Amiri Baraka's beat Kenyatta
PoemTalk #20 featured a discussion of LeRoi Jones’s "Kenyatta Listening to Mozart" with Mecca Sullivan, Herman Beavers and Alan Loney. The PoemTalkers saw two political and aesthetic scenes in this poem, at least in the opening: first, “the back trails” of pre-Independence Kenya, and, second, “American poets in San Francisco,” the latter standing in, at least momentarily, for Baraka’s somewhat distinct concerns at the time: post-colonial radicalism and the Beat aesthetic. One could say, not quite accurately — but helpful for starters — that this was a time when Amiri Baraka was making the move from his Beat nexus to world-conscious political heterodoxy. For links to the recording of the poem and of the PoemTalk discussion, and more information, click here.