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Gerald Barrax explores his ideas, revealing a deep and intense sensibility while using traditional forms.
1. How did Barrax's experience of finding and killing a black snake grow into self-knowledge and a poem?
2. Why does he believe it is important to be aware of poetic form? How aware are you of poetic form? Is poetic form as important in the twentieth century as it was previously? Explain.
3. He says, "There's something in poetry that you can use." Can people in all situations and lifestyles find something useful in poetry? Give examples.
Gerald Barrax, a poet of exceptional perception and stunning poetic technique, has been writing poetry since the 1960s. His early poems appeared in a volume entitled Another Kind of Rain (1970) and stylistically link him to the young black poets who experimented with new typographical techniques, a poetic diction laced with street talk, and metaphors of political urgency. Since then he has published three other volumes: An Audience of One: Poems (1980), The Death of Animals and Lesser Gods (1984), and Leaning Against the Sun (1992). Barrax was born in Attalla, Ala., and grew up in Pittsburgh. After serving in the U.S. Air Force, he attended Duquesne University where he earned his B.A. degree in English. He continued his studies at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of North Carolina. Barrax, a widely recognized poetry critic and editor, won the 1983 Callaloo Creative Writing Award for Non-Fiction Prose and edited the poetry section of Callaloo from 1984-1986. In 1985 he assumed editorship of Obsidian II at North Carolina State University, where he is a professor of English. His latest work From a Person Sitting in Darkness: New and Selected Poems is scheduled for release in 1998.
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