Liberation Narratives: New and Collected Poems 1966-2009
By Malik A. Azeez
Haki R. Madhubuti is the visionary, griot, revolutionary and independent literary voice that speaks to the Black/African centered poetic tradition of African people in Liberation Narratives.
This book of poetry spans 43 years of his work, highlighting the artistic development of his poetry and the cultural value of a Black literary aesthetic. This is manifested in the lives of Black men, showing respect for Black women, children, educating the youth and practicing unity in relationships between a man and a woman. Also, there are many seeds of wisdom in his literary ideas which show the power of the Black Arts, African identity, knowing our history, loving family, liberation, honoring women and Black men being responsible in a family context.
Liberation Narratives is a literary masterpiece that encompasses Madhubuti’s unique style within the great literary context of Black/African people through conscious struggle in the Black Arts Movement (1960’s) to 2009, justice and cultural empowerment.
The sections in the book are the following: Liberation Narratives, 2009; Think Black, 1966; Black Pride, 1968; Don’t Cry, Scream 1969; We Walk The Way of the New World, 1970; Earthquakes and Sunrise Missions, 1984; Black Men, 1991; Claiming Earth, 1994; GroundWork 1991 and Heartlove: Wedding and Love Poems. Two other sections are: Tough Notes, 2002 and Run Toward Fear, 2004. Truly, Madhubuti celebrates his literary briliance coupled with an authentic Black aesthetic; his own conscious development as a people’s poet and the value of honoring our elders, truth, love, family, spirituality, Pan-Africanism and the power of committed Black leadership.
In sum, Madhubuti’s Liberation Narratives deals with the creative genius of the Black literary tradition personified in his poetry and the nurturing of proactive African-centered poetry to improve the quality of human life. His poetry is culturally and spiritually liberating, revolutionary, trans-formative ideas and a celebration of the Black Arts, as well as the value of a conscious mind, soul and quality lifestyle. Equally important, he pays tribute to great Black/African leaders, such as: Gwendolyn Brooks, W.E.B. Dubois, Malcolm X, Paul Robeson, John Coltrane, John Oliver Killens, Dudley Randall, Kwame Nkrumah, Dr. Frances Welsing, Nelson Mandela, Hoyt Fuller, Yosef ben-Jochannan, Barbara Sizemore and his family-Dr. Safisha Madhubuti, Mariama, Laini, Regina, Don, Bomani and Akili. Beyond this, Madhubuti believes “The literature of a culture is a totality of the definitions, a self-portrait of that culture. Knowledge of a literature, then, yields valuable in-sight into the culture that produces it.”