Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Amiri Baraka Dies


Amiri Baraka, the longtime activist and former poet laureate of New Jersey died today, officials confirmed. He was 79 years old.

Baraka was placed in intensive care at Beth Israel Medical Center last month for an unknown reason, but a spokesman for his son's mayoral campaign said his condition was improving late in December.
Newark Mayor Luis Quintana said Baraka will be sorely missed.

"I went to visit him at the hospital about two weeks ago," Quintana said by phone. "He was more than poet he was a leader in his own right. He's going to be missed and our condolences go out to his family today."

A Newark native and resident formerly known as Leroi Jones, Amiri Baraka has published dozens of poems, essays and works of non-fiction. In 1963 Amiri Baraka wrote "Blues People," an in-depth history of music from the time of slavery throughout the various incarnations of blues and jazz, with integrated social commentary. The book's 50th anniversary was recently celebrated during an event at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.

Baraka was also the state's poet laureate for a short time in 2002 and 2003.



  1. RBE:

    I think you need to to remember why he was canned as Nobel Laureate of New Jersey for his anti-Semitic poem on the WTC attack.

    Who knew the World Trade Center was gonna get bombed
    Who told 4000 Israeli workers at the Twin Towers
    To stay home that day
    Why did Sharon stay away?


    Who knew the bomb was gonna blow
    Who know why the terrorists
    Learned to fly in Florida, San Diego
    Who know why Five Israelis was filming the explosion
    And cracking they sides at the notion

    1. Lots of controversies around Baraka. I was at Stony Brook when he was teaching there, so I think his passing struck as much on a personal level as anything. But yes, I understand your point, Chaz.