I’ve come to believe that free-verse poetry contains some of the best examples of non-fiction in literature. As with all forms, the era and environment is crucial to development. Free-verse can be traced back a long way but the poets of the 20th century are the ones who caused it to flourish. One example out of many is Amiri Baraka, formerly known as LeRoi Jones. Jones began writing and was at first associated with the ‘beats’ as they were defining themselves. Jones soon struck out on his own as a very outspoken voice against the things he saw wrong in society; primarily blacks suffer as a race in general and it can all be blamed on whites. Or at least that is what comes out in most of his poetry I’m currently reading.
Author of two well respected books on jazz, playwright(Obie winner), activist, actor, professor(SUNY) and poet laureate of NJ(2002-04) Jones/Baraka is not a one note act. But as I work my way thru his final books of poetry as LeRoi Jones(The Dead Lecturer, Sabotage, Target Study, Black Art), as much I enjoyed his jazz essays and later collected poems, his relentless barrage of words about a subject I happen to agree with him about in principal makes for a tough read.
Unrelated health break: After 49 years, why have I suddenly developed my first case of “hives”. To my knowledge I’ve never had an allergy to anything my entire life. Stress? Changing diet? All of the above and more?