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Posts Tagged ‘Amiri Baraka’

Amiri’s Green Chim Chim-knees Growth Tribe

December 18, 2014 | by

Baraka Maya Toni

Amiri Baraka, Maya Angelou, and Toni Morrison at James Baldwin’s funeral, 1987. Photo: Thomas Sayers Ellis

Thomas Sayers Ellis’s poem “Polo Goes to the Moon”—an elegy for the bounce-beat go-go music pioneer Reggie Burwell—appeared in The Paris Review No. 209 earlier this year. Now he’s recorded a spoken-word version in “Amiri’s Green Chim Chim-knees Growth Tribe,” part of a tribute to Amiri Baraka to be released next year by Heroes Are Gang Leaders. Give it a listen above.

After Baraka died in January, Ellis and his frequent collaborator James Brandon Lewis formed Heroes Are Gang Leaders, a group of poets and musicians. They recorded the album over three six-hour sessions. Ellis calls it “a signifying groove head-nod to Mr. Baraka,” influenced by Thelonious Monk and A Tribe Called Quest.

The text of “Polo Goes to the Moon” is below. Read More »

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Tooting on His Sideways Horn

January 9, 2014 | by

amiri baraka

Photo: T. Carrigan, via Flickr

Amiri Baraka died today, at seventy-nine; The Paris Review had the pleasure of publishing several of his poems. Baraka wrote “Pres Spoke a Language” to celebrate the jazz saxophonist Lester Young, but one could just as easily apply its eulogy to the poet himself:

Pres
had a language
and a life, like,
all his own,
but in the teeming whole of us he lived
tooting on his sideways horn

Read “Pres Spoke a Language” here.

 

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