Poet and novelist Ismael Reed was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on February 22, 1938 and grew up in Buffalo, New York. After attending the State University of New York at Buffalo, he moved to New York City, where he became a co-founder of the East Village Other, a journal of experimental writing. From New York, he moved to Berkeley, California, and started the Yardbird Publishing Company. Reed's fiction draws upon myth, magic, and ritual to produce a literature that attempts to be larger than life. He has been called an ironist, whose explorations of United States history in general and African American history in particular reveal deep scars in the culture that no amount of technology can heal. Reed tries to incorporate multimedia and nonlinear techniques into his writing style. He has defended his eclectic techniques with spirit, however: "Many people call my fiction muddled, crazy, incoherent because I've attempted in fiction the techniques and forms painters, dancers, film makers, musicians in the West have taken for granted for at least 50 years, and the artists of many other cultures, for thousands of years." His other published books include: six collections of poetry, including: New and Collected Poems, 1964-2007; eight collections of essays, most recently Barack Obama and the Jim Crow Media: The Return of the Nigger Breakers (2010); Gethsemane Park; The Reed Reader (2000); Blues City: A Walk in Oakland (2003); and six plays, collected by Dalkey Archive Press as Ishmael Reed, The Plays (2009).