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Amiri Baraka, 1934-2014

1:28 PM, Jan 10, 2014 • By SOHRAB AHMARI
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What drew the Garden State’s arts and academic establishment to his work in the first place remains a mystery. Whatever measure of innovation was contained in Baraka’s early work had long been swept away by his need to declaim on ideological matters; what remained was bombastic, artless verse resembling the jeremiads of street-corner doomsayers. Still the awards came, including one from the—no doubt racist and imperialist—National Endowment for the Arts.

Sohrab Ahmari is an assistant books editor at the Wall Street Journal.

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