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Baraka at Woodland Pattern, October 24, 2003
  Amiri Baraka
Amiri Baraka, award winning poet, playwright,
Amiri Baraka
political activist and Africanist. Since 1985 he has been a professor of Africana Studies at the State University of New York in Stony Brook. He is the former Poet Laureate of New Jersey and co-director of Kimako's Blues People, a community arts space.

For over thirty years, no one has occupied as controversial a role in African-American letters as Amiri Baraka. His works have examined a variety of issues, including racism, poverty and political disillusionment, which concerns not only African-Americans, but all Americans. As the times have changed, so has the character and voice of Baraka's work. The heavily Beat influenced poetry he produced in the late 1950's and early 60's; his more militant Black Nationalist works throughout the 60's; his present Marxist and multi-cultural offerings, Baraka has intrigued and enraged, but most importantly, fascinated readers with his direct, passionate and realistic evocations of the African-American experience.

Amiri Baraka has been hailed by many as the successor to such literary greats as W.E.B. DuBois and Richard Wright for his efforts to define "what it is to be black" in twentieth-century America. In the course of his career, he has been awarded Whitney, Guggenheim, Rockefeller Foundation and NEA Fellowships, as well as the American Book Awards' Lifetime Achievement Award and Langston Hughes Award of the City College of New York.

Wise I

Amiri Baraka
WHYS (Nobody Knows the Trouble I Seen)
If you ever find
yourself, some where
lost and surrounded
by enemies
who won't let you
speak in your own language
who destroy your statues
& instruments, who ban
your omm bomm ba boom
then you are in trouble
deep trouble
they ban your
own boom ba boom
you in deep deep


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