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Amiri Baraka at the Poetry Project

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After 76 years of activism, award-winning poet and playwright Amiri Baraka isn't afraid to ruffle some feathers.  If he was looking to get people up in arms last week at the Poetry Project, though, not a chance - the audience was on board with even his most incendiary political comments.

Baraka looked frail as he walked to the podium but he commanded the room as soon as he began to speak.  There was no coughing or fidgeting from the crowd as he read, sang and scatted through poems he chose in celebration of Malcolm X's birthday.

Bon Mots:

A modified haiku on the former president: "Lowku for Bush two: the main thing wrong with you is - you ain't in jail."

On how to get wiser: "I got that from James Baldwin.  Baldwin told me if you ask 'why' enough times, you'll get wise. Just keep asking why, why, why and you'll get wise."

On hearing his poem read by a judge at his indictment: "I had to supply the dirty words."