Poet of the Week--Amiri Baraka

By Administrator Fri, January 12, 2007
Amiri Baraka Reading
Amiri Baraka Reading

Amiri Baraka , formerly Everett LeRoi Jones, was born in 1934 in Newark, New Jersey. He published as Leroi Jones until the assassination of Malcom X, after which he changed his name to Amiri Baraka. His work examines race relations, Black Nationalism, Marxism, and contemporary politics. He served as New Jersey’s Poet Laureate and has taught at Yale and George Washington Universities. Baraka has published extensively and wrote such works as: The Autobiography of Leroi Jones , Funk Lore: 1984-1995 , Eulogies , Transbluesency , and Four Black Revolutionary Plays.


Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note


Lately, I've become accustomed to the way

The ground opens up and envelopes me

Each time I go out to walk the dog.

Or the broad edged silly music the wind

Makes when I run for a bus...


Things have come to that.


And now, each night I count the stars.

And each night I get the same number.

And when they will not come to be counted,

I count the holes they leave.


Nobody sings anymore.


And then last night I tiptoed up

To my daughter's room and heard her

Talking to someone, and when I opened

The door, there was no one there...

Only she on her knees, peeking into


Her own clasped hands.

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