June Jordan Term Paper

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Jordan has not been honored by naming any street or postal holidays. She was respected and recognized by her own milestones; as she designed modern Harlem with R. Buckminster Fuller, had coffee with Malcolm X, received suggestive teachings from Toni Cade Bambara, acted with Angela Davis in a film, and authored an opera with John Adams and Peter Sellars. Irrespective of so much achievements there was no 'Day' named after June Jordan. She was the awarded author of about two dozen books, a great American poet known both for creativity and collections and was one of most critical activists and teachers who have not yet been recognized. This paper is a good testimony to know her better. (June Jordan- www.randomhouse.com)

Jordan is all-inclusive as a poet, essayist, reporter, dramatist, academician, cultural and political activist, however above all she is an inspirational teacher both in words and actions and is considered an ethical person. Being the author of more than two dozen of publications in the fields of non-fiction, poetry, fiction, drama and children's writing she is considered to be the most widely acknowledged among the African-Americans writers. As the most widely acknowledged African-American writer, she provided a persistent confrontation to subjugation. (Busby, 2002)

The parents of June Jordan- Granville and Mildred Jordan were Jamaicans residing in Harlem, New York. She was born on July 9, 1936. The occupation of her father was that of a night shift postal worker and that of her mother was nursing. In her early childhood her family migrated to Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn. She had her secondary schooling at Milwood High School and Northfield School for girls in Massachusetts. During her high school career she was seen to have completely engrossed with her creativity and was considered to be in a different world. (June Jordan- www.randomhouse.com) She came to know about her poetic voice in Northfield. At the age of seven she could write poems to herself. (Kelly, 2002)

Jordan's home environment was a situation of disagreement and torture as a result of the physical abuse of her father and resistance of her mother. Such situational behavior was reflected in her writings more widely concerning her parents and their positive and negative influences. (June Jordan- www.randomhouse.com) Her career was redirected with the influence of and relationship with her father and his projections of ambitions onto her. In her work 'Soldier, A Poet's Childhood' she gave an account for her childhood as whipping by her father to memorize, and recite Shakespearean plays, the Bible, the poetry of Paul Lawrence Dunbar and Edgar Allan Poe even before she was 5 years old. (Kelly, 2002)

Jordan was admitted into Barnard College in the year 1953, where in she came in contact with Michel Meyer, her fellow white student and married him after a couple of years. Meyer completed his graduate studies at the University of Chicago while Jordan had to continue up to February 1957. A child was born to them during 1958 that was named as Christopher David Meyer. The interracial marriage during 1950's created many societal conflicts and legal complicacies. (June Jordan- www.randomhouse.com) Since it was an interracial marriage, it was then socially denounced and there were even legal restrictions and protests in most parts of the country. Meyer supported her emotional feelings for political activism. (Queer History: Who was June Jordan?) But at last the marriage came to an end during 1965 and after her divorce she had to face trials as a single working mother. (June Jordan- www.randomhouse.com)

Jordan's mother had traditional self-sacrificing attitude and eventually committed suicide. Jordan after fifteen years since then in a continuing essay, 'Many Rivers to Cross' initiated in 1981, narrated that the idea of her mother as a good women cannot be substantiated. According to her it was not a good reason for her mother to give up, or cooperating with those who hate and when one refines, mend and modify their own personality for the sake of others so as to reach a stage to kill oneself day by day silently. She supported the views of Bertolt Brecht on courage who opined that the real courage lies in announcing the fact of saying that the good were being defeated not because they were good but because they were weak. She admitted to be too late in assisting her mother. She admitted of working to be never late further as a sign of gratitude to the entire woman who helped her to stay alive. (Busby, 2002)

The period in which she was under pressure of meeting her desires as a single mother all by herself was considered to be the period of her creativity as a writer. Jordan in 1969 authored her first publication on poetry, 'Who Look at Me' that dealt with African-American life. (June Jordan: (1936-2002)) Other publications like' Kissing God Goodbye: Poems, 1991-97 of 1997, Haruko/Love Poems of 1994, Naming our Destiny: New and Selected Poems of 1989, Living Room of 1985, Passion in 1980, and Things That I Do in the Dark in 1977 were considered significant. She also wrote many children's books, plays, a novel etc. She wrote 'Poetry for the People: A Blueprint for the Revolution' in 1995 which was considered to be a guide for writing, teaching and publishing poetry. Her publication on anthology of essays also includes Affirmative Acts: Political Essays of 1988 and Technical Difficulties of 1994. Her memorable events were included in her book Soldier: A Poet's Childhood, published in 2000. Her reinforced poems directed a vehement attack against racism and proved her to be a productive author of many sorts. (Kelly, 2002)

Publications of about 28 books of poems, political essays and children fictions have been forwarded to her credit. She authored a continuous column for The Progressive and also authored the dialogue of the opera 'I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky' under the direction of Peter Sellars with music by John Adams. Nobel laureate Toni Morrison summarized her career as a poet of forty years of tireless activism which was combined with and energized by flawless art. Above all she was a joy to be recognized, according to Morrison. Adrienne Rich a poet and friend of Jordan commented upon her as being gifted with the rare quality of using words with sophistication and accuracy. She had an amazing intellect of language and a very embracing sagacity of language, in the opinion of Rich. He further said she had enough capability of using her skills with great accuracy according to the need. (Kelly, 2002) Her life was considered a persistent struggle against oppression and this was reflected in her writings the forms of universal attack. According to Alice Walker, June Jordan makes us think of Akhmatova or Neruda. According to her Jordan is the most courageous and most heated; she feels for all and she is the universal poet. (Busby, 2002)

In her essay 'For My American Family' Jordan emphasized that her parents are thankful to America for providing necessary sustenance so as to avoid the misery of Jamaica, however, visible to have many challenges to be faced by black immigrants with ambitions for their offspring that is worse than the environment of the urban slums. Her advent to the political and literary scene was quite visible in late 1960s at a time when the movements were attracting attention for civil rights and women liberation and was antiwar. She concentrated on struggles for liberty, and designing of new architecture for Harlem with Buckminster Fuller, and articulating on the Palestinian cause. (Busby, 2002)

Jordan vehemently opposed against the oppression and attempted to do something against it at its first sight. She excelled in the field of political essays among all the contemporary authors. Civil Wars, an anthology of her works published in 1981 by a black woman necessarily dealing with battles both external and internal. Her other publications such as 'On Call' in 1985 and 'Technical Difficulties' in 1992 concentrated on the different aspects of racism in South Africa, Nicaragua and Lebanon as well as that of U.S.. She pioneered in the sue of black English in the educational system as many as 30 years before the emergence of the debate about 'Ebonics' a concept which she hated like anything. (Busby, 2002)

'His Own Where" was her first novel that was admitted for National Book Award during 1971 which depicts her interest in urban reformulation and commitment to Black English. Jordan felt it significant to write in Black English. She expressed herself to be proud of the Blacks and being a Black poet and writer she found her fondness to work against the eradication of the system of bonding born out of their struggle to avoid annihilation, and to work for the language. 'His Own Where' is an interpretation of the autobiographical account to Jordan's relationship with her parents. (June Jordan: (1936-2002)) The novel of Jordan 'His Own Where' published in 1971 reflects a deep insight into the worry of…[continue]

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