On June 17, 2004, Amiri Baraka was interviewed on KBFR, Boulder Free Radio, in Colorado. The end of this interview is punctuated by the poem “Somebody Blew Up America.” This is the poem that caused a law to be passed in New Jersey to indefinitely remove the position of Poet Laureate. In one of Baraka’s dispatches (7–1–03) he writes, “This attack on the US Constitution has been led by the Israeli Lobbyist Anti Defamation League who cite three lines of a 244 line poem as proof of the poet’s ‘Anti-Semitism’ (Who told 400 Israeli workers at the twin towers to stay home that day / Who told Sharon to stay away)… The ADL in characteristic dishonesty claims the mention of Israeli nationals is an attack on Jews, as if they did not understand the difference between the religion, Judaism and the reactionary nationalism of Israeli political Zionism.”

It is important that the interview precedes the poem so that a remnant of us, those not cut from same white toga that swaddled Ward Connerly, can decide, with our personal, decision-making capacity, why this poem was written—based on the testimony of Amiri Baraka himself. We need to struggle against our extremism: just because Baraka’s poem appears here does not imply that any of us here in the kinté space espouses communist culture, helps develop another Congressional Black Caucus by accident and have a daughter that grows up to preside over the slow death of a grass roots community-centered radio show. We here in the kinté space are convinced that Amiri Baraka is a poet and an elder teacher.


Words and Flow by . . . . . . . Amiri Baraka

Original Sound Recording by . . . . . . . Franklin and Commodore, KBFR

Audio Restoration by . . . . . . . Bryan Wilhite

Interface Design and Programming by . . . . . . . Bryan Wilhite