African American poet and activist Amiri Baraka dies


This video from the USA says about itself:

8 Nov 2012

Poet E. Ethelbert Miller introduces Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) as one of the most prolific writers of the century in this 1998 edition of HoCoPoLitSo’s The Writing Life.

They talk about the writers that influenced his work: Charlie Olson, the Black Mountain Group, Frank O’Hara and Allen Ginsberg.

Baraka reads his first published poem, “Preface to a 20 Volume Suicide Note.” A discussion on the link between his poetry and music precedes a reading of a section of the poem “In the Tradition,” which touches on the heritage of African-American music.

The conversation concludes with Baraka‘s greatest hope for American poetry — that the great poets will find their voices in a collective way in order to discover literature that speaks against the rules.

From National Public Radio in the USA:

Writer And Activist Amiri Baraka Dies At Age 79

by January 09, 2014 4:38 PM

Amiri Baraka, the writer who was born LeRoi Jones, has died at age 79. Baraka’s career spanned art and activism: He was an influential poet and an award-winning playwright who didn’t shy away from social criticism and politics.

“Baraka had long struggled with diabetes, but it was not immediately clear what the cause of death was,” reports the New Jersey Star-Ledger. The author and activist was a native of Newark.

One of Baraka’s crowning achievements stands as the cataloguing of black culture and history in Blues People, “a panoramic sociocultural history of African-American music,” as Eugene Holley, Jr., wrote for NPR last year.

The book was published in 1963. “In the 50 years since, it has never been out of print,” Holley wrote.

“The book was originally titled Blues: Black and White,” Baraka told Holley. “But I changed it because I wanted to focus on the people that created the blues. And that was the real intent of that title: I wanted to focus on them — us — the creators of the blues, which is still, I think, the predominate music under all American music. It cannot be dismissed, even though you might give it to some pop singer, they change it around. But it will come out. It will be heard.”

As the Los Angeles Times reports: “Baraka led the Black Arts Movement, an aesthetic sibling to the Black Panthers. Although the movement was fractious and short-lived, it involved significant authors such as Gwendolyn Brooks, Eldridge Cleaver, Gil-Scott Heron, Nikki Giovanni, Ishmael Reed and Quincy Troupe.”

A more complete look at Baraka’s life and career is forthcoming, from NPR’s Neda Ulaby.

See also here.

11th Annual World Poetry Festival in Venezuela Pays Homage to Amiri Baraka: here.

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9 thoughts on “African American poet and activist Amiri Baraka dies

  1. Pingback: Venezuelan poet Luis Delgado Arria interviewed | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: British poet Andrew Oldham interviewed | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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