,
holds the times In my life ,
when i was strife filled,
crawling up hill , like old wounds,
i dare not open,
come on lets keep walking.
lets let this door be,
i see no reason to sermon those ghost,
back to haunt me,,,
true this door holds purpose,
just to prove to you,
my life hasn't always been perfect,
while striving for perfection,
i learned the hard way,
the ways of devotion and dedication,
these corridors are the very essence of me,
the good the bad,the bitter,the sweet,
the beautiful,the ugly,
are all apart of me ,
here in the hallways of my mind...peace wisemanspeeks@protected aka wizthom

Monday, April 24, 2017

Imani Cezanne - Angry Black Woman

2016 Black Matters Conference: Saul Williams Evening Keynote Address

                                                Saul Williams' introduction begins at 15,  His grandiloquent poetry begins at around 25.    Saul Williams is a wordsmith extraordinaire; he loves to place grand concepts into spoken word to the           nth degree.  His delivery is beyond exciting to the point of excitement, mystery, and awesomeness.  He is a Master of spoken eloquence and grandeur of profound depth of thought.  He is to be revered as a blessing.

Def Jam Poetry - Jamie Foxx

Monday, January 30, 2017

Ursula Rucker

Ursula Rucker is an American spoken word recording artist. Rucker is known for a diverse repertoire, and for utilizing techniques that catch her listeners' attention.

         Ursula Rucker - Playlist

Rucker was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she was a graduate of Temple University’s journalism program. She is of African-American and Italian descent. Rucker had been writing poetry since adolescence but kept her writings to herself until she read poetry in 1994, at Philadelphia’s Zanzibar Blue, which is credited as her debut.

That same year, Rucker was invited to collaborate with numerous recording artists, and producers including WAX TAILOR, King Britt, 4hero, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Josh Wink, Alix Perez and most notably The Roots.

Rucker garnered a reputation for unique poetry techniques and stage presence which were described as "strong, vulnerable, wounded and raging". King Britt gave Rucker recognition and invited her to create her first spoken-word recording, the 1994 club hit "Supernatural". Dance music fans and DJ's quickly appreciated Rucker’s vocals and rhythm, which was described as "mystical". According to Britt, while the original and remixes of Supernatural were continually used in clubs widespread throughout the United States, internationally, the most popular mix of the song remains the acappella.

      Ursula Rucker - l.o.v.e.

Rucker's emotion in her work and words, has led some critics to compare her to such celebrated writers as Sonia Sanchez and Nikki Giovanni, describing them as "powerful". Coincidentally, when Ntozake Shange was unable to supply The Roots with a spoken-word contribution for their second album Do You Want More?!!?!!, they called on Rucker to do it instead. The Unlocking led to subsequent invitations to close The Roots follow-up albums Iladelph Halflife and the certified gold record Things Fall Apart.

In numerous reviews, many critics proclaim the value of Rucker’s work with The Roots, 4hero and other groups. She has had reviews in URB, Vibe, XXL, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Straight No Chaser. Rucker has also performed her work at an array of venues, universities and festivals. Among these venues include the Montreal Jazz Festival, the 1999 Winter Music Conference, a performance at Drexel University and the 2005 Amnesty International Australia Freedom Festival which aimed to raise aware of Amnesty's global "Stop Violence against Women" campaign.

Rucker has toured with Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Sylk 130, and 4Hero in the United States and internationally in Europe. Rucker also has provided a single "Soon for Unbound", which was from a benefit album for convict Mumia Abu-Jamal. Andy Puleston at writes in his review of her album Supa Sista: "Ursula's vocals... is a silken delivery, that like Michael Franti, demonstrates that a quiet word in the ear can speak volumes above the microphone rant". Paul Sullivan also of says in his review of her album Silver or Lead: "Ursula's velvety voice...manages to both mollify and add a sinister dimension to the harshness of her subject matter.

      Ursula Rucker - Poet (Full Movie)

Wife. Mother. Activist. Friend. Discover the power of poet Ursula Rucker in this revealing new documentary portrait. Poet Ursula Rucker is best known for her diverse musical collaborations with King Britt, The Roots and 4Hero. She has appeared on HBO's Def Poetry Jam and toured the world countless times. In this half-hour portrait, she performs several of her best-known pieces in an "unplugged" setting, revealing nuances not heard on the original recordings. Through interviews with peers and mentors--including Saul Williams, Sonia Sanchez and Gil-Scott-Heron--we come to appreciate the difference between "spoken word" and "poetry" and trace the path that led Ms. Rucker to become one of the most acclaimed artists of her generation.

      Ursula Rucker - Supa Sista (Unplugged)

      4hero feat. Ursula Rucker - Loveless (live)

 The Unbound Project Volume 1 (2000)
Featuring a stellar cast of progressively minded hip-hop artists, The Unbound Project is dedicated to Philadelphia activist and death-row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal and is conceptually centered on the meaning of freedom. Scenarios range from Reflection Eternal's lively present-day analysis on "The Human Element" to acclaimed Philly spoken-word poet Ursula Rucker (whose words have closed each of the Roots' albums) revisiting the horrors of slavery on the eerily ambient "Soon." With additional contributions from veterans Chuck D and Poor Righteous Teachers, and relative newcomers such as Dead Prez and Talib Kweli (of Black Star and Reflection Eternal), The Unbound Project brings together politically conscious hip-hop artists of different eras, providing evidence of a burgeoning grassroots resurgence. Its primary function, however, is as a compelling critique of U.S. socio-economic conditions and the criminal (in)justice system.

Monday, September 5, 2016

I Waited for You - Janette...ikz Wedding Vows

I Waited for You by Janette McGhee Watson
Wedding Vows - September 27th, 2014

"I will wait for you" by Official P4CM Poet JANETTE...IKZ

P4CM Official Poet Janette...ikz shares a beautiful piece during Lyricist Lounge 4 on "Waiting". Check out for more poems and the date of the next Lyricist Lounge.