„A dirty blindness binds us o the knot of un/ The will of when, the care of never/ This is hell for sure, there is no heaven/ But what you make…” Amiri Baraka
Outstanding, violent poems, full of disturbance and precise artistic punches, that the artist virtuosically uses, at the same time not causing any harm, just forces you to thinking.
„Baraka not only manages to warp „correct” language, but also to overturn the meanings lodged within it, sometimes scoffingly. Among his favourite maneuvers are all kinds of paranomazje, pseudo-homonyms and forced homophonic phrases, breaking the structure with wide open ellipses, which place the oder of the text in doubt, overturning the emotional vale of words and inventing grammatical constructions. (…) Baraka’s subsequent poems increasingly became „musical” compositions, meant to be performed by the author alone, like jazz improvisations. And indeed, as a performer of his poetry, Amiri achieves astounding results. In his essay Poetry and Karma he states: (…) the combination of sound, rhythm and image imitate the parts of the universe. This is why it goes deeper, descends down under the rim of significance, returning feeling to language, to help us come to places or reach layers inaccessible to the intellect. In the poem Gatsby’s Theory of Aesthetics he writes of the calling of the black poet, who was to achive the magic power of verbalizing collective emotions and intuitions discovered in the deepest stores of individuality. This sort of poetry was to evoke more faith than delight, which is why he says the condition of writig well is sincerity, for in itself the poem is artifical as a form, for poetry has no form, only effect.” (text from the book)
About the author:
Amiri Baraka — a legendary American poet born in 1934, is an icon of poetic rebellion, political activist, rebel, happener and an agitator. In the 1960s he contributed to the development of a current rooted in black Harlem — The Black Arts Movement. He often presents his poems accompanied by different constellations of outstanding musicians. In 2009 he was a guest of Ars Cameralis Festival and gave a performance in Katowice, together with his project Amiri Baraka’s Speech Quartet, during the Zbieg poetycki NaDziko. He is the author of over 40 books of poetry, essays, literary and musical criticism, and is the winner of innumerable prestigious awards.
Stephen Shames — born in 1947 is a world-famous American photographer, creator of numerous prestigious award-winning photographic series on the most intimate aspects of humanity, such as exclusion, and longing. He is the author of four monographs: Outside the Dream, Pursuing the Dream, The Black Panthers and Transforming Lives.
Details of the publication:
Translation: Artur Grabowski
Edited and corrected by: Olga Nowak
Layout: Katarzyna Bochenek
Photographs: Stephen Shames
Publisher: Cultural Institution Ars Cameralis Silesiae Superioris
Year and place of publishing: Katowice 2010
Bilingual edition: Polish and English
The book was published after meeting with the poet in Katowice during ⅩⅧ Ars Cameralis Festival 2009.