Ishmael Reed

Utne Reader visionary [Originally published as Ishmael Reed in the January-February 1995 issue of Utne Reader]


| January/February 1995


Reed is a man of good grace and clear vision whose calling it has been to make various American cultures self-conscious as well as other-conscious; proud and aware but also disabused of cross-cultural misperceptions. As a novelist (James Baldwin called him “a great writer”), poet, essayist, songwriter, anthologies editor, journalist, playwright, and founder of the Before Columbus Foundation (which produces and distributes the work of unknown ethnic writers) and P.E.N. Oakland, Reed has extended and enriched the definition of African-American culture. He is the author of The Free-lance Pall Bearers, Yellow Back Radio Broke-Down, Mumbo Jumbo, Flight to Canada, Reckless Eyeballing, and Japanese by Spring, among other books.