Old Dominion University
October 1-4, 1984
Formerly LeRoi Jones, Amiri Baraka has been hailed as "one of the most fascinating intellectual figures in postwar America," "the father of modern black poetry," and "one of America's most important writers." Baraka's first poetry collection, Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note, appeared in 1961. Two years later he published his brilliant discussion of music and culture, Blues People. Dutchman, his first play, opened in 1964 to perhaps the most excited acclaim ever accorded an off-Broadway production and received the year's Obie Award. In all, Baraka has published twenty-four plays, eleven volumes of poetry, six books of nonfiction, a novel, a story collection, and The Autobiography of LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka. He also founded Harlem's Black Arts Repertory Theater School and Newark's Spirit House.
In addition to his Monday evening reading, which will open the 1984 literary festival, Baraka will present a Tuesday afternoon talk, "Literature and Reality," and answer questions from the audience. [extracted from 1984 brochure]