Gil Scott-Heron (1949-2011)

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Gil Scott-Heron (April 1, 1949 – May 27, 2011) is the author of two novels, three books of poems, and a memoir. But he is perhaps best remembered as “the grandfather of rap,” the spoken word performer whose recordings in the 1970s influenced later generations of hip hop and soul artists.

Wynn Yarbrough writes, in an essay published in Beltway Poetry Quarterly in 2012: "Gil Scott-Heron’s presence in Washington, DC included his collaborations with Brian Jackson, most notably Winter in America, recorded at D&B Sound in Silver Spring (1973). Scott-Heron also played Blues Alley and the Cellar Door, as well as taught at Federal City College, which later became the University of the District of Columbia (UDC). He lived in Northern Virginia (on Martha’s Road) as well as in the District (on 16th St. just below Malcolm X Park). One of his most famous works, 'The Bottle,' was inspired by a scene outside a DC liquor store."

Bibliography: The Last Holiday (2012, memoir); Now and Then: The Poems of Gil Scott-Heron (2001, poems); So Far, So Good (1990, song lyrics and poems); The Nigger Factory (1972, novel); Small Talk at 125th and Lenox (1970, poems); The Vulture (1970,novel).

Beltway Poetry Quarterly:

Submitted by Kim Roberts, January 2014

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