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Derivative Works from Daniel X. O'Neil

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In Praise of Gil Scott-Heron

Gil Scott-Heron, an American genius, is dead.

I came to Gil Scott-Heron via Amriri Baraka. As a young poet in the late 80s in Chicago, I loved the visciousness that Baraka could bring to beauty. Knocking around the UIC Main Library, I found The Vulture and it blew my mind.

The last two tracks of Kanye's record brought Gil Scott-Heron back to me. Whatever Kanye wanted that song to mean, to me it's all about trying to be an artist in the middle of that which is not artful. Solitary, earnest, lasting attempts to make something worthwhile. It's about the optimistic idea that in spite of all of the lights, and the lack of milk & honey, we just might survive in America, with just a few people in a bare room clapping at the end of a poem.

God bless, and all hail, Gil Scott-Heron.



Mrs Robinson SF

You captured it Dan. Thanks.

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Daniel X. O'Neil: Chicago-based writer and internet developer. I am a co-founder of and the People Person for EveryBlock, a site that pulls together local news and public information. I run dozens of personal projects and websites for clients, and also own half of a poetry book company.


EveryBlock: A news feed for your block.
CTA Tweet: Unofficial Twitter tracker for the Chicago Transit Authority.
CityPayments: Database of all vendors, contracts, and payments that have been posted by the municipal government of the City of Chicago
Wesley Willis Art: Site dedicated to the fact that Wesley Willis was an artist.
Wide Right Turn: An incomplete look at the role of variation in a capitalist society.


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