Monday, October 14, 2002

"Although [Amiri] Baraka is one of the nation's most reviled poets at the moment, he also is one of the most successful writers New Jersey has produced. He is on a par with poets William Carlos Williams and Allen Ginsburg, both of whom became embroiled in their fair share of controversy. Baraka also is one of the foremost jazz essayists in American history and an important playwright who made a name in the vibrant world of off-Broadway theater in the 1960s. Baraka has been a Guggenheim Fellow and won a PEN/Faulkner award, an Obie, (the off-Broadway equivalent of the Tony), the Rockefeller Foundation Award for Drama, and the Langston Hughes Award for Poetry. He has been inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has been the subject of biographies, doctoral dissertations, and academic panels. 'As a contemporary American artist, Baraka must be ranked with the likes of John Coltrane, Ralph Ellison, Norman Mailer, Toni Morrison, and Thomas Pynchon,' wrote literary critic William J. Harris."

....and he's about to lose his job as New Jersey poet laureate because of his politics., 14 October 2002