Speaking Up: The Power of Protest Poetry

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Amiri Baraka addressing the Malcolm X Festival on May 19, 2007 in San Antonio Park, Oakland, California. (Photo: David Sasaki)

The late poet Amiri Baraka once said, "I wrote poetry 'cause I always had something to say. Always." Baraka's work is included in a new anthology, "Of Poetry and Protest: From Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin," alongside the verses of other poets tackling topics of racism and the killings of black Americans. We speak with the co-editor Michael Warr and other local poets about how the power of the verse has helped to inspire and inform protest movements.



Al Young, poet laureate of California in 2005

Michael Warr, deputy director, Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco; co-editor, "Of Poetry and Protest: From Emmet Till to Trayvon Martin"

Prentice Powell, Oakland-based spoken word artist

Aya de Leon, poet & director, June Jordan's Poetry for the People at UC Berkeley