Controversial poet and playwright Amiri Baraka is recovering after spending the holidays in hospital battling a mystery illness. The 79 year old was admitted to the intensive care unit at Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey last Monday (23Dec13) for treatment, but he has since made good progress. Family spokesman Frank Baraff tells the New York Daily News, "His condition continues to improve. It's not a dire situation." Baraff declined to share further details about what ails the Blues People writer. Baraka hit headlines a decade ago when he penned the provocative Somebody Blew Up America, a piece about the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The poem, which suggested Israeli officials had prior knowledge of the bombings, was denounced as anti-Semitic and cost Baraka his post as New Jersey's poet laureate. He held the role from 2002 to 2003, when state politicians abolished the job after he refused to resign.