Amiri Baraka: poeta walczący

Paweł Jędrzejko


Paweł Jędrzejko

Amiri Baraka: A Poet Fighter

(Two Interviews)

The tripartite “Dialogues and Polemics”section of the present issue consist of Christopher Bigsby’s interview with Amiri Baraka (originally published in the Theatre Quarterly in 1978), the latter’s controversial poem “Somebody Blew Up America” and a conversation with the poet recorded in the artist’s backstage room of the Hipnoza Jazz Club in Katowice, Poland, immediately after a moving performance of the Amiri Baraka Speech Quartet during the Ars Cameralis Silesiae Superioris Festival in 2009. The interlocutors were accompanied by a leading jazz pianist, Dave Burrell, and an excellent double bass player, William Parker. Attempting to illustrate the metamorphoses of Amiri Baraka’s artistic and political Weltanschauung over the past three decades, the juxtaposition of the two interviews demonstrates both its continuity and its evolution. On the one hand, artistic attempts to contrast the current discourse of Americanness with the ideological basis of the American project seem to be constant in Baraka’s work: the artist employs “Americanness” to criticize Americanness, as is the case in his unsettling interpretation of Melville’s Moby-Dick, entitled “Re: Port” (1996) ― or in his “Somebody Blew Up America” of 2001, the publication of which cost him the title of Poet Laureate of the State of New Jersey. On the other hand, his concept of People’s Revolution undergoes change, reflecting the artist’s ideological evolution in the light of the transformations of social, political and economic realities of America in the past thirty years.

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"ER(R)GO. Teoria–Literatura–Kultura",  ISSN 1508-6305, e-ISSN 2544-3186, email:,, Wszystkie prawa zastrzeżone.