Contemporary Life (Since ’91)

Amiri Baraka was 57 years old in 1991 at the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Even though he was a Communist sympathizer long before this point, Baraka finally achieved freedom from facing alienation and hostility for his views.  This point in American History is also cited as an era of political stability and economic growth.  Since the controversies that were associated with Baraka had faded, I believe that Baraka reentered the Canon about this this time.

On September 11, 2001 Baraka penned a poem titled “Somebody Blew Up America”, and it caused a media uproar.  His controversial viewpoints would once again attract the critics from polar opposites; he was welcomed by many and denounced at the same time (Pearce 18).  Baraka’s influence on contemporary music, popular culture, and political activism remains an enormous force to this day.  For example, Hip Hop Music has certainly inherited Baraka’s usage of words as weapons.  Canonical consideration.  Although some of Amiri Baraka’s critics would like to minimize his plight to that of a bigoted author, many other Americans find his reflections during such tumultuous times to be insightful.  He continues lecturing to this day, and has taught at Yale, Columbia, and SUNY Stony Brook (Pearce 44).

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