Conversations with Amiri Baraka
Interviews from over the course of the author's career document his views on writing, poetry, drama, and the social role of the writer
This collection of interviews with Amiri Baraka, the former LeRoi Jones and a key figure in the worldwide black liberation movement, provides extraordinary insight not only into African American literature but also into the turmoil and passions of the “black experience” during the second half of the twentieth century.
As they offer an understanding of the political turbulence of his times, these interviews provide special insights into Baraka's works, his anger, and his career. Not only does Baraka criticize and explain his most celebrated works, but also his comments supply a rich context for understanding the African American experience.
Throughout these candid conversations Baraka maintains his belief in the firm alliance of art and social criticism. “To me, social commentary and art cannot be divorced. Art and life are the same: art comes out of life, art is a reflection of life, art is life.”
Here is a collection that contains nearly all of the major interviews this poet, playwright, fiction writer, essayist, and social activist has given in his long and controversial career. Four of them have not been previously published. Included here are interviews conducted by Maya Angelou, Austen Clarke, and David Frost, as well as a new interview Baraka granted the editor of this volume.