Reading at the 2015 National Book Festival
|Born||Ishmael Scott Reed|
February 22, 1938
Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States
|Occupation||Poet, essayist, novelist, playwright, lyricist|
|Education||University of Buffalo|
|Notable awards||National Book Award nominee in both poetry and fiction (1973); Guggenheim (1975); John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (1998); Alberto Dubito International Award (2016); AUDELCO Pioneer Award in Theater (2017)|
Ishmael Scott Reed (born February 22, 1938) is an American poet, novelist, essayist, songwriter, playwright, editor and publisher, who is known for his satirical works challenging American political culture. Perhaps his best known work is Mumbo Jumbo (1972), a sprawling and unorthodox novel set in 1920s New York that has been ranked among the 500 most important books in the Western Canon.
Reed's work has often sought to represent neglected African and African-American perspectives; his energy and advocacy have centered more broadly on neglected peoples and perspectives, irrespective of their cultural origins.
- 1 Life and career
- 2 Published works
- 3 Honors and awards
- 4 Collaborations and influences
- 5 Music
- 6 Before Columbus Foundation
- 7 Bibliography
- 8 Discography
- 9 Selected public art installations, film and video collaborations
- 10 Further reading
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 External links
Life and career
Ishmael Reed was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 1938. His family moved when he was a child to the industrial city of Buffalo, New York, during the Great Migration. After attending local schools, Reed attended the University at Buffalo, a private university that became part of the state public university system after he left. Reed withdrew from university in his junior year, partly due to financial issues, but mainly because he felt he needed a new atmosphere to support his writing and music. He comments on this decision:
This was the best thing that could have happened to me at the time because I was able to continue experimenting along the lines I wanted, influenced by [Nathanael] West and others. I didn't want to be a slave to somebody else's reading lists. I kind of regret the decision now because I've gotten some of the most racist and horrible things said to me because of this.
In 1995, the college awarded him an honorary doctorate degree.
In 1998, Reed spoke about his influences in an interview:
I've probably been more influenced by poets than by novelists — the Harlem Renaissance poets, the Beat poets, the American surrealist Ted Joans. Poets have to be more attuned to originality, coming up with lines and associations the ordinary prose writer wouldn't think of.
He moved to New York City in 1962 and co-founded with Walter Bowart the East Village Other, which became a well-known underground publication. He was also a member of the Umbra Writers Workshop, some of whose members helped establish the Black Arts Movement and promoted a Black Aesthetic. Although Reed was never a participant in that movement, he has continued to research the history of black Americans. While working on his novel Flight to Canada, he coined the term "Neo-Slave narrative", which he used in 1984 in "A Conversation with Ishmael Reed" by Reginald Martin.
In 1970 Reed moved to the West Coast to begin teaching at the University of California, Berkeley, where he taught for 35 years. He retired from there in 2005 and is serving as a Distinguished Professor at California College of the Arts. He lives in Oakland, California, with his wife of more than 40 years, Carla Blank, a noted author, choreographer, and director.
Reed's published works include 11 novels, of which Conjugating Hindi (2018) is the most recent. Among his other books are six collections of poetry, including New and Collected Poems, 1964–2007; 10 collections of essays, most recently Going Too Far: Essays About America's Nervous Breakdown (2012); one farce, Cab Calloway Stands In for the Moon or The Hexorcism of Noxon D Awful (1970); one libretto, Gethsemane Park; a sampler collection, The Reed Reader (2000); two travelogues, of which the most recent is Blues City: A Walk in Oakland (2003); and six plays, collected by Dalkey Archive Press as Ishmael Reed, The Plays (2009). His seventh play, The Final Version, premiered at New York City's Nuyorican Poets Café in December 2013; his eighth play, Life Among the Aryans ("a satire that chronicles the misadventures of two hapless revolutionaries"), received a staged reading in late Fall, 2017 at the Nuyorican Poets Café, and a full production in June 2018. His most recent non-fiction work, The Complete Muhammad Ali, was published by Baraka Books of Montreal in July 2015.
He has also edited 14 anthologies, the most recent of which is Black Hollywood Unchained (2015). POW WOW, Charting the Fault Lines in the American Experience—Short Fiction from Then to Now (2009), a collection of works by 63 writers, co-edited with his wife and author Carla Blank, spans more than 200 years of American writing. Reed in his "Foreword" calls it "a gathering of voices from the different American tribes." POW WOW is the fiction companion anthology to From Totems to Hip-Hop: A Multicultural Anthology of Poetry Across the Americas, 1900–2002 (2003), in which Reed endorses an open definition of American poetry as an amalgamation, which should include work found in the traditional canon of European-influenced American poetry as well as work by immigrants, hip-hop artists, and Native Americans. The 2013 Signet Classic edition of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn features a new Afterword by Ishmael Reed.
Honors and awards
Two of Reed's books have been nominated for National Book Awards, and a book of poetry, Conjure, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. His New and Collected Poems, 1964–2007, received the Commonwealth Club of California's Gold Medal. A poem published in Seattle in 1969, "beware : do not read this poem", has been cited by Gale Research Company as one of approximately 20 poems that teachers and librarians have ranked as the most frequently studied in literature courses. Reed's novels, poetry and essays have been translated into French, Spanish, Italian, German, Japanese, Hebrew, Hungarian, Dutch, Korean, Chinese and Czech, among other languages.
|You can view a C-SPAN interview, in which Ishmael Reed discusses his life, work and career, right here.|
In June, 2018, in Detroit, Reed was honored with the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History Award. On November 20, 2017, Reed received the AUDELCO Pioneer Award for the Theater. Between 2012 and 2016, Reed served as the first SF Jazz Poet Laureate from SF JAZZ, the leading non-profit jazz organization on the West Coast. An installation of his poem "When I Die I Will Go to Jazz" appears on the SFJAZZ Center's North Gate in Linden Alley. In Venice, Italy, in May 2016, he became the first recipient of a new international prize, The Alberto Dubito International, for an individual who has distinguished him or herself through innovative creativity in the musical and linguistic languages.
Among Reed's other honors are writing fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts. In 1995, he received the Langston Hughes Medal, awarded by City College of New York. In 1997, he received the Lila Wallace Reader's Digest Award, and established a three-year collaboration between the non-profit and Oakland-based Second Start Literacy Project in 1998.
In 1998, Reed also received a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship award. In 1999, he received a Fred Cody Award from the Bay Area Book Reviewers Association, and was inducted into Chicago State University's National Literary Hall of Fame of Writers of African Descent. Other awards include a Rene Castillo OTTO Award for Political Theatre (2002); a Phillis Wheatley Award from the Harlem Book Fair (2003); and in 2004, a Robert Kirsch Award, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize, besides the D.C. Area Writing Project's 2nd Annual Exemplary Writer's Award and the Martin Millennial Writers, Inc. Contribution to Southern Arts Award, in Memphis, Tennessee.
A 1972 manifesto inspired a major visual art exhibit, NeoHooDoo: Art for a Forgotten Faith, curated by Franklin Sirmans for the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas, where it opened on June 27, 2008, and subsequently traveled to P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center in New York City, and the Miami Art Museum through 2009. Litquake, the annual San Francisco literary festival, honored him with its 2011 Barbary Coast Award. Buffalo, New York, celebrated February 21, 2014, as Ishmael Reed Day, when he received Just Buffalo Literary Center's 2014 Literary Legacy Award.
Collaborations and influences
Honoring his experience of first achieving national publication of his poetry in anthologies edited by the senior writers Langston Hughes and Walter Lowenfels, as a result of his introducing Lucille Clifton's poetry to Langston Hughes, Reed was responsible for her first national recognition in Hughes' anthology The Poetry of the Negro (1967). Reed has continued to champion the work of other contemporary writers, by founding and serving as editor and publisher of various small presses and journals since the early 1970s. His current publishing imprint is Ishmael Reed Publishing Company, and his online literary magazine, Konch, features an international mix of poetry, essays and fiction. Some writers were first published by Reed when they were students in his writing workshops. Among them are Terry McMillan, Mona Simpson, Mitch Berman, Kathryn Trueblood, Danny Romero, Fae Myenne Ng, Brynn Saito, and John Keene. Reed is one of the producers of The Domestic Crusaders, a two-act play about Muslim Pakistani Americans written by his former student, Wajahat Ali. Its first act was performed at the Kennedy Center's Millennium Hall in Washington, D.C., on November 14, 2010, and remains archived on their website. Critics have also pointed to Reed's influence on writers Percival Everett, Colson Whitehead, Victor LaValle and Paul Beatty. In Chris Jackson's interview of Reed in the Fall 2016 edition of The Paris Review, Reed discusses many literary influences, including Dante, the Celtic Revival poets, James Baldwin, George Schuyler, Nathanael West, Bob Kaufman, and Charles Wright.
Ishmael Reed's texts and lyrics have been performed, composed or set to music by Albert Ayler, David Murray, Allen Toussaint, Carman Moore, Taj Mahal, Olu Dara, Lester Bowie, Carla Bley, Steve Swallow, Ravi Coltrane, Leo Nocentelli, Eddie Harris, Anthony Cox, Don Pullen, Billy Bang, Bobby Womack, Milton Cardona, Omar Sosa, Fernando Saunders, Yosvanni Terry, Jack Bruce, Little Jimmy Scott, Robert Jason, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Mary Wilson of the Supremes, Cassandra Wilson, Gregory Porter and others.
Reed has been the central participant in the longest ongoing music/poetry collaboration, known as Conjure projects, produced by Kip Hanrahan on American Clavé: Conjure I (1984) and Conjure II (1988), which were reissued by Rounder Records in 1995; and Conjure Bad Mouth (2005), whose compositions were developed in live Conjure band performances, from 2003 to 2004, including engagements at Paris's Banlieues Bleues, London's Barbican Centre, and the Blue Note Café in Tokyo. The Village Voice ranked the 2005 Conjure CD one of four best spoken-word albums released in 2006.
In 2007, Reed made his debut as a jazz pianist and bandleader with For All We Know by The Ishmael Reed Quintet. In 2008, he was honored as Blues Songwriter of the Year from the West Coast Blues Hall of Fame Awards. A David Murray CD released in 2009, The Devil Tried to Kill Me, includes two songs with lyrics by Reed: "Afrika", sung by Taj Mahal, and the title song performed by SF-based rapper Sista Kee. On September 11, 2011, in a Jazz à la Villette concert at the Grande Halle in Paris, the Red Bull Music Academy World Tour premiered three new songs with lyrics by Ishmael Reed, performed by Macy Gray, Tony Allen, members of The Roots, David Murray and his Big Band, Amp Fiddler and Fela! singer/dancers. In 2013, David Murray, with vocalists Macy Gray and Gregory Porter, released the CD Be My Monster Love, with three new songs with lyrics by Reed: "Army of the Faithful", "Hope is a Thing With Feathers," and the title track, "Be My Monster Love."
Before Columbus Foundation
Ishmael Reed is founder of the Before Columbus Foundation, which since 1980 has annually presented the American Book Awards and the Oakland chapter of PEN, known as the "blue collar PEN," which also gives annual awards to writers.
- The Freelance Pallbearers, 1967
- Yellow Back Radio Broke-Down, 1969
- Mumbo Jumbo, 1972
- The Last Days of Louisiana Red, 1974
- Flight to Canada, 1976
- The Terrible Twos, 1982
- Reckless Eyeballing, 1986
- The Terrible Threes, 1989
- Japanese by Spring, 1993
- Juice!, 2011
- Conjugating Hindi, 2018
Poetry, plays, novellas, and collected works
- catechism of d neoamerican hoodoo church, 1969
- Cab Calloway Stands in for the Moon or D Hexorcism of Noxon D Awful, 1970
- Neo-HooDoo Manifesto, 1972
- Conjure: Selected Poems, 1963–1970, 1972
- Chattanooga: Poems, 1973
- A Secretary to the Spirits, illustrated by Betye Saar, 1978
- New and Collected Poetry, 1988
- Gethsemane Park, libretto; Carman Moore, composer (premiere, Berkeley Black Repertory Theater, 1998)
- The Reed Reader, 2000
- New and Collected Poems, 1964–2006, 2006 (hardcover); New and Collected Poems, 1964-2007, 2007 (paperback)
- Ishmael Reed, THE PLAYS, including Mother Hubbard, Savage Wilds, Hubba City, The Preacher and the Rapper, The C Above C Above High C, and Body Parts, 2009
- The Final Version, a play, premiered at the Nuyorican Poets Café in December 2013
- Life Among the Aryans, a play, premiered in full production at the Nuyorican Poets Café in June 2018
- Shrovetide in Old New Orleans: Essays, Atheneum, 1978
- God Made Alaska for the Indians: Selected Essays, Garland, 1982
- Writin' Is Fightin: Thirty-seven Years of Boxing On Paper'. New York: Atheneum, 1989
- Airing Dirty Laundry. New York: Addison-Wesley, 1993
- Oakland Rhapsody, The Secret Soul Of An American Downtown.Introduction and Commentary by Ishmael Reed and photographs by Richard Nagler. North Atlantic Books, 1995
- Blues City: A Walk in Oakland, Crown Journeys, 2003
- Another Day at the Front: Dispatches from the Race War, Basic Books, 2003
- Mixing It Up: Taking on the Media Bullies and Other Reflections, Da Capo Press, 2008
- Barack Obama and the Jim Crow Media: The Return of the "Nigger Breakers", Baraka Books, 2010
- Going Too Far: Essays About America's Nervous Breakdown, Baraka Books, 2012
- The Complete Muhammad Ali, Baraka Books, July, 2015
- "Jazz Musicians as Pioneer Multi-Culturalists, the Co-Optation of Them, and the Reason Jazz Survives" in American Multiculturalism in Context, Views from at Home and Abroad edited by Sami Ludwig, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2017, pages 189–199
Anthologies edited by Reed
- 19 Necromancers From Now, Doubleday & Co., 1970
- Calafia: The California Poetry, Yardbird Pub. Co., 1978, ISBN 978-0931676031
- Yardbird Lives!, co-edited with Al Young, Grove Press, 1978, ISBN 978-0394170411
- The Before Columbus Foundation Fiction Anthology, Selections from the American Book Awards 1980–1990, co-edited with Kathryn Trueblood and Shawn Wong, W. W. Norton, 1991, ISBN 978-0393308334
- The HarperCollins Literary Mosaic Series, General Editor of four anthologies edited by Gerald Vizenor, Shawn Wong, Nicolas Kanellos and Al Young, 1995–96
- MultiAmerica: Essays on Cultural Wars and Cultural Peace, Viking/Penguin, 1997, ISBN 978-0140259124
- From Totems to Hip-Hop: A Multicultural Anthology of Poetry Across the Americas, 1900–2001, Da Capo Press, 2003, ISBN 978-1560254584
- Pow Wow: 63 Writers Address the Fault Lines in the American Experience, short fiction anthology edited with Carla Blank, Da Capo Press, 2009, ISBN 1568583400
- Black Hollywood Unchained, non-fiction anthology edited and with an Introduction by Reed, Third World Press, October 2015, ISBN 978-0883783535
Kip Hanrahan has released three albums featuring lyrics by Reed:
- Conjure: Music for the Texts of Ishmael Reed (American Clave, 1985)
- Conjure: Cab Calloway Stands in for the Moon (American Clave, 1985)
- Conjure: Bad Mouth (American Clave, 2005)
David Murray has released several albums featuring lyrics by Reed:
- Sacred Ground (Justin Time, 2007) – "Sacred Ground" and "The Prophet of Doom" sung by Cassandra Wilson
- The Devil Tried to Kill Me (Justin Time, 2009) – "The Devil Tried to Kill Me" sung by Sista Kee and "Africa" sung by Taj Mahal
- Be My Monster Love (Motéma, 2013) – "Be My Monster Love" sung by Macy Gray and "Army of the Faithful (Joyful Noise)" and "Hope Is a Thing with Feathers" sung by Gregory Porter
- blues for memo (Doublemoon Records, 2016) - "Red Summer" sung by Pervis Evans
Yosvany Terry has released one album including lyrics by Reed:
- New Throned Kings (SPassion 2014), CD nominated for a 2014 Grammy Award, with Ishmael Reed's lyrics on "Mase Nadodo."
Releases produced by Ishmael Reed
- His Bassist (Konch Records, Ishmael Reed, producer), featuring Ortiz Walton and including collaborations based on Reed's poetry, 2014
- For All We Know (Ishmael Reed Publishing, 2007) with the Ishmael Reed quintet, features David Murray (sax, bass clarinet and piano), and Carla Blank(violin), Roger Glenn (flute), Chris Planas (guitar), and Ishmael Reed (piano) on nine jazz standards, and three original collaborations with text by Reed and music composed by David Murray, were first performed by Ishmael Reed on this privately produced CD. David Murray then wrote different compositions for these Reed lyrics for the film and CD, Sacred Ground.
Selected public art installations, film and video collaborations
- 2018 I Am Richard Pryor, a documentary directed by Jesse James Miller and produced by Jennifer Lee Pryor for Paramount Network.
- 2018 Personal Problems (1980), the experimental soap opera conceived and produced by Reed and directed by Bill Gunn, was re-mastered and featured at "The Groundbreaking Bill Gunn" at BAM Cinematek in 2010 and in 2018, was carefully restored by Kino Lorber  and is now available in DVD and Blue-Ray.
- 2017 LIT CITY banner along Washington Street in Buffalo, New York, as part of a celebration of the city's literary history.
- 2013 SF JAZZ Center, which opened in January, 2013, installs Reed's poem, "When I Die I Will Go to Jazz," on the Center's North Gate in Linden Alley.
- 2013 Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic, a documentary film directed by Marina Zenovich. Winner of an Image Award for Outstanding Documentary, TV.
- 2010-13 A collaborative public art installation work, Moving Richmond, for Richmond, California's BART station, incorporates two Reed poems, written for this project after meetings with Richmond residents, into two mounted iron sculptures by Mildred Howard.
- 2012 United States of HooDoo, a documentary film by Oliver Hardt and Darius James, was released in Germany and premiered in August at the Black Star Film Festival in Philadelphia. Reed is a featured participant.
- 2011 "beware do not read this poem". Included in stone installation and audio recording by Rochester Poets Walk, Rochester, New York.
- 2008 Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story, directed by Stefan Forbes, premiered as a nationally distributed independent film that includes Reed in interview clips.
- 2004 A bronze plaque of Reed's poem "Going East", installed in the Berkeley Poetry Walk in Berkeley, California, designated a National Poetry Landmark by the Academy of American Poets
- 1990 James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket. Independent film directed by Karin Thorsen, includes Reed in interview clips and reading from Baldwin's work.
- 1972 "from the files of agent 22", Reed's poem, was posted in New York City buses and subways, by Poetry in Public Places, during an American International Sculptors Symposium project.
- Zeng, Yanyu. "Interview with Ishmael Reed." Journal of Foreign Languages and Cultures, Hunan Normal University, Volume 1/No.1/December 2017.
- Ludwig, Sami (ed.) American Multiculturalism in Context: Views from at Home and Abroad. Newcastle on Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2017. Includes "Jazz Musicians as Pioneer Multi-Culturalists, the Co-Optation of Them,and the Reason Jazz Survives" by Ishmael Reed, pages 189-199.
- Paladin, Nicola and Giogio Rimondi editors. Una bussola per l'infosfera, con Ishmael Reed tra musica e letteratura. Milano: Agenzia X, 2017. Includes Reed's address, "Da Willert Part Courts a Palazzo Leoni Montanari," pages 27–39.
- Rimondi, Giorgio (ed.). Il grande incantatore per Ishmael Reed. Milan, Italy: Agenzia X, 2016. (Includes essays on Reed's work by Italian scholars and translations of 10 Reed poems.)
- Lin, Yuqing. A Study on Ishmael Reed's Neo-HooDoo Multiculturalism. Beijing: Intellectual Property Publishing House, 2015. 《伊什梅尔•里德的"新伏都"多元文化主义研究》，北京：知识产权出版社，2015.
- Lin, Yuqing. "The Writing Politics of Multicultural Literature--An Interview with Ishmael Reed" New Perspectives on World Literature, 2016(1) 《多元文化主义的写作政治——伊什梅尔·里德访谈录》，《外国文学动态研究》
- Lin, Yuqing. "Fight Media Hegemony with a Trickster's Critique: Ishmael Reed's Faction about O.J. and Media Lynching". The Project on the History of Black Writing, September 10, 2014: 
- Wang, Liya. "Postcolonial Narrative Studies", Foreign Literature Study, no. 4, 2014. 《"后殖民叙事学"》，《外国文学》，2014年第4期。
- Ludwig, Sami (ed.). On the Aesthetic Legacy of Ishmael Reed: Contemporary Assessments. Huntington Beach, California: World Parade Books, 2012.
- Wang, Liya. "Irony and Allegory in Ishmael Reed's Japanese by Spring." Foreign Literature Studies, No. 4. 2010. 论伊什梅尔·里德《春季日语班》中的反讽隐喻， 《外国文学》 2010年第4期。
- Wang, Liya. "History and Allegory in Ishmael Reed's Fiction." Foreign Literature Review, no. 4, 2010. 伊什梅尔·里德的历史叙述及其政治隐喻，《外国文学评论》，2010年第4期。
- Zeng, Yanyu. "Identity Crisis and the Irony of Political Correctness in Ishmael Reed's Japanese by Spring and Philip Roth's The Human Stain", Contemporary Foreign Literature, No. 2, pp. 79–87, 2012.
- Zeng, Yanyu. "Neo Hoodooism and Historiography in Ishmael Reed's Flight to Canada", Contemporary Foreign Literature, No. 4, pp. 92–99, 2010.
- Sirmans, Franklin (ed.). NeoHooDoo, Art for a Forgotten Faith. New Haven and London: The Menil Foundation, Inc., distributed by Yale University Press, 2008. (Includes Sirmans' interview with Reed, pp. 74–81.)
- Lin, YuanFu. On Ishmael Reed's Postmodernist Fictional Art of Parody. Xiamen, China: Xiamen University Press, 2008.
- Mvuyekure, Pierre-Damien, with a preface by Jerome Klinkowitz. The "Dark Heathenism" of the American Novelist Ishmael Reed: African Voodoo as American Literary Hoodoo. Lewiston, NY: The Edwin Mellen Press Ltd, 2007.
- Zeng, Yanyu. Towards Postmodern Multiculturalism: A New Trend of African American and Jewish American Literature Viewed Through Ishmael Reed and Philip Roth, Xiamen, China: Xiamen University Press, 2004; Purdue University: Philip Roth Studies, Volume 3, Number 1, Spring 2007, pp. 70–73.
- Williams, Dana A. (ed.), African American Humor, Irony and Satire: Ishmael Reed, Satirically Speaking. Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars, 2007.
- Ebbeson, Jeffrey, Postmodernism and its Others: the fiction of Ishmael Reed, Kathy Acker and Don DeLillo. London and New York: Routledge, 2006.
- Nishikawa, Kinohi. "Mumbo Jumbo", in Emmanuel S. Nelson (editor), The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Multiethnic American Literature. 5 vols. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2005. pp. 1552–53.
- Spaulding, A. Timothy. History, the Fantastic, and the Postmodern Slave Narrative. Chapter 1: "The Conflation of Time in Ishmael Reed's Flight To Canada and Octavia Butler's Kindred". Columbia: The Ohio State University Press, 2005, pp. 25–60.
- Hume, Kathryn. American Dream American Nightmare: Fiction Since 1960. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2000.
- Dick, Bruce Allen (ed. with the assistance of Pavel Zemliansky). The Critical Response to Ishmael Reed. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1999. (Includes Dick's 1997 telephone interview with Reed, pp. 228–250.)
- McGee, Patrick. Ishmael Reed and the Ends of Race. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1997.
- Ludwig, Sämi, Concrete Language: Intercultural Communication in Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior and Ishmael Reed's Mumbo Jumbo. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, Cross Cultural Communication Vol. 2, 1996; reissued in 2015.
- Dick, Bruce, and Amritjit Singh (eds). Conversations With Ishmael Reed, Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1995.
- Joyce, Joyce A. "Falling Through the Minefield of Black Feminist Criticism: Ishmael Reed, A Case in Point," Warriors, Conjurers and Priests: Defining African-centered Literary Criticism. Chicago: Third World Press, 1994.
- Nazareth, Peter. In the Trickster Tradition:The Novels of Andrew Salkey, Francis Ebejer and Ishmael Reed. London: Bogle-L'Ouverture Press, 1994.
- Weixlmann, Joe. "African American Deconstruction of the Novel in the Work of Ishmael Reed and Clarence Major": MELUS 17 (Winter 1991): 57–79.
- Spillers, Hortense J. "Changing the Letter: The Yokes, the Jokes of Discourse, or, Mrs. Stowe, Mr. Reed" in Deborah E. McDowell and Arnold Rampersad (eds), Slavery and the Literary Imagination. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989, pp. 25–61.
- Gates, Henry Louis, Jr. The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of Afro-American Literary Criticism, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.
- Martin, Reginald. Ishmael Reed and the New Black Aesthetic Critics. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1988.
- Nazareth, Peter. "Heading Them Off at the Pass: The Fiction of Ishmael Reed", The Review of Contemporary Fiction 4, no. 2, 1984.
- O'Brien, John (ed.), The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Volume 4, Number 2, Summer, 1984. "Juan Goytisolo and Ishmael Reed Number". (Includes articles and interviews with Reed by Reginald Martin, Franco La Polla, Jerry H. Bryant, W. C. Bamberger, Joe Weixlmann, Peter Nazareth, James R. Lindroth, Geoffrey Green and Jack Byrne.)
- Fabre, Michel. "Postmodernist Rhetoric in Ishmael Reed's Yellow Back Radio Broke Down". In Peter Bruck and Wolfgang Karrer (eds), The Afro-American Novel Since 1960, Amsterdam: B.R. Gruner Publishing Co., 1982. 167–88.
- Settle, Elizabeth A., and Thomas A. Settle. Ishmael Reed, a primary and secondary bibliography. Boston: G.K. Hall & Co., 1982.
- McConnell, Frank. "Da Hoodoo is Put on America", in A. Robert Lee (ed.), Black Fiction, New Studies in the Afro-American Novel Since 1945. NY: Barnes & Noble Books, 1980.
- "Ishmael Reed Biography". Math.buffalo.edu. Retrieved September 20, 2011.
- Reed, Ishmael (November 9, 2011). "Trouble Beside the Bay". The New York Times.
- Reed, Ishmael (December 11, 2010). "What Progressives Don't Understand About Obama". The New York Times.
- Reed, Ishmael (February 4, 2010). "Fade to White". The New York Times.
- Reed, Ishmael (January 28, 2012). "Ishmael Reed on the Miltonian Origin of The Other". The New York Times.
- Bauch, Hubert (April 24, 2010). "Taking on the Jim Crow media". The Montreal Gazette.[permanent dead link]
- Ludwig, Samuel (December 18, 2002). "Ishmael Reed". The Literary Encyclopedia. Retrieved March 6, 2010.
- Juan-Navarro, Santiago (2010). "Self-Reflexivity and Historical Revisionism in Ishmael Reed's Neo-Hoodoo Aesthetics" (PDF). The Grove: Working Papers on English Studies, 17. pp. 77–100.
- Mitchell, J. D. (September 13, 2011). "At Work: Ishmael Reed on 'Juice!'". The Paris Review.
- Mumbo Jumbo at Powells.com.
- Elliot Fox, Robert (September 20, 2011). "About Ishmael Reed's Life and Work". Modern American Poetry website.
- Gates, Jr., Henry Louis (2014). The Norton Anthology of African American Literature (3rd ed.). New York: W.W. Norton and Company Inc. pp. 798–801.
- Steiner, Andy. "Media Diet: Ishmael Reed", Utne Reader (September/October 1998).
- "A Conversation with Ishmael Reed By Reginald Martin" (interview conducted July 1–7, 1983, in Emeryville, California), The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Summer 1984, Vol. 4.2. At Dalkey Archive Press.
- Carla Blank's latest publication is Rediscovering America: The Making of Multicultural America, 1900–2000, Three Rivers Press, 2003.
- "Ishmael Reed's 'Life Among the Aryans'", nuyorican.org, June 22, 2017.
- Scott, Ron (June 7, 2018), "‘Paradise Blue,’ Ishmael Reed’s Play", Amsterdam News.
- AUDELCO Awards, November 2017.
- "SFJAZZ Laureates - Jim Goldberg & Ishmael Reed" Archived 2014-06-25 at the Wayback Machine., SF Jazz.
- "Ishmael Reed: Premio alla carriera Alberto Dubito International". March 12, 2016. Retrieved May 7, 2016.
- "Ishmael Reed, 1975 - US & Canada Competition, Creative Arts - Fiction" Archived July 14, 2014, at the Wayback Machine., John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
- "Two Blacks Named MacArthur Foundation Fellows", Jet, June 22, 1998, p. 8.
- "Barbary Coast Award Honors Ishmael Reed", Litquake, October 2011.
- "Barbary Coast Award Recipients", Litquake.
- Simon, Jeff, "In Tribute to Ishmael Reed", Buffalonews.com, February 20, 2014. Archived February 25, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Lucille Clifton" at Paper Masters.
- Konch Magazine. An Ishmael Reed and Tennessee Reed Publication.
- Goodstein, Laurie (September 8, 2009). "A Pakistani-American Family Is Caught in Some Cultural Cross-Fire". The New York Times.
- Jackson, Chris, "Ishmael Reed, The Art of Poetry No. 100", The Paris Review, No. 218, Fall 2016.
- "Paris: Questlove’s Afro-Picks", Red Bull Music Academy World Tour 2012, September 11, 2011.
- Spaulding, A. Timothy, "The Conflation of Time in Ishmael Reed's Flight To Canada and Octavia Butler's Kindred", in History, the Fantastic, and the Postmodern Slave Narrative, Columbia: Ohio State University Press, 2005, pp. 25–60.
- Weixlmann, Joe, "African American Deconstruction of the Novel in the Work of Ishmael Reed and Clarence Major" (excerpt) at Questia.