PULLMAN, Wash. — African American poet, essayist and novelist Ishmael Reed will conclude the 2002-2003 “Who Speaks for America?” lecture series with an April 18 presentation.
The 7:30 p.m. talk is scheduled for the Samuel H. Smith Center for Undergraduate Education, Room 203.

Reed is said to be one of today’s finest African American literary figures–perhaps the most widely reviewed since Ralph Ellison and one of the most controversial.

A few of his recent books include “Multi America: Essays on Cultural Wars and Cultural Peace,” “Another Day at the Front: Dispatches from the Race War,” “From Totems to Hip-Hop: A Multicultural Anthology of Poetry Across the Americas, 1900-2002,” “Mumbo Jumbo” and “Flight to Canada.”

“No one says a novel has to be one thing,” Reed said. “It can be anything it wants to be, a vaudeville show, the six o’clock news, the mumblings of wild men saddled by demons.”

Since receiving widespread attention in 1967 with his first novel, “The Free-Lance Pallbearers,” Reed has become a celebrated novelist, poet, and publisher who is sometimes called a rabble-rouser and controversial giant of the American literary culture. He is an American Book Award winner, MacArthur Fellow and a Pulitzer nominee, best known for his use of parody and satire to challenge the formal conventions of tradition. Reed has also lectured at some of the country’s greatest universities, including Harvard, Dartmouth, Yale and Berkeley.

Reed also co-founded and serves on the board of directors of the Before Columbus Foundation, a public foundation established to promote American multicultural literature.

Created nearly 20 years ago by Alex Kuo, now chair of the Department of Comparative American Cultures, the “Who Speaks for America?” lecture series brings award winning writers, poets and activists to campus to provide faculty, staff and students and residents of the Palouse the opportunity to hear diverse voices.