Amiri Baraka in Cork

Thursday 24 April 2008 12:59

Poet, dramatist, founding figure of the Black Arts movement, political activist and fierce social critic Amiri Baraka will read here in Cork on Saturday evening as part of the City Libraries'' World Book Fest.

Baraka is, perhaps, the central figure in the Black Arts movement in the USA, its founding father and earliest and greatest inspiration. His polemical theatre and poetry has enabled the huge upsurge in art and writing by black Americans since he founded the Rep in 1958.

Baraka has always been political. He was discharged from the USA army for having left-wing books in his possession – this was during the Cold War.

Initially a figure in avante-gardist writing and culture in Greenwich Village, he became closer to black radicals and himself became a black nationalist. He eventually rejected black nationalism, calling it ''a form of fascism'', in favour of communism, calling for the poor of all races to unite against the rich.

He has been a consistent political and social critic, particularly of the Bush presidency and has adopted an interesting and subtle position on the candidacy of Barack Obama, typified by his activist''s call for pressure to be applied at the vital early stages, "If we don''t do nothing, he won''t do nothing."

Amiri Baraka will read from his work and answer audience questions on Saturday next, April 25th at 7.30pm in the Central Library, Cork.

For a full programme for the World Book Fest click here.