Poet, playwright, social activist, Amiri Baraka turns 78 today.
Here’s an array of Baraka links,
beginning with this footage of him being interviewed in Houston, Texas, in June, 2007 [this footage has since been pulled]
Here’s him in 2008 in conversation with author Alexs Pate at the University of Minnesota
and here’s him in 2011 in Pittsburgh with Sala Udin
Here he is filmed at the Rochester Institute of Technology,. continuing here [2018 update – this video is now, regretfully, no longer available]
Here he speaks, in February 2011, at the University of Virginia, at the final event of the 2011 Community Martin Luther King celebrations, reading from his works, he also takes questions from the audience
(and another pretty recent appearance – Amiri’s reading at this year’s (2012) San Francisco Poetry Festival )
(and again in Berkeley in 2007 – the reading itself, following introductory materials, begins just under 9 minutes in)
in Buffalo in 1978,
at UCLA in 1983,
(and), recently-uploaded, in Colorado (at the Laughing Goat) in 2008
His lectures at Naropa Institute from the mid ’80’s are available via the wonderful Internet Archives. How about this? – “He discusses Langston Hughes, the Harlem Renaissance, Negritude, Indigenism and Black Modernism. He covers Hughes’ life and writings including [the story] “Red Headed Baby”, [and the poem-suite] “Montage of A Dream Deferred” (as well as) his translations. (He) also talks about Haitian Indigenist poets, and (the) Negritude poets, Leon Damas and Aime Cesaire (including (commentary on) Cesaire’s “Notes on Return to My Native Land“) – In the second half of the class, he reads and discusses the book (his own edit, with his wife, Amina Baraka), Confirmation: An Anthology of African-American Women (including (commentary on, among others,) Margaret Walker and Jane Cortez), (and) Dub Poets (including Jamaican poet) Mikey Smith.
– or this? – “The first half of a class by Amiri Baraka on speech, rhythm, sound, and music. The discussion covers Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Prince, Amos Moore, John Cage, Robert Duncan, T.S. Eliot, John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk, Max Roach, Allen Tate, Claude McKay, Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, and German Expressionism. The second half includes a discussion of form over content, a tape of Miles Davis, and a performance by Poetic Justice including David Nelson and Pam Donald”
– and that’s only two of them.
Here’s him reciting, three years earlier, with the New York Art Quartet – “Black Dada Nihilisimus”
Jumping ahead again, here’s a variety of collaborations with saxophonist, Rob Brown – Why’s Wise, Un Poco Loco, Something In The Way of Things.., Jungle Jim Flunks His Screen Test, Obama Poem and (not forgetting, of course) Somebody Blew Up America.
To conclude (arbitrarily perhaps, there’s plenty more links we could provide), from 1998 in Sarasota, Florida, vintage film footage