The Last Poets at 50

BBC Radio 4

The Last Poets have been called a microcosm of black America. A group of musicians, performers and poets in New York, they became famous in the late 60s for their hard-hitting, self-critical spoken word poems, responding to the civil rights and black nationalist movements.

In conversation with the remaining members at their home in Harlem, we explore how the Last Poets transformed black American spoken word poetry, and influenced future generations of writers and artists. And get inside the themes and ideas behind the poems themselves, including the lyrical charge of works such as White Man’s Got a God Complex and When the Revolution Comes.

The programme is timely in the light of a new book by the writer Christine Otten about the lives of the Last Poets and the Last Poets’ new album Understand What Black is

(image c/o Apples & Snakes / New Analog Design)

Producer: Jo Wheeler

Broadcast Date: 26th August 2018