Text and Meaning in T.J. Reddy’s Poems in One-Part Harmony (part 1 of 4)

Cover of poet-artist T.J. Reddy's classic antiracism volume

T.J. Rdddy’s “Poems in One-Part Harmony”: A rediscovered classic by a hidden treasure of American art and literature.

“And the syndrome goes on;
this is only a poem,
wondering when to our senses
we will come home.”
––T.J. Reddy (from A Poem About A Syndrome)

Most of the more celebrated names among African-American authors, poets, and artists are known to the world because of their association with specific cultural arts movements. The recently-deceased  Amiri Baraka has been identified as a hero of both the late 1950s Beat Movement and the 1960s and 1970s Black Arts Movement. Poets such as Gwendolyn Brooks and Sterling Brown remain renowned for their link to the Harlem Renaissance.

One of the more powerful qualities of such movements is that they often inspire more creative genius than the world takes time to recognize. Or sometimes they produce creative thinkers of a type that “others” tend to fear and consequently attempt to destroy. It is possible both these scenarios may be applied to the poet, visual artist, human rights advocate, and educator known as T.J. Reddy.

A Select Catalog Listing

As a painter, Reddy’s work reflects the traditions of the Harlem Renaissance and the colors of the tropics––blazing reds, yellows, oranges and turquoise––assembled to present absorbing visual narratives on the culture and history of people of African descent. As a poet, he occupies a self-constructed space that bridges the aesthetic qualities and cultural concerns of fellow wordsmiths such as Haki Madhubuti, Etheridge Knight, and Henry Dumas. As an advocate for racial and social equality, he holds the uneasy distinction of having been one of “The Charlotte Three.”

His first book of poems, Less Than a Score But a Point, was published by no less than Random House’s Vintage Books imprint in 1974. That singular event literally placed his name in a select catalog listing beside some of literature’s most noted pens. They included those of: Langston Hughes, W.H. Auden, Albert Camus, William Faulkner, Sylvia Plath, Marcel Proust, Jean Paul Sartre, and Quincy Troupe.

To read the complete powerful story by Aberjhani please click this url:
Text and Meaning in T.J. Reddy’s Poems in One-Part Harmony (part 1 of 4) – National African-American Art | Examiner.com.

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Honoring the Life and Legacy of Amiri Baraka

The Great Author Amiri Baraka (photo by Lynda Koolish)

Amiri Baraka with poems and mic in hand. (photo by Lynda Koolish)

This story was first published as part 2 of the article “Two Literary Laureates Celebrated: Herta Muller and Amiri Baraka.” It is presented now to honor the life and legacy of the great African-American literary powerhouse Amiri Baraka (Oct 7, 1934-Jan 9, 2014).

While his was not among the names short-listed for the Nobel Prize in Literature, Amiri Baraka has long been lionized for his tell-tale intellectually precise yet poetic analysis of U.S. culture and his fire-brand style of political truth-telling.

A playwright, novelist, poet, essayist, short-story writer and performance artist all wrapped into one, the Newark-born Baraka attended Rutgers and Howard Universities and is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He launched his writing career under the name LeRoi Jones with the 1958 play, A Good Girl is Hard to Find, produced in Montclair, New Jersey. He went on to confirm the promise evident in his early efforts with the 1961 publication of his first major collection of poetry, Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note, and the 1964 Obie-winning play Dutchman, among other published and performed works.

These early years of Baraka’s career are often described as his “Beat” period both for the influence of jazz and blues music upon his writings and because of his literary affiliation with such Beat writers as Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, many of whose work he published in a literary magazine called Yugen.

Like Haki R. Madhubuti, Sonia Sanchez, Eugene Redmond, Nikki Giovanni, and a number of other African-American litterateurs still writing today, Baraka became a major voice of the 1960s Black Arts Movement that championed both the re-publication of classic works by Harlem Renaissance authors and the publication of new works by emerging black authors of the era.

To read more of the complete article by Aberjhani please click the link: Two Literary Laureates Celebrated: Herta Müller and Amiri Baraka (Part 2) – National African-American Art | Examiner.com.