More Poetry in Katrina’s Wake

Poet Sunni Patterson deals with complex problems and ideas in her spoken word poem entitled “We Made It.” I’ve heard this poem read numerous times in the past six years, it has never reflected my scholarly pursuits until now. Patterson references New Orleans several times throughout the poem. Early on she says “I’m the panther party in the Desire Housing Projects in New Orleans.” I’ve embedded a link for reference. One might want to pay attention to the timeline of the projects and their conditions; by 2005 85% of public housing was unavailable in New Orleans. The next reference is simply to a hurricane, I’m assuming that it is in reference to Katrina. A mother and two of her children have been found by her husband and other daughter dead in bed. While Patterson says that this occurred months after the hurricane, it reminded me of a part of When the Levees Broke, where a man was discussing the death of his father and how the number of the deceased because of the hurricane was not accurately measured. These deaths would not have been considered a Hurricane caused death, but I cannot believe that it is gratuitously stated that the deaths occurred “a few months after the hurricane.” The poem is not strictly in reference to the disaster of Hurricane Katrina, but I do think that it has significance in terms of this class as a performance and it’s numerous references to death (waste).

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