Eulogies

Eulogies

by Amiri Baraka
     
 

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Poetry. African-American studies. Reprint. For 200 years, the eulogy has been a vital, though rarely studied, form of African-American expression. Here Baraka gathers in a volume the eulogies he has spoken and written, in poetry and prose, over the last 30 years. Those eulogized by Baraka include political leaders such as Malcolm X, musicians like John Coltrane,…  See more details below

Overview


Poetry. African-American studies. Reprint. For 200 years, the eulogy has been a vital, though rarely studied, form of African-American expression. Here Baraka gathers in a volume the eulogies he has spoken and written, in poetry and prose, over the last 30 years. Those eulogized by Baraka include political leaders such as Malcolm X, musicians like John Coltrane, and Baraka's friends and family members. "For me, writing a eulogy is very much part of a writer's central purpose, which is not supposed to be serving as a spontaneous reflector of one's self, but as an investigator of a useful shared vision" -from the Foreword by Baraka.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A poet, playwright, essayist and critic, the prolific Baraka is perhaps best known as a founder of the Black Arts movement during the 1960s, and as an all-around cultural agitator. In his Newark neighborhood and among jazz musicians and other cultural figures, Baraka has also become a frequent eulogist, and this book collects more than 40. Perhaps because a eulogy is written mainly for the ear, most of these pieces do not work well as literature. Baraka too often relies on simplistic politics (AIDS is a conspiracy) and radical rhetoric ("Revolutionary Black intellectuals are dangerous to the status quo of the superpower imperialist domination"). Yet his anger at American injustice and his caringespecially for young Newarkites cut down before their primeis palpable. Some of the eulogies, written in Baraka's free-form poetic style, might be powerful performance pieces: remembering jazzman "Philly" Joe Jones, Baraka rhymes "Jones" with "bones," leading to the image of drums. Among the well-known extolled here are Malcolm X, John Coltrane, James Baldwin, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Toni Cade Bambara, William Kunstler and Miguel Piero. (Dec.)
Library Journal
This collection of eulogies, in both poetry and prose, celebrates the lives of 42 people close to Baraka (Funk Lore, LJ 11/15/96) who have died over the last 30 years. Those remembered include Malcolm X and James Baldwin as well as family and friends associated with the Black Arts Movement and Newark, New Jersey, Baraka's home. Baraka often uses the eulogy as an opportunity to indict America for its racism. In the eulogy for his sister, for instance, he writes: "My sister was brutally murdered...stabbed to death by an insane reflection of the real American dream." At times, his political rhetoric tends to overshadow the individuality of the person being eulogized. For example, in the eulogy for Harold "Mhisani" Wilson: "We have never had democracy in America!...Mhisani died because Niggers sposed to die in America." The piece on Miles Davis, in which the focus rests squarely on Davis and his music, is a notable exception. Recommended for libraries with strong African American studies collections.-William Gargan, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., CUNY

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781568861029
Publisher:
Marsilio Publishers
Publication date:
11/01/2002
Pages:
260
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.46(h) x 0.78(d)

Meet the Author


Amiri Baraka, born in 1934, in Newark, New Jersey, USA, 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 USA, the Caribbean, Africa, and Europe.

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