Amiri Baraka & Thomas Sayers Ellis

Amiri Baraka published his first volume of poetry, Preface to a Twenty-Volume Suicide Note, in 1961. His book Blues People: Negro Music in White America, is still regarded as the seminal work on Afro-American music and culture. His reputation as a playwright was established with the production of Dutchman at the Cherry Lane Theatre in 1964. The play was revived by the Cherry Lane Theatre in January 2007 and has been reproduced around the world. He has been prolific across four decades, most recently, his book of short stories, Tales of the Out & The Gone (Akashic Books) was published in late 2007, Home, his book of social essays, was re-released by Akashic Books in early 2009 and Digging: The Afro American Soul of Music (Univ. of California) was also published in 2009. The Before Columbus Foundation named Digging: The Afro-American Soul of American Classical Music winner of the 31st annual American Book Awards for 2010. Poet and photographer, Thomas Sayers Ellis co-founded The Dark Room Collective in in 1988 and earned a M.F.A. from Brown University in 1995.  His first, full collection, The Maverick Room, was published by Graywolf Press in 2005 and awarded The 2006 John C. Zacharis First Book Award. He is also the author of The Good Junk (Take Three #1, Graywolf 1996); a chapbook The Genuine Negro Hero (Kent State University Press, 2001) and the chaplet Song On (WinteRed Press 2005).  A faculty member of The Lesley University low-residency M.F.A program (Cambridge, Massachusetts), Mr. Ellis is currently the Poetry Editor of The Baffler. Skin, Inc.. (Graywolf Press, 2010) is his most recent collection of poems and photographs. He will be joined by saxophone player James Brandon Lewis.