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Amiri Baraka (1934-2014) was the most influential African American poet of the last half-century. His was a wide ranging, experimental practice that left its mark on literary poetry, spoken word verse, and hip-hop. He was a socially committed and engaged intellectual who combined a Marxist enthusiasm with a linguistic panache that resulted in a rich, humorous, and rigorous body of work. Patrick James Dunagan looks at a summing-up collection of his work.