Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note…. LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka (1961)

1960s: Days of Rage


“… An Introduction by William J. Harris. I am so delighted that Poets House’s online series Chapbooks of the Mimeo Revolution is making Amiri Baraka’s first book, Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note …., available again in its totality. This splendid small volume loses so much by being selected. It isn’t so much that it is a unified whole but all of its parts together create a complex portrait of a young Black bohemian trying to find his way and himself. The book was published in 1961 by Baraka’s own Totem Press in association with the maverick book dealer Ted Wilentz’s Corinth Books. At the time of publication Baraka was still LeRoi Jones. Almost twenty-seven, editor of the influential avant-garde magazine Yugen, married to his co-editor Hettie Jones, a white Jewish woman, and living on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, he was a central figure of…

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