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BABYLON REVISITED, by             Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography

"Babylon Revisited” is a poem by Amiri Baraka (formerly known as LeRoi Jones) that was first published in 1964. The poem explores the themes of oppression, violence, and the struggle for social justice.

Amiri Baraka was an African American poet, playwright, and activist who lived from 1934 to 2014. He was known for his powerful and politically charged works, which often tackled issues of race, politics, and social justice. Baraka was a key figure in the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, and his works continue to be celebrated today as powerful expressions of African American culture and identity.

The poem is structured in four stanzas, each with a distinct focus. The first stanza introduces the central theme of the poem, describing the "gaunt thing" that haunts the speaker and represents the oppression and violence that they have experienced. The following stanzas describe the ways in which this oppression is perpetuated, with the speaker noting how "the radio and newspapers blare," spreading lies and propaganda that perpetuate the status quo.

Throughout the poem, Baraka's language is stark and evocative, using vivid imagery and metaphor to convey the profound pain and suffering caused by oppression and violence. The opening lines, "The gaunt thing / sits in the front of my mind," immediately capture the reader's attention, setting the tone for the rest of the work.

The poem's themes of oppression and violence are particularly prominent. The speaker notes how these injustices are perpetuated through lies and propaganda, describing how "But there is the lying - the smiling - the oiling / - the pressing - the polishing of the / Truth." At the same time, the poem also explores the idea that resistance and struggle are essential aspects of the human experience, noting how "We say that we will fight them, no matter what / the cost."

Overall, the poem is a powerful and thought-provoking work of poetry that explores some of the most fundamental aspects of the African American experience. Through its stark language, vivid imagery, and uncompromising vision, it conveys a sense of the profound pain and suffering caused by oppression and violence, while also acknowledging the importance of resistance and struggle in the face of oppression.


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