Saturday, May 30, 2015


An afternoon doesn't get any better than yesterday. It was fun being with two women I met many years ago (on the same day): Sophy Burnham and Maria Otero. Maria and I always schedule regular days of laughter and she often leaves me with inspiration for a poem or two. Yesterday we asked Sophy to join us at DuPont Circle. We hadn't seen her in a long time. So there was the three of us - founders (back when we were young )of the Humanities Council of Washington DC. Who knew where we would be years later. Sophy an award winning author . Maria was recently Undersecretary of State working with Hillary Clinton in the Obama Administration.
I took the picture below at Le Pain Quotidien.

Oh, and who can forget that memorable photo of Otero and Clooney:


The end of this clip is priceless:

Friday, May 29, 2015


The NBA got the finals they wanted. Did you really want to watch the Hawks fly in June?  Now comes GS against the Cavs. This has Shakespeare writing another play. Will Prince Curry steal the crown from Kings James?  If it's Cleveland there has to be tragedy.  Of course the team that wins will be the one with the best rookie coach and bench. Take GS. Maybe Thompson will play better and Curry will have 2 or 3 monster games. I expect James to lose one game on a turnover and maybe win 1 with just a second on the clock. 7 games might be nothing but heaven shooting a three.

Thursday, May 28, 2015


Congratulations to the New Fellows of 2015!
BAU at Otranto
Arts and Culture Residency
in Otranto, Italy

Grace Anieza Ali     
Literary Arts, New York, NY
Kate Angus   
Literary Arts, New York, NY
Christophe Boulanger   
Visual Arts, HEM, France
Barbara Bloemink   
Literary Arts, New York, NY
Carrie Brittenham   
Visual Arts, Brooklyn, NY
Josh Campbell
Literary Arts, Philadelphia, PA
Jo Ann Clark
Literary Arts, Sleepy Hollow, NY
Sally Eckhoff
Visual Arts, Stuyvesant Falls, NY
Caryn Friedlander
Visual Arts, Bellingham, WA
Samuel Guerin
Visual Arts, Amherst, NY
Paulette Long
Visual Arts, San Francisco, CA
Christine Malvasi
Literary Arts, Brooklyn, NY
Robert McNamara
Literary Arts, Seattle, WA
Jacqueline Sferra Rada
Visual Arts, New York, NY
Donna Hamil Talman,
Visual Arts, Worcester, MA
Stephanie Seguino
Visual Arts, Burlington, VT
Gail Winbury
Visual Arts, Westfield, NJ
Jessica Wiederhorn
Time Based Arts, Brooklyn, NY
Ken Wiederhorn
Time Based Arts, Brooklyn, NY
BAU at Camargo
Arts Residency at
the Camargo Foundation
in Cassis, France

Hendel Almetus
Composer, Davis, CA
Ellen Berkenblit
Visual Artist,Brooklyn, NY
Maud Casey
Novelist, Washington DC
Anne Chu
Visual Artist, Jackson Heights, NY
Vanessa Diaz
Visual Artist, Jupiter, FL
Tung-Hui Hu
Poet, Ann Arbor, MI
John Jesurun
Theatre/Performance, New York, NY
Lauren Luloff
Visual Artist, Brooklyn, NY
Edwin Martinez
Film, New York, NY
Alexander Nolan
Visual Artist, Brooklyn, NY
Bruce Pearson
Visual Artist, Brooklyn, NY
Shanta Rao
Visual Artist, Paris, France
Eleanor Ray
Visual Artist, Brooklyn, NY
Patricia Reinhart
Visual Artist, Vienna, Austria
Andrea Thome
Playwright, New York, NY

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Takoma Park fun this morning. I met with Ilana Trachtman, Ellen Perchman and Ezra Lewis at Busboys. They are producing the documentary film AIN'T NO BACK TO A MERRY-GO-ROUND.

This film is about the protests to integrate the Glen Echo Amusement Park (Maryland) in the summer of 1960. Howard University students played a key role in this movement for social justice. 


My next guest on The Scholars (UDC-TV) will be Michael Witmore the director of The Folger Shakespeare Library.  I look forward to sitting down with him in the studio on June 24th.


David Nicholson's book of short stories arrived in the mail yesterday. FLYING HOME is a collection of seven shorts. David is a former editor and book reviewer for The Washingon Post Book World. He was also the founding editor of the Black Film Review. Gosh - we could use that publication today. It might be nice for someone to edit a collection of the best essays published in that journal. Nicholson is the serious writer who gets up and pulls the cord on the bus. So many writers out here - who knows where literature is going these days. It might be best to get off the bus with Nicholson and fly home. Somewhere there is a place where people still listen to Ellington and read Ellison. Old black men dress like everyday is Sunday.

James Alan McPherson, Charles Johnson, Henry Louis Gates Jr, Susan Straight , Arnold Rampersad and others wrote blurbs for this book that should win an award or two.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

As weeks pass, I'm very much feeling like a newly emancipated slave. The idea of not going to work everyday is just settling in. I felt it the day after Memorial Day. There was no going back to work on Tuesday. No # 70 bus to catch.  No walking across the Howard campus and into Founders Library.
Right now I'm in Canada and enjoying it. If I make some extra money I'll make a donation to a worthy abolitionist organization.

Meanwhile, life continues. Here is a link to a blog entry written by Kirsten Porter who is editing my collected poems:

Yesterday I found myself around DuPont Circle.  I had to pick-up a copy of Niels Van Tomme's new book that he left with a family member. Niels who I met when I was associated with Provisions Library recently edited (with Pascal Gielen) AESTHETIC JUSTICE INTERSECTING ARTISTIC AND MORAL PERSPECTIVES. This is a theoretical book and one that I need to keep on my desk and pace/read this summer.

In the mail came a copy of Susan Deer Cloud's new book of poetry - HUNGER MOON. I love what she wrote in the front - Dearest Ethelbert, As you enter into this new season of your life, may there be no hunger moons - only strawberry moons and the sweetness of new ventures...

During my afternoon break, I'll read Susan's book of poems.

I'm slowly getting the home office in order. It felt good yesterday going to the bank - signing 2 book contracts for work coming out next year.

Many thanks to Nancy Morejon for translating my Oscar Romero poem into Spanish. Nancy will be arriving from Cuba on June 1st. Look for us at the ball park (Nats/Cubs) on June 6th. Nancy's father was an umpire in Cuba. Baseball has blessed us both.


Sunday, May 24, 2015


I am the land.
I am the grass growing.
I am the trees.
I am the wind, the voice calling.
I am the poor.
I am the hungry.

The doors of the church are open
as wide as the heart of a man.
In times of trouble
here is a rock, here is a hand.

God knows the meaning of our prayers.
I have asked our government to listen.
God is not dead
and I will never die.

I am the land.
I am the grass growing.
I am the trees.
I am the wind, the voice calling.
I am the poor.
I am the hungry.

He who is resurrected is revolutionary.
He who is resurrected believes in peace.
This is the meaning of light.
This is the meaning of love.

The souls of my people are the pages of history.
The people of El Salvador are the people of the world.

I am Oscar Romero, a humble servant.
I am the land.
I am all the people who have no land.
I am the grass growing.
I am all the children who have been murdered.
I am the trees.
I am the priests, the nuns, the believers.
I am the wind, the voice calling.
I am the poets who will sing forever.
I am the poor.
I am the dreamer whose dreams overflow with hope.
I am the hungry.
I am the people.
I am Oscar Romero.

    - E. Ethelbert Miller

Poem published in First Light: New and Selected Poems by E. Ethelbert Miller
Black Classic Press, 1994.

An excerpt of the poem is published in Bartlett's Familiar Black Quotations
edited by Reth Powers, Little, Brown and Company, 2013.

Saturday, May 23, 2015


Cuban poet Nancy Morejon is coming to Washington DC the first week of June. She will be giving a talk about the poetry of Nicolas Guillen and Langston Hughes. I'll post additional information in a few days.

Here is a link to a 2002 interview with Morejon conducted by Sapphire: