In his debut collection of hard-hitting poems, Albuquerque Poet Laureate Hakim Bellamy addresses the issues important to our day—politics, work, and art. Bellamy moves from a free-thinking attitude of deliverance to a provocative new space where the reader can reflect on the poet’s inquisition of the 1%, working class life in urban and rural America, and the transcendent value of hip hop as one of our top exports and global contributions.
“Swear politicizes the human condition in a manner that balances the abstract with the concrete. Bellamy’s work is polemic like Amiri; satiric like Nietzsche; iconoclastic like Mao; passionate like Neruda,” praises Bruce George, Co-Founder HBO’s Def Poetry Jam.
6 x 9 inches • 105 pages • ISBN 978-09826968-9-7
The first book of the first Poet Laureate of Albuquerque speaks the volume of that city. The voice in these poems is one long shout-out for intelligence, astute political observation, listening to the times and returning to us a voice for generation, three oh, but don’t say it. If you’ve heard Hakim, the poems are scored to the music of his tempo, from praising Etta James to talking to Hip-hop, he knows his times, yet speaks to us all straight across with no fear.”
Joan Logghe, author of The Singing Bowl and Santa Fe Poet Laureate 2010-2012
Hakim Bellamy is a man engaged with the world. His words are more direct than lyrical. His poems are warning signs, headlines and prescriptions. From government to Occupy, the economic and political blues finds Bellamy wearing Langston’s hat and coat. Here is the same type of urgency Hughes felt in the 1930s after the Harlem Renaissance. Today our eyes turn to Albuquerque. SWEAR will tell you what’s coming next.”
E. Ethelbert Miller, author, activist, and director of the African American Center at Howard University
Swear is the physical embodiment of life in the digital age. Bellamy leaves no modern experience undisturbed. His observations, calling upon historical documents, economic structures, and political games, work to examine social and cultural norms that aren’t so normal. ”Swear’s” themes cut through cultural, ethnic, and gendered models to thread together the human occurrences that binds us all while unveiling a pattern of institutional and systemic change. Bellamy creates an active reading experience, compelling the reader to envision how each word, clause, and statement speaks to a 21st century world, without the blinders of complacency and with an eye towards hope. Beyond simple rhetoric and a pithy turn of phrase, Bellamy takes the time to give voice to an America that is often overlooked. He embeds himself in each work, without making the works about him. I highly recommend this book.”
Sonia Gipson Rankin, director of African American Studies, University of New Mexico
Swear politicizes the human condition in a manner that balances the abstract with the concrete. Bellamy’s work is polemic like Amiri; satiric like Nietzsche; iconoclastic like Mao; passionate like Neruda. Ministering without preaching, Bellamy’s sense of metaphor whistle-blows on the top-down without fear of consequence.”
Bruce George, Co-Founder of Russell Simmons, Def Poetry Jam on HBO