Born as "Everett Leroi Jones" and known as "The Rebel Poet", Amiri Baraka has infused his career with controversy and contradiction. The interesting thing about his aesthetic, to me, is that, while powerful, it might be too powerful to be realism. Yet, it was Baraka who stated: "A writer is committed to what is real and not to the sanctity of his feelings." After reading The Baptism, I wasn't sure I wholeheartedly believed that Baraka had committed to that philosophy.
His work is necessarily emotional. Baraka cared greatly about the unification of the African American community. He wrote for the sake of empowering "Black arts" and seperating them, maintaining, that is, a separation between "Black and White Arts". He therefore committed himself to writing for other black artists and creating communities for other black artists. It was his belief that, if he didn't do that, the White arts community would continue to use Black artists as cultural pawns.
As a writer, Baraka wrote through his passion. That passion, absolutely, flies out at the reader and , hopefully at the audience. As a poet, however, he does so in very few lines, very few exchanges and very general scenes. His plays ring bells surrounding important issues surrounding themes of isolation and hypocrisy. Baraka's poetic and dramatic works have therefore always excited the artists working on them as well as the audience in reception.
Baraka continues to write and teach today and we continue to hear his voice, loud and clear.