About Kalamu ya Salaam

Kalamu ya Salaam was born Vallery Ferdinand III on March 24, 1947 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He attended Carleton College (1964-1969), and Delgado Junior College from which he earned an A.A. (Associate Arts) degree in business administration. Mr. Salaam is a professional editor/writer, filmmaker, producer and arts administrator. He served as a senior partner in the New Orleans based public relations firm of Bright Moments Inc. (1984 - 1996) and is a co-founder (with Kysha Brown) of Runagate Multimedia, Inc. He is the founder and director of NOMMO Literary Society, a New Orleans-based Black writers workshop. Salaam is also the founder and moderator of e-Drum, an informational listserv for Black writers and diverse supporters of literature worldwide.

He is the recipient of a 1999 Senior Literature Fellowship from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts; a 1998 Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Award, a 1997 Mayor Marc Morial's Arts Award, the 1995 Louisiana Literature Fellow and guest editor of "The Music" (Vol. 29, #2) special issue of the African American Review . He is the poetry editor for QBR: The Black Book Review .

Mr. Salaam is the leader of The WordBand, a performance poetry ensemble. He and musician Fred Ho comprise The Afro-Asian Arts Dialogue, a poetry/music duo. He is the producer and scriptwriter for Crescent City Sounds (WGBH Radio Boston), a nationally syndicated, weekly, one hour radio program of New Orleans regional music carried by over 70 radio stations. He is also a radio producer and DJ for WWOZ, 90.7FM in New Orleans and a record producer with AFO Records, a New Orleans independent record label.

In May 1992 Kalamu ya Salaam produced NEW WORLD POETS for the Houston International Festival in Houston, TX. The program consisted of three concert readings of poetry by African American poets Jayne Cortez, Haki Madhubuti, Thomas Meloncon; Puerto Rican poet Tato Laviera, Native American poet Jack Forbes, Asian American poet Genny Lim, and Chicana poet Evangelina Vigil-Pinon. The program was recorded by Mr. Salaam. In November 1989 Kalamu ya Salaam produced A NATION OF POETS for the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta, GA. The program was a concert reading of poetry by Amiri Baraka, Pearl Cleage, Wanda Coleman, Mari Evans, Haki Madhubuti, Kalamu ya Salaam, Sonia Sanchez and Askia Muhammad Toure. The program was recorded under Mr. Salaam's direction and videotaped for broadcast on the Atlanta PBS affiliate. Mr. Salaam is the producer of A NATION OF POETS cassette and CD.

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The Blues Merchant (1969)

Hofu Ni Kwenu/My Fear Is For You (1973)

Pamoja Tutashinda/Together We Will Win (1974)

Ibura (1976)

Revolutionary Love (1978)

Iron Flowers (Ahidiana, 1979)

A Nation Of Poets (1989)


From a Bend in the River: 100 New Orleans Poets (Runagate Press 1998)

360â^ž A Revolution of Black Poets (BlackWords Press 1998)