a petri dish of faces

last night’s amiri baraka reading has me still in a loop. i want to blog as quick as i can here before heading to another reading in order to try to see what (if anything) is different from this reading.

sadly, amiri only read a bit of his work (two short stories from his new collection and an older poem). the readings were beautiful, nuanced, savvy, authentic all befitting the amount of literaryt effort that went into them.

then we move on to the q&a which was the bulk of the evening. while there were a few questions of a literary nature most of them revolved around political currents.

i can indict a whole bunch of fools here, and i will later, but the biggest culprit was me. instead of asking this man about poetics & the rigors of a writer’s life i asked a very naïve question regarding us politics. something that i should reserve for a local alderman or the like. i aint happy with myself about it but its a lesson learned. a hard lesson.

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  1. to be fair, it’s not like you wre the only younger writer ‘of color’ who asked a question not about literature. the barack obama candidacy question came from a young brother in the back. what amiri believes politically is so the crux of his work, i can see how these lines of questioning, and the discussions which arise from these lines of questioning, are a lot more accessible conversations than literary ones, in which the non-writers or non-artists in the room perhaps would have little insight or even interest, for perhaps non-artists and non-writers have not been taught to consider issues of process? (this could be an unkind over-generalization) anyway, i tend to think the literary-process discussions occur more so between writers and other (emerging/aspiring) writers in “academic” settings. and while amiri professed to participate in building the united front against academic poetry, i’m gonna say that was back in the day, and i’d be interested in knowing now how he takes to the young folk of color coming out of the academies with their political work/writing. etc. etc. i could go on.

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