Amir Baraka's Poem: An Agony, As Now

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Muslim Saadat #10139
ENG 299: Contemporary Poetry
Dr. John Wall
Response Paper II
"An Agony, As Now"
An Agony, as Now was written by Amiri Baraka a unique individual from New Jersey who is well-known for his social activities and defending justice throughout the African American society. Among all his famous poems one of them is ‘’an agony, as now’’ that presents the poet seeing himself from a distance and describing what he sees. This paper therefore will analyze the theme, style, and the voice of the poem through which it will also describe how the poet expresses the nature of the black man in American society; using different voices shows how he is at war within himself, between the self he was made to be by conditions and what he wants to be and what he is trying to be.
To my understanding Baraka’s an agony is more of a “Political Poem” which is also a cautionary statement somehow accusing a big portion of society. The themes of the poem evolve
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Where my eyes sit turning, at the cool air the glance of light, or hard flesh rubbed against me, a woman, a man, without shadow, or voice, or meaning.
Again he starts with the first person as ‘’my and me’’. It refers to who he is, what he does? None of it makes any sense or means anything to him because he is imprisoned within himself; sees no way out. He is questioning his own spirituality, beauty, and even God, everything around him but at the end all he wants is freedom.
One thing I noticed about Baraka’s writing after reading several of his poems and writings is that it is personal, natural and passionate in its voice and tone. From the beginning till the end of poem the writer is looking for understanding in a world where Blacks were largely oppressed and suppressed and misunderstood by larger society. Baraka was not looking to be understood, but to be free to express what was real within him.
Baraka, Amiri. "An Agony, As
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