The Last Poets: Conversation with Christine Otten & Brent Edwards

April 04, 2019

Founded in Harlem in 1968, The Last Poets presented their passionate, self-critical poetry to reflect the atmosphere of hope and anger, revolution and redemption. Their story is now told by the Dutch author Christine Otten, in an audacious, jazzy novel, based on the The Last Poets’ life stories, from their youth in the ghetto to their love lives, triumphs and defeats. Against the background of the Last Poets’ sound and images, Brent Edwards discusses with Otten pivotal questions her novel raises about style and voice, race and privilege, power and imagination.

Otten and Edwards also discussed her relationship with members of the Last Poets, the relationships they had between each other, ingratiation into African American culture as an outsider, and the universality of messages in parallel to their specific cultural contexts. Otten concluded the event by reading a portion of her novel.

The event was sponsored by the European Institute, The Studies of the Dutch-Speaking World, The Institute for Research in African-American Studies, and The Center for Jazz Studies.

Click here for more photos from the event:

Professor Ido de Haan
Professor Brent Edwards
Christine Otten
The Last Poets