Amiri Baraka

born in 1934, in Newark, New Jersey, is the author of over 40 books of essays, poems, drama, and music history and criticism, a poet icon and revolutionary political activist who has recited poetry and lectured on cultural and political issues extensively in the U.S.A., the Caribbean, Africa, and Europe. He is renowned as the founder of the Black Arts Movement in Harlem in the 1960s that became, though short lived, the virtual blueprint for a new American theater aesthetics. Blues People (1963) and the play Dutchman (1963) practically seeded “the cultural corollary to black nationalism.” Other titles range from Selected Poetry of Amiri Baraka / LeRoi Jones (1979), to The Music (1987), a fascinating collection of poems and monographs on Jazz and Blues authored by Baraka and his wife Amina, and his boldly sortied essays, The Essence of Reparations (2003). He has taught at Yale, Columbia, and the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He lives in Newark with his wife, poet and author, Amina Baraka. His awards and honors include an Obie, the American Academy of Arts & Letters award, the James Weldon Johnson Medal for contributions to the arts, Rockefeller Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts grants, Professor Emeritus at the State university of New York at Stony Brook, and the Poet Laureate of New Jersey.