Amiri Baraka

Essay by samm9887High School, 11th gradeA+, June 2006

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Amiri Baraka formerly known as Leroi Jones, is an essay writer, jazz, critic, social critic, dramatist, orator, fiction writer, activist writer, and what he is most famous for, a poet. All of his works are based on his life and describes the enormous accomplishments he has made. They are also focused on how he is feeling, what inspires him, and the hatred he has for almost everyone except the black community. Some of Baraka's poems that show examples of these feelings throughout his life are; "Notes for a Speech", "Ka'Ba", "Wise I", "Monday in B-Flat, "In Memory of Radio", "Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note", "X", and "Somebody Blew up America". "X" was a poem written inspired by Malcolm X, one of the people he looked up to the most. It was because of Malcolm X's influence that Baraka changed the direction of his life and religious beliefs.

"Somebody Blew up America" is, I would have to say, the most well-known works of Amiri Baraka today. I say this because it was presented at the 2002 Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival at Waterloo Village in Stanhope, New Jersey, and it brought great uprisings and controversies between him and the government. He is now no longer able to recite his poems at public events because the government took away his position of poet laureate. These are just a few of the many, many works he has published and I'm sure there will be many more to come.