Distributed March 13, 2000
For Immediate Release
News Service Contact: Tracie Sweeney

President’s Lecture Series

Poet/dramatist Amiri Baraka will read from his works April 6

Amiri Baraka, who gained prominence as an influential Beat poet and a leader in the black arts movement, will present a reading of his works on April 6 as part of the President’s Lecture Series. He will be accompanied by Blue Ark, a six-person jazz ensemble.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Amiri Baraka, a crucial figure in literary and dramatic circles for 40 years, will present a reading on April 6 at 7 p.m. in the Salomon Center for Teaching, located on The College Green. He will be accompanied by his six-person jazz ensemble, Blue Ark. The presentation, part of the President’s Lecture Series, is open to the public without charge.

Baraka first gained prominence for his influence in Beat poetry, then moved on to become a leader in the black arts movement, a fervent black nationalist, and an outspoken Marxist. He gained national prominence when his play, Dutchman, earned an Obie Award in 1964. A lifetime of poetic reflections upon culture, political and aesthetic questions is represented in Transbluesency: The Selected Poems of Amiri Baraka/LeRoi Jones (1961-1995). In 1995, the year the book was published, one reviewer noted that “Baraka can be as ravishingly introspective as he can be caustically political, but he is always questioning, always testing boundaries, always jiggling the locked doors of our hearts and consciences.”

In addition to Dutchman and Transbluesency, Baraka has written more than 20 plays, 13 volumes of poetry, three jazz operas, seven volumes of nonfiction, and a novel. He also has nurtured the careers of countless other writers through his editorship of the journals Yungen, The Floating Bear, and Totem Press, and as founder of the Black Arts Repertory Theater.

Baraka’s presentation is offered in conjunction with a Festschrift sponsored by the Creative Writing Program in his honor. The Festschrift runs April 4-6. For information about the Festschrift, call the Creative Writing Program at (401) 863-3260.