In Memory of Radio

In Memory of Radio Themes


The theme of individuality comes up in "In Memory of Radio" when Baraka separates the speaker of the poem (who presumably can be read as Baraka himself) from a collective that can't quite see what he is getting at: "Saturday mornings we listened to the Red Lantern & his undersea folk. / At 11, Let's Pretend / & we did / & I, the poet, still do. Thank God!" (lines 19-22). There is something in the status of being a poet that separates Baraka from the masses and allows him an important retrospection on the cultural touchstones of the past. Baraka's individuality extends to Jack Kerouac at the beginning of the poem, as they are the only two people who can see the "divinity" of the fictional character The Shadow (line 1). "In Memory of Radio" seems to suggest that being an artist like Baraka or Kerouac helps one to tap into the cultural landscape they are situated in and to understand the true meaning of that culture.