Amiri Baraka's beat Kenyatta

We at PoemTalk have of course been thinking about the late Amiri Baraka.  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 early Baraka/Jones 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.