Amiri Baraka

1934–2014
Amiri Baraka

Amiri Baraka was born LeRoi Jones in Newark, New Jersey, and attended Howard University. After graduating, he moved to New York and joined the Beat literary scene, befriending, among others, the poet Allen Ginsberg. After the death of Malcolm X, he changed his name and joined the Black Nationalist movement, which sought to unite all African Americans around their shared cultural heritage, through diverse, if sometimes extreme, means. In the 1970s, Baraka denounced the movement as narrow, and became a Marxist. Baraka taught for decades and died in 2104.

What People are Saying

"I do Poetry Out Loud because the everyday me is very shy and easily stumbles over words, mangling meaning and botching simple conversations. Yet, when I recite poetry it is an opportunity for me to become someone else––an embodiment of the poem. Slowly, step by step, I think Poetry Out Loud is helping me to become a braver, more confident person, even if I still tremble when I get on stage."
Rose Horowitz
2016 ME POL Champion