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Baraka poem study guide

Baraka poem study guide - Amiri Baraka is a well-known poet...

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Amiri Baraka is a well-known poet, playwright, and editor who has reinvented his image and style many times during his career. Born Everett LeRoy Jones (later LeRoi), he began by writing in formats that echo the style of Beat and Black Mountain poets. In “ An Agony. As Now ,” for instance, you can see the influence of Charles Olson’s use of unclosed parenthetical comments. Jones edited little magazines such as Yugen and Floating Bear, and published the poetry book Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note in 1961. The Dead Lecturer, the poetry book that contains “ An Agony ,” was published in 1964. The context for these early texts is the racial violence of the fifties and early sixties. In Mississippi in 1955, Emmett Till, a 14-year old African American, was tortured and killed for allegedly whistling at a white woman. The two white killers were acquitted. William Harris, in The LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka Reader , also offers these dates and events: 1963: …John F. Kennedy and Medgar Evers are assassinated; four young black girls are murdered in the bombing of a church in Birmingham, Alabama. 1964:…Civil rights activists James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner are killed in Mississippi. 1965…The assassination of Malcolm X. -Harris xxxi Harris further notes that “in the wake of the assassination of Malcolm X…[the poet] moves uptown to Harlem, declaring himself a black cultural nationalist, that is, one who is committed to black people as ‘a race, a culture, a nation’” and in 1967, he adopts the name ‘Imamu Amiri
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