Ishmael Reed

(1938 / Chattanooga, Tennessee)

Ishmael Reed Quotes

  • ''A black boxer's career is the perfect metaphor for the career of a black male. Every day is like being in the gym, sparring with impersonal opponents as one faces the rudeness and hostility that a black male must confront in the United States, where he is the object of both fear and fascination.''
    Ishmael Reed (b. 1938), U.S. novelist, poet, essayist. Writin' Is Fightin', "Boxing on Paper: Thirty-Seven Years Later," Atheneum (1988).
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  • ''For Afro-Americans, it could be argued that every year they've spent in this country since they arrived in chains to perform forced labor has been 1984.''
    Ishmael Reed (b. 1938), U.S. novelist, poet, essayist. Originally delivered as a lecture as part of The George Orwell Series, Marin College, February 1984. Writin' Is Fightin', "300 Years of 1984," Atheneum (1988).

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Best Poem of Ishmael Reed

I Am A Cowboy In The Boat Of Ra

'The devil must be forced to reveal any such physical evil
(potions, charms, fetishes, etc.) still outside the body
and these must be burned.' (Rituale Romanum, published
1947, endorsed by the coat-of-arms and introductory
letter from Francis cardinal Spellman)

I am a cowboy in the boat of Ra,
sidewinders in the saloons of fools
bit my forehead like O
the untrustworthiness of Egyptologists
who do not know their trips. Who was that
dog-faced man? they asked, the day I rode
from town.

School marms with halitosis cannot see
the Nefertiti fake...

Read the full of I Am A Cowboy In The Boat Of Ra

Points of View

The pioneers and the indians
disagree about a lot of things
for example, the pioneer says that
when you meet a bear in the woods
you should yell at him and if that
doesn't work, you should fell him
The indians say that you should
whisper to him softly and call him by
loving nicknames

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