Books by Amiri Baraka

Amiri Baraka is the author of numerous books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. He was named Poet Laureate of New Jersey by the N.J. Commission on Humanities, from 2002-2004. His last two books of poetry, Somebody Blew Up America & Other Poems and Un Poc


THE SYSTEM OF DANTE'S HELL by Amiri Baraka
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 5, 2016

"A pungent and lyrical portrait of mid-'60s black protest."
A fevered and impressionistic riff on the struggles of blacks in the urban North and rural South, as told through the prism of The Inferno.Read full book review >
TALES by Amiri Baraka
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 5, 2016

"An intense and button-pushing collection."
A clutch of early stories from the poet, playwright, and provocateur, infused with jazz and informed by racial alienation. Read full book review >
TALES OF THE OUT AND THE GONE by Amiri Baraka
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Dec. 1, 2006

"A perfect encapsulation of a sui generis writer—work that is often as frustrating as it is enlightening."
A grab-bag of pieces from the long-time poet, critic and provocateur, drawing inspiration from tall tales, sci-fi, Beat poetry and wild abstraction. Read full book review >
EULOGIES by Amiri Baraka
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Dec. 15, 1996

One boring sectarian rant after another—astonishingly leavened and redeemed, at points, by real poetry. Baraka has compiled some 40 eulogies, many of which he delivered in person at memorial services. They celebrate world- famous artists, like Bob Marley and James Baldwin, as well as unsung local heros and heroines, like Joe Landrum, who worked two jobs so that his wife could be a community activist. Many commemorate Baraka's friends or relatives, his sister Kimako, for instance, who was murdered at the age of 48. Most of the figures memorialized here dedicated their lives to the kind of work Baraka admires: resistance to the white domination of US and world culture. Baraka can be tiresome; his Marxist/Leninist tirades against white capitalist imperialism and his exhortations to revolution, relentlessly repeated here, are utterly without originality; they have no literary merit, nor do they lend much insight into the people he is supposed to be eulogizing. Luckily, however, there is more to Baraka's writing than that. He is at his best when writing about jazz musicians. In these pieces his hectoring is transformed into a surreal prose, free-associative, rhythmic, and adventurous, like the noncommercial jazz he loves. Of the musician Don Pullen he says, ``Don spoke in a swirl of pictures. Like the voice of our mother the sky, when she is wet and on fire.'' Celebrating the technique of Miles Davis, he asserts that ``I was with you in that fingering, that slick turn and hang of the whole self and horn.'' Such moments, oases in Baraka's parched polemic, do make the collection a worthwhile read. Listening to Baraka is not unlike listening to music: Bursts of raw, spontaneous improvisation can light up—and begin to transform—even the most overplayed set. Read full book review >