Confinement Pt. 2
So, also artistic confinement. So, in theater, I’ve written seven plays, I’ve got an award for theater. My most recent play, The Final Version, did very well without a single review, without a single review in the — As a matter of fact, I say in a essay, that The Final Version which ran for about five weeks in New York, at the same time that this play was ignored by the media, the New York Times did plays written by white males about the black experience. One was a revival and the other was a new play. But they ignored The Final Version, which was about Cold War politics in 1930s-1950s in New York. But it had a good, robust ticket sales, because of word of mouth.1
So, I mean that’s how Amiri Baraka operated for many years after — I mean if you look at his work, if you look at how Gates and some of those people discussed him in that terrible Norton Anthology series that they got him to do — leaves out most of the William Melvin Kelley, leaves out John O. Killens, leaves out whole William Demby, leaves out a whole bunch of people. What they had done with Amiri Baraka, is to confine him to Dutchman. And so, his career ends in 1964. At least mine ends in 1972.
As a matter of fact, another one of Gates’ employees said in Oxford Guide to African-American Culture, that I’ve spent the last 30 years explaining myself. I mean, I’ve had to work with the guy at the Oxford Press to straighten and mess-up because there were all kind of errors in it. But they confined Baraka to 1964, because the establishment found what he wrote after Dutchman to be very not comforting to them. He wrote a number of plays after Dutchman, and those were ignored.