Amiri Baraka Has Died, a Remembrance

Amiri Baraka’s obituary in the NY Times this morning mentioned his first contact with Allen Ginsberg.

…to whom, in the puckish spirit of the times, he had written a letter on toilet paper reading, “Are you for real?” (“I’m for real, but I’m tired of being Allen Ginsberg,” came the reply, on what, its recipient would note with amusement, was “a better piece of toilet paper.”)

It reminded me that back in 1968, long after they’d connected, Ginsberg wrote up a dream he had about Baraka and sent it to me for a little magazine I was editing. I typed the piece, entitled “Genocide,” to fit the shape of a torn news photo showing a street demonstration about “the bomb” and “nuclear power in a nuclear age” and published it on the front of VDRSVP#2. Here’s the piece as it appeared, in 1969, but with Baraka’s photo added.

From VDRSVP#2 (enhanced with Amiri Baraka photo)

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