In celebration of National Poetry Month 2015, The Arts Exchange presents A Virtual Tribute to AMIRI BARAKA, cultural icon, literary legend and political activist. All poets who recognize the power of the word are invited to submit original work that exemplifies the inspirational poetry of Amiri Baraka for our blog: FREEDOM FIRE Now /Next A Poetry Tribute to Amiri Baraka . To submit your poem, go to the link for the submission form: http://goo.gl/forms/NvKb5vFEjD
National Poetry Month, inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, is now held every April, when schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets throughout the United States band together to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture. Thousands of organizations participate through readings, festivals, book displays, workshops, and other events.
The Arts Exchange began its annual observation of National Poetry Month on April 9, 2014 with a tribute, Remembering and Honoring Amiri Baraka opening with a drum processional by the Roots Ensemble and featuring: poets Ayodele Heath, Edward S. Spriggs, Felton Eaddy, Lita Hooper, Malkia M’Buzi Moore, Mariama Rice, Michael Simanga, accompanied by son Malik Simanga on electric bass, Opal Moore, Sababa Akili, and Sharan Strange, and musicians Kenito Murray, Ramon Pooser and Tyrone Jackson. An excerpt from Amiri Baraka’s "Dutchman" directed by Geoffrey D. Williams with Enoch King as Clay and Christen Orr was performed. The Opening Reception for AMIRI BARAKA and The Cultural Community, a photography exhibition by Jim Alexander and Sue Ross on view in the Xchange Gallery from April 26 –May 25, 2014 was a significant part of this memorable tribute.
AMIRI BARAKA (October 7, 1934 - January 9, 2014) poet, playwright and activist, was a prolific writer whose work reflected and impacted the political landscape of the times. The production of Dutchman at the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York in 1964 established him as a playwright and won an Obie Award (for best off-Broadway play) and was made into a film. In addition to his extensive body of work that includes poetry, prose, drama, fiction and essays, Baraka edited and co-edited numerous literary magazines and anthologies including Black Fire: An Anthology of Afro-American Writing with Larry Neal in 1968 and Confirmation, An Anthology of African-American Women with wife Amina Baraka in 1983, which won an American Book Award.
Recipient of many literary awards including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the PEN/Faulkner Award, and the Rockefeller Foundation Award for Drama, The Langston Hughes Award from the City College of New York, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Before Columbus Foundation; Baraka was the second (and final) Poet Laureate for the state of New Jersey. He taught at several universities including Yale, San Francisco State and Columbia.
Amiri Baraka created many cultural and social movement organizations that significantly impacted the national and international political and cultural landscape. The Black Arts Repertory Theatre /School, The Spirit House Players, and Kimako’s Blues People, a community art space co-directed with Amina Baraka, were just a few of his significant cultural contributions. He was chairman of the Committee for a Unified NewArk, A Black United Front organization, founder and chairman of the Congress of African People, with chapters in 15 cities, and was one of the chief organizers of the National Black Political Convention which convened in Gary, Indiana in 1972. Baraka’s political perspectives and involvements influenced decades of progressive ideologies. He is one of the grand deans of music and cultural criticism,
and is lauded as one of the primary architects of the Black Arts Movement.
S O S
The definitive selection of Amiri Baraka's dynamic poetry comprising more than five decades of groundbreaking, controversial work—with new, previously unpublished, and uncollected poems
Fusing the personal and the political in high-voltage verse, Amiri Baraka—"whose long illumination of the black experience in America was called incandescent in some quarters and incendiary in others" (New York Times)—was one of the preeminent literary innovators of the past century. This volume comprises the fullest spectrum of his rousing, revolutionary poems, from his first collection to previously unpublished pieces composed during his final years.
Publisher Grove Press
Hardcover $30- 560 pages