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130504 Amiri Baraka - Real Politics, Real Poetry

The role of creative people in society has long been debated. Should they focus on their art and stay away from politics? Poets, writers, painters, filmmakers, musicians, artists in general occupy a unique position. Their impact and influence extend far and wide. They illuminate realities in imaginative ways that expand awareness and understanding. Think of Dylanís Masters of War or Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman or Picasso's Guernica or Langston Hughes' poem Columbia, where he exposes the depredations of U.S. imperialism. He writes:
"In military uniforms, you've taken the sweet life
Of all the little brown fellows
In loincloths and cotton trousers.
When they've resisted,
You've yelled, "Rape,"
Being one of the world's big vampires,
Why don't you come on out and say so
Like Japan, and England, and France,
And all the other nymphomaniacs of power."

Amiri Baraka rose to fame in the 1960s as LeRoi Jones. His 1964 off-Broadway play, Dutchman created a sensation. Later he became Amiri Baraka and was a central figure in the Black Arts movement. He is an award-winning playwright and poet and recipient of the American Book Award for Lifetime Achievement. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is the author of many books including Home and Digging.


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Alternative Radio (Aust.) PO Box 687 Cowes VIC 3922 Australia
tel. 61-3-5952 5780 mob. 61-4-1359 7828 inquiries@araustralia.org
www.araustralia.org