“S O S provides readers with rich, vital views of the African American experience and of Baraka’s own evolution as a poet-activist” (The Washington Post).
Fusing the personal and the political in high-voltage verse, Amiri Baraka whose long illumination of the black experience in America was called incandescent in some quarters and incendiary in others was one of the preeminent literary innovators of the past century (The New York Times). Selected by Paul Vangelisti, this volume comprises the fullest spectrum of Baraka’s rousing, revolutionary poems, from his first collection to previously unpublished pieces composed during his final years.
Throughout Baraka’s career as a prolific writer (also published as LeRoi Jones), he was vehemently outspoken against oppression of African American citizens, and he radically altered the discourse surrounding racial inequality. The environments and social values that inspired his poetics changed during the course of his life, a trajectory that can be traced in this retrospective spanning more than five decades of profoundly evolving subjects and techniques. Praised for its lyricism and introspection, his early poetry emerged from the Beat generation, while his later writing is marked by intensely rebellious fervor and subversive ideology. All along, his primary focus was on how to live and love in the present moment despite the enduring difficulties of human history.
A New York Times Editors’ Choice
“A big handsome book of Amiri Baraka’s poetry [that gives] us word magic, wit, wild thoughts, discomfort, and pleasure.” —William J. Harris, Boston Review
“The most complete representation of over a half-century of revolutionary and breathtaking work.” —Claudia Rankine, The New York Times Book Review