- Published on Amazon.com
Ani Difranco is still a young woman, despite her twenty-three albums, her half dozen DVD's her relentless touring sdchedule, cult following and being the CEO of Righteous Babe Records out of Buffalo, New York. Difranco, a graduate of the Buffalo Public schools magnet school for the arts, was a dance major who, during her junior year, picked up a guitar and began to play. No one plays a she does- between alternate tunings, fingers wrapped in duct tape and a way she has of transcending the label of musical styles, she began as folk, eased into Rock, then jazz and now-perhapos- is simply called alternative. she is arguably the finest guitar player alive today.
This book of poetry is on a level that we haven't seen since Gary Snyder. She has the rhyming skill of Sondheim, the honesty of Paul Simon, the purity of Robert Frost and the emotional tugging of Syvia Plath. On top of it, she has stremgth: an inner power that causes her five foot, one hundred pound frame to become a giant.
DiFranco's poetry (and even that which began as lyric stands beautifully as poetry-not all lyrics can do this) is about everything in American life: she speaks openly and frankly about anything, she flips off the greedy corporate America, she points out the political injustice, the pain of abortion, the lunacy of murder and captures emotions and situations that we've all felt and lived through but no one has yet to put into words. (Google "School Night")At the same time that Eminiem endured the scruitiny of Homeland Security, DiFranco was writing and performing about the whiskey that ran down the thorats of two tall giraffes standing in lower Manhattan, who strutted along for centruies without saying "thank you" or "please."
Homeland Security didn't dare.
Okay, you may get offended. That's the risk we take in a country with our first ammendment. But if a poem should cause you to want to wave your NRA card and curse, you'll turn the page to be soothed by something that does connect to you.
DiFranco, in her early thirties now, is taught in high schools, middle schools and on college campuses, where her concerts sell out imstantly. A spokesperson at Righteous Babe Records in Buffalo says that it's not just a great job, it's the feeling that she'sw making a difference in the world.To teach her material is not just about musical style, poetry mathematics but largely higher level thinking- that all important part of education that standardized testing fails to measure.
In the 1960's musicians led the Cultural Revolution: Simon & Garfunkel, Nick Drake, Carole king, Bob Dylan, the dozens who died, all inspired the younger generation to change the way our government viewed the constitution. DiFranco is doing it again and others will follow. This book is a must- even for those who don't fancy themselves as "poetry lovers". Lord knows, it is time for us to re-read our Constitution.
"They were building a new foundation in Manhattan
and discovered a slave cemetery there
May their souls rest easy now that lynching is frowned upon
We've moved on to the electric chair"
DiFranco is a woman to be admired and should she ever decide to add politicsd to her huge lists of contributions to American Society, she has my vote no matter what she does.
Buy a few copies of this book. One for the bedeside, the bathroom and a few to give as gifts.