Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Happy Birthday Ishmael Reed

Today, February 22nd, is the birthday of one of our greatest poets & writers, Ishmael Reed. Unquestionably among the most highly original and innovative literary figures in our time, Reed has written in a number of genres with mastery, deft intelligence and an agility of the imagination that is unequaled. A profound interpreter of jazz, Reed has been at the helm of the band Conjure for decades now. Their most recent release, Badmouth (available on American Clave), is the among the finest examples of the elusive mixture know as jazz-poetry. A prolific publisher and editor as well, Reed has launched the careers of many now famous writers. Most recently, after many years as a "sideman" in the recording studio, Reed has released a cd under his own leadership, For All We Know. His Collected Poems, also now available, was named a New York Times notable book of the year, 2008. Last year saw the publication of his collected works as a playwright. Among his many collections of essays, Barack Obama & the Jim Crow Media, ranks far and away the best analysis to date on our President and his complex relationships with American culture. His most recent novel is Juice! For all his many books, if you are unfamiliar with this international genius, the classic Mumbo Jumbo, is a good place to start. Happy Birthday Ishmael, we love you!

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