Advisor Notes January 2014

From Charlie Malone, the Honors Advisor:

Spring semester always seems to fly by. I know that I always start with lofty ambitions and hopes to connect with more students, and then it is spring break, and then it is summer.  It is strange to type the word “summer” with the weather the way it is, stay warm out there.

In my advisor notes today, I want to encourage you to take advantage of some of the great opportunities this semester.

The events of Martin Luther King Day and the following week were important and inspiring. It was great to see so many of our students take part in these events. Relatedly, Black History Month programming presents us with meaningful opportunities to engage in cultural events. The poster for the month features one of my favorite poets, Amiri Baracka who just passed away. Scroll to the end here to read a poem called “Political Poem.”

Ferris is lucky to host Dr. Paul Hernandez on Monday, February 10th. Dr. Hernandez will be speaking on Monday and offering mentoring training on Tuesday. Here’s a small piece of his story: “Before he earned a PhD in Sociology, before his bachelors degree from a university, before his associates degree from a community college, Dr. Hernandez was homeless, living in the streets of Los Angeles.” For more information visit the University Calendar here.

Leadership Week is coming up at the end of February. This year Ferris is funding travel for students interested in travelling to GVSU for the Leadership Summit. Additionally, there is a Case Study Competition where you can develop your leadership skills with other students. Visit ferris.orgsync.com/Leadership for more information on the programming offered during the week.

There are many more opportunities to earn cultural event credit, leadership experience, and service hours this semester. Keep an eye out for the Honors Invitational on March 1st, the Mid-Michigan Walk for Warmth, Dr. Herndandez’s Mentor Training counts for hours, and I’ve heard that our theater program is putting together a powerful play this semester.

It is great to be at Ferris; it is a privilege to work with you all. I hope to see you soon, and let me know if you have any questions. Now, on to the poem:

Amiri Baracka

Photo Courtesy of Blogs@Baruch, the Baruch College community, maintained collaboratively by the Bernard L. Schwartz Communication Institute, the Center for Teaching and Learning, and the Baruch Computing and Technology Center.

Political Poem

BY AMIRI BARAKA

(for Basil)

Luxury, then, is a way of
being ignorant, comfortably
An approach to the open market
of least information. Where theories
can thrive, under heavy tarpaulins
without being cracked by ideas.

(I have not seen the earth for years
and think now possibly “dirt” is
negative, positive, but clearly
social. I cannot plant a seed, cannot
recognize the root with clearer dent
than indifference. Though I eat
and shit as a natural man ( Getting up
from the desk to secure a turkey sandwich
and answer the phone: the poem undone
undone by my station, by my station,
and the bad words of Newark.) Raised up
to the breech, we seek to fill for this
crumbling century. The darkness of love,
in whose sweating memory all error is forced.

Undone by the logic of any specific death. (Old gentlemen
who still follow fires, tho are quieter
and less punctual. It is a polite truth
we are left with. Who are you? What are you
saying? Something to be dealt with, as easily.
The noxious game of reason, saying, “No, No,
you cannot feel,” like my dead lecturer
lamenting thru gipsies his fast suicide.

Made available by The Poetry Foundation (http://www.poetryfoundation.org) (http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/171256)

Amiri Baraka, “Political Poem” from Transbluesency: The Selected Poems of Amiri Baraka/LeRoi Jones, 1961-1995 (New York: Marsilio Publishers, 1995). Copyright © 1995 by Amiri Baraka. Reprinted with the permission of Sll/Sterling Lord Literistic, Inc.

Source: Transbluesency: The Selected Poems of Amiri Baraka/LeRoi Jones 1961-1995 (1995)