Biography of Ishmael Reed
Ishmael Scott Reed (born February 22, 1938) is an American poet, essayist, playwright and novelist. Reed is known for his satirical works challenging American political culture, and highlighting political and cultural oppression.
Reed's work has often sought to represent neglected African and African-American perspectives, his energy and advocacy have centered more broadly on neglected peoples and perspectives, irrespective of their cultural origins.
Reed was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but grew up in Buffalo, New York, where he attended the University of Buffalo, a private university that became part of the state public university system after he left. The university awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1995.
In 1998, Reed spoke about his influences in an interview: "I've probably been more influenced by poets than by novelists — the Harlem Renaissance poets, the Beat poets, the American surrealist Ted Joans. Poets have to be more attuned to originality, coming up with lines and associations the ordinary prose writer wouldn't think of."
He moved to New York City in 1962 and co-founded with the late Walter Bowart the East Village Other, a well-known underground publication. He was also a member of the Umbra Writers Workshop, an organization among whose members were some that helped establish the Black Arts Movement and promoted a Black Aesthetic, although Ishmael Reed was never a participant in that movement.
In 2005, Reed retired from teaching at the University of California, Berkeley, where he taught for thirty-five years. He currently lives in Oakland, California, with his wife of more than 40 years, Carla Blank, the acclaimed author, choreographer, and director. His archives are located in Special Collections at the University of Delaware in Newark. Ishmael Reed made an appearance as a plenary speaker at the 2008 &NOW Festival, which took place at Chapman University. Reed's blog appears at www.sfgate.com.
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Ishmael Reed Poems
I Am A Cowboy In The Boat Of Ra
'The devil must be forced to reveal any such physical evil (potions, charms, fetishes, etc.) still outside the body and these must be burned.' (Rituale Romanum, published 1947, endorsed by the coat-of-arms and introductory
Beware: Do Not Read This Poem
tonite, thriller was about an old woman, so vain she surrounded herself with
What You Mean I Can't Irony?
A high-yellow lawyer woman told me I ought to go to Europe to "broaden your per
Sather Tower Mystery
Seems there was this Professor a member of what should be called The Good German Department
The Pope Replies to the Ayatollah Khomei...
My Dear Khomeini: I read your fourteen thousand dollar ad asking me why the Vatican waited
Points of View
The pioneers and the indians disagree about a lot of things for example, the pioneer says that when you meet a bear in the woods
Well it's six o'clock in Oakland and the sun is full of wine I say, it's six o'clock in Oakland and the sun is red with wine
Dialog Outside the Lakeside Grocery
The grocery had provided him with boxes of rotten lettuce He was loading them onto a yellow pick-up truck
1 Some say that Chattanooga is the Old name for Lookout Mountain To others it is an uncouth name
The Author Reflects on His 35th Birthday
35? I have been looking forward To you for many years now So much so that I feel you and I are old
American Airlines Sutra
put yr cup on my tray the stewardess said 40,000 feet up. (well i've never done it that way. what
American Airlines Sutra
put yr cup on my tray
the stewardess said 40,000
feet up. (well i've
never done it that way. what
have i got to lose.)
i climb into a cab & the
woman driver is singing
along with Frank Sinatra
"how was your flight coming in?"
(another one. these americans,
only one thing on their