Death of a Young Poet (Radio Drama)

1978. Sitting in my kitchen in Berlin, scanning the New Yorker newspaper Village Voice for interesting articles, I read about the suicide of 15-year-old Sudeka, a girl from a ghetto in New Jersey who wrote poetry and a diary. I, too, wrote a diary as a teenager in New York.


I thought there might be a story in this. When I went home for a visit I spoke to young girls Sudeka’s age in Harlem, spent time with a social worker who worked with black teenagers, and kept comparing Sudeka’s diary to my own, comparing Sudeka’s struggle for survival with my own “problems” as a child of a white lower-middle-class family. We were worlds apart.

Radio drama inspired by an article in the Village Voice
Directed by: Robert Matejka
Cast: Brenda Lee, Melzie Hamrick, HJR, u.a.
With music by Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, The Beatles
Produced by: RIAS-Berlin, 1979

Audio sample