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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

And The Top 25 Most Influential Writers Would Be...

So, check it:

I was tagged by fellow Brotha blogger Keith to form a list of the 25 Most Influential writers in my personal estimation, right? At first, I thought this would be a cakewalk, because truthfully, I’m a knowledge junkie. I get a little high on literary grog. I become a tad agog when I see, hear or read greatness. I hold in the Highest Regard those people who create a world and who allow me an entrance into it, if only with the keys of my imagination. So, being an vivid reader, I've been influenced by a lot of artist-people, and by the characters, the places, the dialogues they created. The art of writing has always helped me to get in touch with my core emotions, shape my opinions, inspire and inform the way I view the world.

However, since writing isn’t comprised solely of book authors, in naming 25 influences I had to show some respect for other forms to reflect the infinite variety (books, music, theatre, etc.), and that’s where my list became tricky.

So... these are the ones off the top of my noggin that have left an indelible impression upon my heart, spirit and psyche:

1. William Shakespeare

2. Walt Whitman

3. Toni Morrison

4. James Baldwin

5. Langston Hughes

6. Zora Neale Hurston

7. Alex Haley

8. F. Scott Fitzgerald

9. Gwendolyn Brooks

10. Amiri Baraka

11. Maya Angelou

12. Jack Kerouac

13. Eldridge Cleaver

14. Ishmael Reed

15. Henry Dumas

16. Nikki Giovanni

17. Audre Lorde

18. Lorraine Hansbury

19. August Wilson

20. Arthur Miller

21. Ntozake Shange

22. Tennessee Williams

23. Tupac Shakur

24. Walter Mosley

25. Truman Capote

Damn! That was hard. Many others made the list... then I had to delete them because I was only allowed 25. However, honorable mentions and special shout-outs must go to:

Ralph Ellison, Stevie Wonder, Jayne Cortez, Alain Locke, William Carlos Williams, Federico Garcia Lorca, Joseph Beam, Norman Mailer, Alice Walker, Joni Mitchell, Etheridge Knight, Haki Madhubuti, Marlon Riggs, John Ashberry, Allen Ginsberg, Essex Hemphill, Robert Bly, Prince Rogers Nelson, June Jordan, Gloria Naylor, Jamaica Kincaid, Hart Crane, Countee Cullen, Lucille Clifton, Adrienne Rich, Sylvia Plath, Rita Dove, Lennon and McCartney, Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon, Rickie Lee Jones, Ursula Rucker, Maggie Estep, Clarence Major, Charles Johnson, and a host of others whose number compete with the amount of stars in Heaven.

Since I must tag THREE others, I’d be curious to know the influences of the following blog-lings:

Joaquin Carvel

Free Spirit