Amiri Baraka on his poetry and breaking rules

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.

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