Jayne Cortez

Jayne Cortez (1934–2012) was an African American poet, performing artist, publisher, and activist who remains widely celebrated for her political, surrealist, and dynamic innovations in language, lyricism, and visceral sound. Taking a stand against discrimination, exploitation, and ecological devastation, Cortez’s work and life probed those issues poetically and politically. As a multifaceted artist, she published a dozen volumes of poetry, including On the Imperial Highway: New and Selected Poems (2008); The Beautiful Book (2007); Jazz Fan Looks Back (2002); Somewhere in Advance of Nowhere (1997); and Coagulations: New and Selected Poems (1982); Poetic Magnetic (1991); Firespitter (1982); Mouth on Paper (1977); Scarifications (1973); and Pissstained Stairs and the Monkey Man’s Wares (1969), performed her own poems with music on ten recordings, and was the driving force behind several international conferences that combined her artistic and political concerns.

Books by Jayne Cortez: