Ishmael Reed


I think that many critics are into duplication, willing to accept, meekly, any orthodoxy. Jack Foley is a maverick. His not being tied to any institution gives him the freedom to explore aspects of American culture that others are too timid to dwell upon. As a result, his ideas are original, whether they be about the music and life of Cole Porter or the novelist, James Joyce. He's always teaching me things. For example, we recently drove to Santa Rosa for a poetry reading. He played a CD by Jelly Roll Morton, which included the longest blues song that I'd ever heard and some language that would make a Gangsta Rapper blush. Way back there in1905. His radio show is so good that I have reprinted entire transcripts on my website. His journal about his trip to Syria should be required reading for all of the Washington war-mongers. Jack Foley's contribution to American culture will be lasting.

               —Ishmael Reed