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Remembering Activist Poet Amiri Baraka.

Baraka was one of the key black literary voices of the 1960s. The political and social views that inspired his writing changed over the years, from his bohemian days as a young man in Greenwich Village to his later years as a Marxist. He spoke to Fresh Air's Terry Gross in 1986.


Poets Sonia Sanchez and Michael Harper.

Poets Sonia Sanchez and Michael Harper. The two are featured on a new CD anthology, "Our Souls Have Grown Deep Like the Rivers" (Rhino) a collection of African American poetry from 1919 to 1999. It Includes the work of Langston Hughes, W.E.B. DuBois, Maya Angelou, Gil Scott-heron, Amiri Baraka and others.


From the Archives: Performance Poet Sekou Sundiata.

Performance poet Sekou Sundiata (SAY-coo SOON-dee-ah-tah) In 1997, he released his first CD, "The Blue Oneness of Dreams" on Mouth Almighty/Mercury Records. He is one of New York's notable spoken word artists, He blends lyrics of urban dwelling with music. Born in Harlem, He is a professor of English Literature at The New School for Social Research. His second CD, tentatively titled "Urban Music" should be released sometime this year. No exact date has been set. Originally broadcast 4/16/97.


Performance Poet Sekou Sundiata

A Village Voice critic once wrote of Sundiata, " Billie Holiday, Sundiata surprises with images and tumbling phrases that blend with subtle rhythmic variations." Although he's an established and respected artist, he's just completed his debut CD, "The Blue Oneness of Dreams."


World AIDS Day: Remembering Essex Hemphill.

Essex Hemphill was a poet who's written about being black and gay and edited anthologies of black gay poets. He died this year. During our interview, last year, he read from his work "Vital Signs" which was written in 1993 after he discovered how low his T-cell count had fallen. Hemphill also wrote two poetry books Earth Life and Conditions and a collection called Ceremonies. He was also the editor of Brother to Brother: New Writings by Black Gay Men. (Rebroadcast of 12/1/1994)


Essex Hemphill on Battling AIDS and Racism in Poetry

Hemphill is the author of two books of poetry, "Earth Life" and "Conditions," and a collection of prose and poetry called "Ceremonies." He's also the editor of "Brother to Brother: New Writings by Black Gay Men." He reads an excerpt from his poem "Vital Signs," published in the collection "Life Sentences: Writers, Artists, and AIDS," edited by Thomas Avena.


Poet Al Young on Being a Black Writer

Young has been accused of not truly reflecting the black experience in his writing because he is not militant. Instead. Young employs humor as means of protest. He often bases his characters on parodies of white stereotypes of black people. He is most noted for his poetry and novels, but has also written musical memoirs and screenplays. His new book is "Heaven: Collected Poems 1956-1990."

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