Nikki Giovanni

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Amiri Baraka dies at age 79

By Dwight Hobbes

Contributing Writer


In 1964, Amiri Baraka (then going by his given name LeRoi Jones) stood the American Theatre on its ear with the wildly controversial, Obie Award-winning drama Dutchman. He never equaled that success again, but his name and lasting fame had been solidly established, enhanced by the 1967 film version starring Al Freeman, Jr. (Malcolm X, Once Upon A Time…When We Were Colored) and directed by Anthony Harvey (The Lion In Winter, The Glass Menagerie). The story, a rite-of-passage saga for African American males, depicted the explosive self-realization of a young, middle-class man shattering the veneer of social convention to assert his Blackness. Baraka’s career began in the early ’60s among New York City’s bohemian elite most notably with his book Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note and his founding of Totem Press, which published the works of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. One of the most highly-regarded writers and controversial figures of his generation, he is hailed as a primary architect of the historic Black Arts Movement, which — also in the ’60s — saw the emergence of playwright Ed Bullins, poets Nikki Giovanni and Sonia Sanchez, and novelists Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison and Ishmael Reed. Continue Reading →

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This Week’s Entertainment Spots




Talk of the Stacks: Nikki Giovanni


• The author reads from her new poetry collection, Chasing Utopia: A Hybrid.  

• Free admission


• Thu., Dec. 12, 7 pm


• Minneapolis Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis


• Go to or call 952-847-8107 for more information.  







Tower of Power

• Thurs. and Fri., Dec. Continue Reading →

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Autumn Reign’s Truth Serum: poetry to touch and heal


It’s quite an accomplishment to write poetry well. If you don’t think so browse through the aisle of a bookstore — one of the few that may be left in an area near you — and take agood look at just how many books you can find of either cloying drivel or pretentious pap that pass for poems.

That, in and of itself, makes Autumn Reign’s Truth Serum, Watering Seasons of My Love (Belfrey Books) a relief, penned in a sure hand that consistently engages and, at times, wholly compels. All the more noteworthy, Truth Serum is a debut collection, the first time out of the gate for a voice that already warrants close listening. As in, “No matter the threat of thunderstorm in my sky, you have been the lightening that has illuminated my heart, I cannot always express why or what but the light has always been there shining awaiting your return… Loving you has always been cloudy on a clear day.”

Autumn Reign (AR) is a native of Boston MA. She grew up in Dorchester and attended Boston High school and Northeastern University. Continue Reading →

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