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Poetry Profile

Tony Medina

By Maitefa Angaza

MedinaAs African Voices magazine looks back over 20 years, we’re honored to have had the early support and participation of many creative powerhouses. One such is Dr. Tony Medina, poet, fiction writer, essayist and activist. The first-ever full and tenured Professor of Creative Writing at Howard University, Tony is the author of 16 books for adults and children and his poems have appeared in close to 100 publications. He’s edited three anthologies, including the seminal, Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam and served as advisory editor for several others. His most recent book of poems, Broke Baroque, is the last of a trilogy and was released in July by 2 Leaf Press.

 The recipient of many awards and prizes, Tony is a frequent lecturer and workshop instructor and has been a member and/or contributor to several organizations, particularly those working on behalf of young people. His work as a professor is deeply rewarding and he considers it a privilege to play a role in nurturing his students’ talent and work ethic. The Washington D.C. community welcomed him with open arms.

 “Word got around in the D.C. community of writers that I was at Howard teaching,” he recalls of his early days there. “So you had all these people bum-rushing my class to sit-in. I allowed them to, and basically opened up the class to the community, much like John Oliver Killens did in the ‘70s and ‘80s at Medgar Evers College.” 


For complete article Subscribe to African Voices now! Enjoy two of Medina’s poems below.


Feb 22, 2013 - 021

Poem for Hugo Chavez

Because you know

That pain is not

Our motherland

That suffering

Is not our

Divine right

That heaven is

What we make

On earth

Like houses


And bread

Because you come

From the heart

Of the soil

And do not sprinkle us

With holy water

Pie-in-the-sky lies and

Ashes to ashes dust to dust

Because you know

That your big mouth

And your curly hair

Is African

And your brown skin

And dark eyes is Indian

Because you don’t point

To Europe for

Beauty or salvation

Because you know

As Che and Fidel and

Maurice Bishop and Roque Dalton

And Walter Rodney

And Neruda and Allende

And Patrice Lumumba


Reasons to Riot

Wars should be fought with haiku, bops, sonnets & tanka.

Ban assault weapons.

Ban ALL weapons!

Turn bullets into commas, colons, semicolons, ellipses & exclamation points!!!

Let PEACE be in all caps.

Love, the agitator.

Bring back The Dozens— F@*k ‘em if they can’t take a joke.

At least you’ll get something in return—more bang for your buck.

Know as the bonobos, as Nikki G—the true revolution is touch.



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