Dodge Poetry Festival to pay tribute to Amiri Baraka

By Naomi Nix | NJ Advance Media for
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on October 23, 2014

Portrait of poet Amiri Baraka who is approaching his 75th birthday.


NEWARK — The Dodge Poetry Festival will be honoring the late Amiri Baraka on Sunday.

Baraka, father of Newark mayor Ras Baraka a longtime and fixture on the national poetry scene, died in January at the age of 79.

The elder Baraka participated in the first Dodge Poetry Festival in 1986, and was expected to participate in this year's festival, said festival director Martin Farawell.

“He was going to be here," Farawell said. "We had invited him."

Now, nationally-known poets such as Billy Collins, Rita Dove and Yusef Komunyakaa will be paying tribute to Baraka during the festival, which began today. Poets are expected to read selected works from Baraka.

“The idea is to kind of get the poems in the air of the person who can't be here,” Farawell said.

Sunday's tribute is scheduled to begin at noon in Prudential Hall in the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.

Later that day, Newark Symphony Hall is hosting a "Celebrate! Amiri Baraka" event. The event will start in the Sarah Vaughan Concert Hall at 2 p.m. and end at 5 p.m.

Featured performers include Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Ronnell Bey, and Richard Cammarieri among others, according to the symphony's website.

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