beware : do not read this poem

tonite, thriller was
abt an ol woman, so vain she
surrounded herself w /
many mirrors

it got so bad that finally she
locked herself indoors & her
whole life became the

one day the villagers broke
into her house , but she was too
swift for them . she disappeared
into a mirror
each tenant who bought the house
after that , lost a loved one to

the ol woman in the mirror :
first a little girl
then a young woman
then the young woman/s husband

the hunger of this poem is legendary
it has taken in many victims
back off from this poem
it has drawn in yr feet
back off from this poem
it has drawn in yr legs

back off from this poem
it is a greedy mirror
you are into this poem . from
the waist down
nobody can hear you can they ?
this poem has had you up to here
this poem aint got no manners
you cant call out from this poem

relax now & go w / this poem

move & roll on to this poem
do not resist this poem
this poem has yr eyes
this poem has his head
this poem has his arms
this poem has his fingers
this poem has his fingertips

this poem is the reader & the
reader this poem

statistic : the us bureau of missing persons re-
ports that in 1968 over 100,000 people
disappeared leaving no solid clues
nor trace only
a space in the lives of their friends

Ishmael Reed. Online Source
Monday November 17, 2003
7:00pm - 9:00pm  Station Bldg. Aud. #3
Collaboration with Kendra Kopelke & University of Baltimore Creative Writing Program
Poet, Novelist, Dramatist, Opera Writer, Essayist, TV & Stage Director and Editor
Ishmael Reed, together with Toni Morrison, is one of today's pre-eminent African American literary figures--perhaps the most widely reviewed since Ralph Ellison, and, along with Samuel Delany and Amiri Baraka, probably the most controversial.  Ishmael Reed began writing his own jazz column for Empire State, a weekly African American newspaper in Buffalo, NY.

Post Open in 192. Since the publication of his first novel, The Free-Lance Pallbearers, in 1967, Reed has thus far produced seven novels, four books of poetry, two collections of essays, numerous reviews and critical articles, and has edited two major anthologies. Reed's literary style is best known for its use of parody and satire in attempts to create new myths and to challenge the formal conventions of literary tradition. Reed's works have alternately been criticized as incoherent, muddled, and abstruse, and hailed as multicultural, revolutionary, vivid, and containing a deep awareness of mythic archetypes.

Born 1938 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Ishmael Reed grew up in working class neighborhoods in Buffalo, New York. He attended Buffalo public schools and the University of Buffalo. He moved to New York City, where he co founded the East Village Other (1965), an underground newspaper that achieved a national reputation. Also that year he organized the American Festival of Negro Art. As well as being a novelist, poet, and essayist, he is a songwriter, television producer, publisher, magazine editor, playwright, and founder of the Before Columbus Foundation and There City Cinema, both of which are located in northern California. He has taught at Harvard, Yale, and Dartmouth, and for twenty years he has been a lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley, He lives in Oakland, California.

Since the publication of his first novel, The Free-Lance Pallbearers (1967), Reed has devoted himself to the production of a substantial body of literature - fiction, poetry and essays - which has as its consistent objective the satirizing of American political, religious and literary repression. His literary subversion has expressed itself in parodies of political realities: the racism and greed of the Reagan era in The Terrible Twos (1982) and the recent Japanese by Spring (1993), fundamentalist Christian white supremacist values in The Terrible Threes (1989) and parodies of literary forms themselves, western pulp novels in Yellow Back Radio Broke-Down (1969), slave narratives in Flight To Canada (1976), and detective fiction in Mumbo Jumbo (1972) which pits proponents of rationalism and militarism against believers in the magical and intuitive, The Last Days of Louisiana Red (1974).

Mumbo Jumbo (1972) was the work that first achieved wide notoriety for the author, and it is considered by several scholars to be his best, along with Flight to Canada (1976). He has received numerous honors, fellowships, and prizes, including the Lewis H. Michaux Literary Prize, awarded to him in 1978 by the Studio Museum in Harlem.

He is a founder of the Before Columbus Foundation, which annually presents the American Book Awards; the Oakland Chapter of PEN; and There City Cinema, an organization which furthers the distribution and discussion of films from throughout the world.  Two of his books have been nominated for National Book Awards, and a book of poetry, Conjure, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.  A poem written for in Seattle in 1969, "Beware Do Not Read This Poem," has been cited by Gale Research Company as one of the approximately 20 poems that teachers and librarians have identified as the most frequently studied in literature courses.  Harold Bloom designated Mumbo Jumbo one of the 500 most important books of the Western canon.  He has received writing fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, and National Endowment and New York State Council of the Arts fellowships for publishing and video production.  In 1991, he received an American Cultures Fellowship from U.C. Berkeley to produce an original television drama.  In 1995, he received the Langston Hughes Medal, awarded by City College of New York.  In 1997, he received the Lila Wallace Reader's Digest Award; in 1998, a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship award; and a Fred Cody Award from he Bay Area Book Reviewers Association in 1999.


"In The Reed Reader, Reed's skills as satirist, parodist, comic, intellect and all-around provocateur are in full, glimmering display."  - The News and Observer
"After 40 years of 'writin' fightin', Reed offers this mid-career report.  Lovers of his style will revel in this collection."  - Booklist
"Reed is a knock-out artist, a Roy Jones Jr. of the pen.  Reed's boxing ring is the world and his opponents are oppressors, racists, exploiters, tyrants and hypocrites of all sizes, colors and genders.  When Reed is at the top of his game, you can run, but you can't hide."  - The New York Amsterdam News
"Ishmael Reed is a genius and one of our most gifted and brilliant satirists, and hid fiction, non-fiction, and poetry alike resurrects the dead.  Much can be learned reading his works which stand the test of time."  - Terry McMillian, Author
"Ishmael Reed has elevated American satire to a new level, one that Mark Twain would appreciate.  The sweep of his work has both grandeur and genius, and even when you disagree with him, he has you laughing, often at yourself.  His always provocative writing has humanity, humor, power and vision.  A true original."  - Jill Nelson, Author

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