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Ishmael Reed together with Toni Morrison is one of todays pre-eminent African American literary figures--perhaps the most widely reviewed since Ralph Ellison and along with Samuel Delany and Amiri Baraka probably the most controversial -Ishmael Reed began writing his own jazz column for Empire State a weekly African American newspaper in Buffalo NY Post Open in 192 Since the publication of his first novel The Free-Lance Pallbearers in 1967 Reed has thus far produced seven novels four books of poetry two collections of essays numerous reviews and critical articles and has edited two major anthologies Reeds literary style is best known for its use of parody and satire in attempts to create new myths and to challenge the formal conventions of literary tradition Reeds works have alternately been criticized as incoherent muddled and abstruse and hailed as multicultural revolutionary vivid and containing a deep awareness of mythic archetypes Born 1938 in Chattanooga Tennessee Ishmael Reed grew up in working class neighborhoods in Buffalo New York He attended Buffalo public schools and the University of Buffalo He moved to New York Citywhere he cofounded the East Village Other 1965 an underground newspaper that achieved a national reputation Also that year he organized the American Festival of Negro Art As well as being a novelist poet and essayist he is a songwriter television producer publisher magazine editor playwright and founder of the Before Columbus Foundation and There City Cinema both of which are located in northern California He has taught at Harvard Yale and Dartmouth and for twenty years he has been a lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley He lives in Oakland California Since the publication of his first novel The Free-Lance Pallbearers 1967 Reed has devoted himself to the production of a substantial body of literature - fiction poetry and essays - which has as its consistent objective the satirizing of American political religious and literary repression His literary subversion has
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