Poetry Tribute to Poet Ishmael Reed at SFJazz Center by Poet Yuri Kageyama

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Yuri Kageyama and her Yuricane band.

Yuri Kageyama and her Yuricane band.

SAN FRANCISCO — Ishmael Reed, legendary poet, novelist, playwright, essayist, educator and thinker, takes center stage at the SFJazz Center, 201 Franklin St. (at Fell) in San Francisco, where he is the poet laureate, to read his works in an evening of poetry and music celebrating his multicultural and multi-format legacy on Saturday, June 28, from 7 to 9 p.m.

Free admission. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Reed, one of the most respected American writers today, has fascinated and provoked many. A winner of the MacArthur “genius” award, he has published more than 20 books, including “Mumbo Jumbo” and “Japanese by Spring.” He has recorded the spoken word with renowned musicians. Coming soon is a nonfiction work on Muhammad Ali, “Bigger Than Boxing.”

Ishmael Reed

Ishmael Reed

He has also published the works of lesser-known writers, including some of his students at UC Berkeley, highlighting voices from minority groups that rarely get mainstream media exposure.

Tokyo-based poet and writer Yuri Kageyama, who is organizing the tribute for her mentor at the SFJazz Center, is one such writer and poet.

“Ishmael Reed was the first person to publish my poem, and that meant so much to a young poet who felt so alone but had so much to say,” says Kageyama.

Kageyama will be reading her poetry with her band from Japan, the Yuricane, a name that is inspired by Reed’s introduction to her latest book, “The New and Selected Yuri _ Writing from Peeling Till Now,” from Ishmael Reed Publishing Co. Her site: http://yurikageyama.com/.

The Yuricane band features as its musical director Hirokazu Suyama, drummer, with bassist Hiroshi Tokieda and guitarist Hide Asada, all hailing from the Berklee College of Music in Boston. They stand for a new breed of Japanese artists, who are not afraid to challenge cultural boundaries. Trupti Pandkar, another Berklee College of Music graduate, is the special guest vocalist.

Also reading their works that evening are Tennessee Reed, author of “Spell Alburquerque: Memoir of a ‘Difficult’ Student” and “Adventures Among the X Challenged,” and Genny Lim, whose new book of poems was published by Reed, with Marshall Trammell, who teaches in Oakland.

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