Sunday, October 31, 2004

Countries no longer front page in the news: Grenada, Sudan, Somalia, Liberia, and Haiti.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

I'm doing several tasks at once. Cleaning the house. Washing clothes. Packing. I spent time giving Julia G. feedback on her memoir proposal. It was very nice outside. I decided I needed to get out too. I went up to SilverSpring to Borders. I bumped into Marcia Davis at the counter with her small buddy. A real cool kid. Marcia works at the Washington Post and resides in the home Sterling Brown once lived in (NE Washington). She wrote an essay about this for Callaloo magazine (check the special Sterling Brown issue).

I purchased Bob Dylan's CHRONICLES. I decided to pack this book for my trip instead of the DREAMS IN THE MIRROR: A Biography of EE Cummings...why add more weight if you're black. What would Tubman do?

I stayed in Borders and read some work by one of my Bennington students. I also reviewed the new bylaws I received today from the National Writers Union. Jerry Colby is the new President of NWU. I've been working with Rob Ramer (in the Twin Cities) trying to upgrade the National Advisory Board.

For additional information about NWU go to our If you click on Diversity Committee it will lead you to a speech I gave in 2001 at the Delegates Assembly.

I left Borders and went over to Phillips Famous Seafood. Who said it was famous? I ordered a soft-shell crab sandwich. The service was slow. For a moment I thought I was in Waffle House or Denny's and might need a lawyer to bring my order. Eating a soft-shell crab sandwich must mean I'm getting up in age. I feel like an old black man who plays dominos out front of the general store in a small town. I have two pieces of white bread covering something. The hot sauce is dancing and I can smell the blues coming from the kitchen or maybe it's gospel reminding me that tomorrow is Sunday and my soul needs to get itself to church.

Last night I went and saw the Motorcycle Diaries with my daughter. It's an excellent movie. It's spiritually and politically moving. It's also very, very, funny. It's good that Che is being introduced to another generation. The movie captures the vision and romance of his youth. One will be moved by Che's love for the poor and for this hemisphere. Gosh, this man was seeing the world without borders before the internet. The film shows his revolutionary honesty and principles as they are being formed. I think every young person should see this film before graduating from college.

Before I met my daughter at the movies I walked around DuPont Circle. I went into a Kramers and read a few pages of Bob Dylan's memoir. It's a book you can read quickly. Dylan writes like Dylan. No, not Dylan Thomas.

After the movies my daughter and I went to the Polo India Club (1736 Connecticut Ave) and had dinner. It was one of the few restaurants not crowded. It's amazing to walk around downtown DC at night and see so "few" black people. Where are we? I felt like a free person of color walking around in an old northern state. Is it 1850? Are my brothers and sisters in economic bondage? Do they lack a free pass that would permit them to travel to see plays and movies?Or are we home doing the Soul Food thing? Hmmm. I have a feeling that when the baseball games are played again in DC I'm going to look around and feel like it's Fenway Park.
Red Sox Nation expanding?

Talking baseball - I can't wait for the Expos (The DC Grays?) to play here next year. The team is scheduled to play Seattle. Do you know what that means??? Ichiro baby! I get to see my favorite player in action. I'm getting a seat in right field. Who has the beer?

Friday, October 29, 2004

Red Sox Nation? Yesterday when I headed downtown from Howard I was shocked to find the escalator at the HU/Shaw Metro stop to be actually working. It has been out of service since stairs were created. What other shocking things will continue to take place in this city or in the world now that the Red Sox have won. Barry's back and so is baseball. A working Metro escalator. Do I dare "delay" myself from riding the Red Line? The Cubs are next.
Yesterday I spent the day reading the thesis work for two students. One is enrolled in the Hopkins Creative Writing Program the other in Howard's Art Department. I also met with a student enrolled in Howard's graduate department who is writing poems. So it was a day of meetings.

In the evening I went to my son's school to meet with his teachers. I cooked dinner...some catfish and other goodies.

I slept for a couple of hours until the phone rang. It was good to get up and complete work on my Langston Hughes lecture that I'll give in Israel. I have only one more lecture to complete.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Jim Hoagland's OP-ED essay in the Washington Post today is must reading. "What if It's Kerry's War?" It's important to look beyond the election. What are we going to do in Iraq? It's going to take the old "profile of courage" approach to admit that we have a failure here. It's also going to require people in both parties to find common ground and solutions. New ideas are needed. The other serious problem is going to be the bill. Someone must pay for the war. YOU! Look for budget cuts to take place during the next 2-3 years. A poor market and a terrorist act somewhere within the country could kick us down the road to a major decline in our society.

I received a nice postcard from the poet Elaine Upton. She is doing well and living in New Mexico.

The joys of being a writer is receiving a check in the mail and not expecting it. I just received my honorarium from a program I did this summer.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Look for Kerry to wear a Red Sox cap for the rest of the campaign. Is this the year of the underdogs? Next year the world will be filled with Cub fans.
This morning I shipped a stack of June Jordan flyers to the Givens Collection in Minnesota. This will complement the Jordan letters that I recently donated. A press release will be going out soon.

The Melissa Tuckey program at the Tenley Library went very well. We had a nice lunch size audience. Melissa read and then I interviewed her. I love this format. It's a good way to help a young writer think about things and share with others. I might do more of these programs. I like doing this better than the Ascension Series which I created back in 1974. Two of the librarians present suggested that I do a program of this type at other library branches. I think I would primarily select writers from the area writing programs. The interview would focus on craft and the art of writing. Questions would be asked about specific poems. These would be poems that the poet has already read to the audience.
I asked Melissa questions about revision, the use of punctuation and its affect on line breaks, finding one's voice in a creative writing program, writing a found poem, selecting material for a reading and preparing that first book.
Before leaving the library Melissa was given the nice big poster folks had made for her. I think she was happy to walk by a building and see herself in the window. Bringing happiness to a fellow writer will keep an old man happy like an elder.

After the reading Melissa and I had lunch at Neisha Thai across the street. Yes, I had soft shell crabs again with garlic sauce. We talked about writing and the upcoming election. I like how Melissa combines the political and spiritual in her work as well as life. In my introduction I compared her aura to that of Jane Hirshfield and Lucille Clifton.

This evening I purchased Queen Latifah's new album. I think I would buy her CDs before I go see one of her movies. What was that last one about? Hmmm. That's the type of taxi a smart black man will let pass by without complaint. So what about the CD? I was standing in the record store behind Ron Clark (who started RAP Inc almost 35 years ago). He was looking for the latest Gerri Allen recording. I felt like a Yankee fan thinking about Pedro M pitiching for the club next year. Why is Latifah's album in my hand? Well a friend played a selection in her car while driving me home. The song was "I Put A Spell on You." Now I named my daughter after Nina Simone so you know Nina's music is sacred. Folks should attempt to sing her songs only in the showers. Don't touch the classics unless you have the soap to keep your butt clean. So what's missing in the Queen's voice. I think it's the deepness that makes the music memorable.
Good notes press against your heart and soul and it echoes in how your body moves and your eyes close. You think of a lover and maybe the pain or joy is right there for the touching in the music.
I felt Latifah was having fun on this CD. She was doing a talent show with good musicians. I think of Chaka Khan singing jazz several years ago. The problem might be with Latifah calling herself Queen. On this album she can hold her own but she's just sitting in the court. The throne is still occupied. I love the fact that she did this CD. My favorite song is "Hello Stranger." I wanted to be on the corner with her or maybe in the studio holding down the background. Yeah,
listen baby it seems like a mighty long time. What else is next?

I dropped by Provisions Library and laughed with Del and Don. I love those guys. Well Del is a woman. She gave me a copy of Joy Harjo's CD - Native Joy for Real.
Joy was recently in town reading and performing at Provisions.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

My friend Bev picked me up from Howard and we went to our favorite spot - Mayorga Coffee Factory. We ran into Brigette Rouson and Patrice Gaines. Two African American woman taking care of business. I met Patrice when she was working with the Washington Post. She did one of the first profiles of me for that paper - whew that was long ago. I remember Brigette when she was a reporter for the Howard University school newspaper. was time travel for all of us.
We stood around laughing...Bev and Patrice had friends in it was all good.
Mayorga has changed. Gone are many of the soft chairs where you could just chill. The place was crowded with everyone hooked to their computers. It looked like an AOL commercial. Not the good old feeling. Bev and I found seats by the window and tried to change the conversation back to ourselves.

I came home and made dinner for my son. My friend Monica came by to visit. We laughed about literary things. Monica teaches at American University. Her recent research has been on Gayl Jones.

The New Yorker has a good article on the upcoming election. You might want to read it before voting. I think all American elections are important. No matter who wins the challenge is running the government. It means selecting new people to implement domestic and international policies. Kerry or Bush will have to do something about Iraq. I can't see our allies putting more troops in a country where kidnapping is trying to split the coalition. Look at the current pressure placed on Japan.

The key might be to work with moderate Islamic religious leaders. When did the word insurgents become part of our vocabulary. Who are they? A variety of groups, organized crime? Our intelligence must be very poor in Iraq. Too many Iraqi police and guards are being killed. It's obvious we don't know who to trust. How can we train folks and not know who we are training? Well I voted already but I have no idea how Kerry or Bush plans to end this war. Things are bad and not getting better. Do you remember when folks quoted Dylan? "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." It's dark outside and getting darker.
It's too dark to see.
Last night I had a nice time with my friend Wendy. A chance to laugh and have good Italian food over near Van Ness. Wendy gave me the "John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman" CD as a gift. 6 classic songs. You don't even need wine to listen to them.

This morning Naomi and I had breakfast down in Adams Morgan. A chance to talk about writing and Bennington. Michon dropped in and it was good to see her too.

I spent the rest of the morning putting my office back in order. The work men are gone like a peace keeping unit in Haiti. I dusted off my family pictures and waited for the change that Sam Cooke kept singing about.

I'm ready for tomorrow 's program with Melissa Tuckey. I have about 9 good questions to ask her.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Well I voted today. So does that mean it's over? The new electronic voting machines are cool but you do wonder where your vote is going - Iraq? I went downtown and did the emergency absentee ballot. The place to go is DC Board of Elections and Ethics, 414 4th Street, NW, Suite 250N. Take the Metro because parking is difficult.
Don't forget to vote next Tuesday.

Work men running around my office knocking holes in places. I took all my pictures down and put them in a drawer. I plan to write my refugee suite before I leave.

Zbigniew Brzezinski has a good essay on the OP-ED page of the New York Times. "How to Make New Enemies." He's critical of both Bush and Kerry when it comes to Iraq. Things are going to get worst before they get better.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

A down day. Not much happening. I can't believe I sat and watched the Eagle/Brown football game. What a even when into OT. I hope T. Owens cools down the end zone celebrations if the Eagles make the playoffs. After every touchdown his team might be kicking off from their own goal line. Eagles remind me of the Vikings. These teams look great during the early season but can't win the big one at the end. I'm going with New England again.

I'm listening to the soundtrack from FRIDA. I love Salma Hayek.

OK... Red Sox/Cards...gotta go.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Well the review of HOW WE SLEEP ON THE NIGHTS WE DON'T MAKE LOVE is reviewed in the Washington Post Book World section tomorrow. The book is reviewed by Chris King, editorial director of the St. Louis American. This is how his review begins:

"The streets widened and the books got thinner." That is how poet Ece Ayhan described his countryman Orhan Veli's impact on Turkish poetry and consciousness. It also captures a paradoxical less-is-much-more magic at the heart of poetry itself. This magic is powerfully at works in HOW WE SLEEP ON THE NIGHTS WE DON'T MAKE LOVE, E. Ethelbert Miller's most recent collection.

After going to the bank around 9:30 AM, I dropped by the Tenley-Friendship Library and picked up some flyers for my upcoming program with Melissa Tuckey on October 27th. I also saw the plans for the new library that will be built in the same space in a few years. I love buildings that have windows that will let you read a book with sunlight. That's what's coming.

I got back on Metro and went to Rockville,Md. There I was met by Dorothy who gave me a ride to the 9th Annual F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference. I was the workshop leader for the memoir. Other writing leaders were Alan Cheuse, Maxine Clair (Fiction), Ernest Joselovitz (Playwriting), Sean Enright (Poetry) and Ellen Braaf (Children's Literature).

I had 12 people in my workshop. I did the following:

- Discussion about the popularity of the memoir today.
- I talked about how (and why) I wrote Fathering Words
- I provided the group with several tips to remember when writing the memoir
- We discussed handouts that had been written by Vivian Gornick and Mimi Schwartz
- Read and talked about the beginning of Gornick's Fierce Attachments
- I gave critical feedback on three manuscripts that had been given to me prior to the workshop

Along with my own memoir and came into the workshop with the following books:

Tale of a Sky-Blue Dress by Thylias Moss
My Sky Blue Trades by Sven Birkerts
Dreaming Me by Jan Willis
Fierce Attachments by Vivian Gornick

A copy of Creative Nonfiction magazine

I think our group had fun. I know I did.

After the workshop I took the Metro down to DuPont Circle. I stopped in one of the local bookstores and purchased a Travel book about Israel. I'm ready to go. I'll work on my lectures, this week and pack.

Tonight it's baseball. RedSox and Cards. I'll just sit back and watch...I hope the television folks show old footage of Bob Gibson.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Theater: Jennifer Nelson is doing Wilson's TWO TRAINS RUNNING at the Kennedy Center(DC) on November 6th at 8PM.
Purchase tickets at: 202 467-4600.

I donated 2 boxes of books to the Nora School in Silver Spring this morning. I met with John C and discussed IPS matters at the Savory (314 Carroll Street).

OBit in the newspapers for the poet Anthony Hecht. Another loss...
New York Times (A21)
Washington Post (B7)

New biography of E. E. Cummings written by Christopher Sawyer-Laucanno.
Published by Sourcebooks for $29.95.

I completed my introduction to Yearn Hong Choi's anthology of Korean American poetry.
I titled it "Daybreak and Sunlight: The Flowering of Korean American poetry in America."

Thursday, October 21, 2004

My "Pinero" interview with James Early went very well. We shot about 1 hr plus of good stuff to edit into the 1977 interview. It was like the old days when James and I would work on cultural programs together...sitting people like Amiri Baraka and Bernice Reagon down for long recordings. It's time to get some of this material into the hands of a new generation of scholars and activists.

I completed a draft of my essay for the Korean American anthology.

The latest issue of Sports Illustrated has the NBA preview. It's going to be difficult to pick a winner this year. I don't think Detroit can repeat. Houston looks serious...
Miami and the LA will be good for the networks...folks want to see how Kobe will play without Shaq, etc. Poor Wizards who can they beat? Anybody seen Vince Carter? Can we trade for him?

I'm heading downtown tomorrow to vote since I won't be in the US on election day. The media says the election is a tie between Bush and Kerry. Will my vote tomorrow make a difference in the polls?
I will be making some changes to my website. Color and content. Call it an upgrade.

Congrats to A. Van Jordan for his book MACNOLIA being selected as the best poetry title of the year by Black Issues Book Review.

Genius Loves Company by Ray Charles has turned platinum. Folks must love Ray more than the music. I wasn't knocked down by his last CD. Mediocrity loves company too.

K Brown is your pitcher in the 7th game of a series. You might as well give the ball to your little brother. I was just hoping the guy could go 4 innings...nothing more. After a fantastic throw by Jeter to nail JD at the plate, the Brownie gives up a homerun to Ortiz. I went upstairs and did some reading and writing. So what does this mean? It means Kerry might win the Presidency.
It sounds stupid but all you have to do put a Red Sox hat on his head and folks will say -hey maybe this guy can win too. American Folks love a winner...especially the underdog type. Of course the Red Sox have yet to win the WS but who cares right now.

I have to interview James Early about Miguel Pinero today. We will shoot in the African American Resource Center. Back in 1977 I shot a Pinero/Early interview. Pinero was riding high on the success of his play Short Eyes. I read the play again last night. In the 1977 interview Pinero reminds me of Che. It's fun looking at old b&w video. Early and Pinero are in the library smoking like 2 European intellectuals. Strange to see folks doing an interview and smoking on camera and in a library too. Those were the days.

My books from Vertigo came yesterday. The Evelyn White biography of Alice Walker and the Crouch novel DON'T THE MOON LOOK LONESOME. These two books and maybe the Selected Poems of James Tate is what I plan to pack for my plane ride to Israel. Crouch has a new book of essays that was just released. The title is THE ARTIFICIAL WHITE MAN: ESSAYS ON AUTHENTICITY. Next Wednesday he will be in town at Politics and Prose.

I have to draft and complete my introduction to an anthology of Korean American poetry.
I need to get everything done today. Top priority.

I'm not writing any poems right now. I did review the essay Julia Galbus did on me for the Furious Flower Conference.

Today is the birthday of Beverly H... one of my best friends. Happy Birthday Beverage! That's the nickname I gave her. The other one is BuddyBev. Over twenty years of friendship. This is what makes life worth living.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

What fun I had at the poetry reading at Grace Church last night. The place is quickly becoming one of the venues for reading. The wonderful surprise was the appearance of television anchorwoman Wendy Rieger. She recalled how we first met years ago. Gosh she looks even more beautiful outside the television box.
It was also Sally Avigone's birthday. She helps to organize the readings at the church. Happy Birthday Sally!

Today's NPR book discussion of The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini went well. You can probably access the program from the NPR archives. Just go to the Diane Rehm Show- Readers Review.

I've been exchanging emails with a number of writers the last few days. Folks are doing well.
I've heard from Elizabeth Alexander, Brenda-Marie Osbey, Afaa Michael Weaver, and Ai.

Well, time to get ready for my Saturday workshop at the F. Scott Fitzgerald Conference. I'll be doing a memoir workshop.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

I have a meeting today with Sarah Browning. She did an excellent job editing the anthology DC Poets Against The War. The new edition looks good. It's an Argonne House Press book:

Also meeting with Michon to talk about upcoming television programs.

I pulled poems for my reading tonight.

All my Bennington work is completed. Midterm evaluations sent to the office.

Norman Dubie is on the cover of the new issue of Poets & Writers. Checkout M.J. Rose's article on "How To Tell If Your Book's Going To Sell."
Some helpful info in it.

A small pile of papers and books is beginning to reproduce on the floor of my upstairs office.
Maybe I'll get to it tonight.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Whew what a day. I made travel changes on my ticket to Israel. Confirmed a new date for Jury Duty, and got letters and packets out to folks.

There is a good NY Times article on Wynton Marsalis in The Arts section of the paper. See B1.

I put in my order to Vertigo for the new Alice Walker biography and the Stanley Crouch collection of essays.

This evening I'll work on my upcoming public presentations. I have a reading at Grace Church in Georgetown tomorrow night. I'll also put together a list of key points to make on THE KITE RUNNER; NPR broadcast is Wednesday morning.

I have to review the Miguel Pinero/James Early tape. I'll read SHORT EYES tonight too.
Interview with James on Thursday morning. We will look back on Pinero's life.

I might try and catch a few innings of baseball. If God is not a Red Sox fan look for the team to win two more games and then lose. That would be a typical hurt...get so close and then lose again.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

A very productive day. I have a few more pages of THE KITE RUNNER to read. I'll prepare for my NPR book discussion tomorrow evening.

I packed two boxes of books that I plan to donate to the Nora School this week.

Bills are all gone from the desk. :-)

One last Bennington packet to place in the mail tomorrow.

I'll begin to focus on my trip to Israel this week. I pulled my lecture notes. I'll be giving lectures on the Black Arts Movement and Langston Hughes. I'll also read poems and talk about being a literary activist.

In the NY Times today there is an Ad for THE TEMPTATION OF ST. ANTHONY at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. It features Carl Hancock Rux. Music and Libretto is by Bernice Reagon.
So now we know what she's doing after leaving Sweet Honey In The Rock. Congrats.

NY Times also endorsed Kerry for President.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

A good day. I placed a number of things in the mail. I sent out flyers for Melissa Tuckey's upcoming poetry reading at the Tenley-Friendship Library on October 27th (1PM). Tuckey is completing her MFA degree at George Mason University. She will read for about 15-20 minutes and then I will conduct an interview with her and take questions from the audience.

I had a morning meeting with Schlese Castilla at the Borders in Silver Spring. Schlese is enrolled in the John Hopkins University creative writing program. I'm serving as an outside reader of her thesis.

While at Borders I saw a couple of friends. One was James Cunningham who teaches at Anacostia H.S. I told him about the exhibit at the Anacostia Museum. He plans to take his students.

Later in the afternoon I had lunch with my buddy Beverly. This is the start of her birthday week. Celebration on Thursday.

I received a mailing from The Phillips Collection. The Calder Miro exhibit will be up from October 9th to January 23, 2005.

I have 1 more Bennington packet to do.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Friday. I have to get some rest...chill. I'm going to watch the game tonight without guilt. It's the key game. If the Yankees win I think the series is over. Cards vs Yanks in the WS.

I had a nice lunch with Renee Shea. Renee did the Rita Dove profile that was in the last Poets & Writers (cover). We had good Thai food over on Connecticut Avenue. It was good to get away from HU for a spell. The area lacks a good restaurant. I seldom walk down to U Street. I might start doing that one day.

In between talking with students and answering emails I had to breathe the bad air that's been in my office the last few days. Folks just knock holes into walls and ceilings and never ask your lungs. I've been telling female friends to watch their ovaries.

Robert Bly just sent me a copy of his latest book of poems:
In the poem "Advice From The Geese" is the following line:

"Please don't expect that the next President
Will be better than this one."

What's a country to do?

Poet Lore, co-editor Jody Bolz has a new collection of poems out. The title is A LESSON IN NARRATIVE TIME.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

There is a good article about Jacques Derrida in today's New York Times (Op-Ed page).
Derrida died last week in Paris. He was 74.

I received from Curbstone Press the nice book review of HOW WE SLEEP that was recently published in The Baltimore Review. Curbstone has done an excellent job in getting my last book reviewed.

I have a reading this evening at The Nora School (955 Sligo Avenue) in Silver Spring. Also on the program is Kenneth Carroll and a couple of students from DC Writers Corps.

October 17th is the Million Worker March. Here is the website for information:
I was on my way back from Baltimore so I missed the debates. I did catch the last two innings of the Yankee/Red Sox game. Look for the Yankees and Cards in the WS.

On the train ride back from Baltimore I read the first chapter of UNDERSTANDING CHARLES JOHNSON by Gary Storhoff. It's a new book. Charles sent me a copy this week.

Tomorrow morning I'll try and attend the morning session of "Moral Dilemma: A Dialogue in Contemporary Issues in Domestic and International Affairs" which will be held in the Blackburn Center, Howard University.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Just back from a trip to Widener University with family. Widener is one of the schools my son is looking at. It was a nice visit...good people with a focus on education and not just sports.

I did some work on the ride up and back. I completed the reading of Meena Alexander's RAW SILK.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Hurricane Ivan damaged at least 90 percent of the island buildings in Grenada. The island's crops such as cocoa and nutmeg have been wiped out. It will take a decade to regrow the nutmeg groves.

China just sent 125 uniformed personnel to Haiti. It's China's first contribution to a United Nations mission in the Western Hemisphere.
It will be interested to see how China might slip back into the news after Iraq, Iran, North Korea, and Afghanistan. China has a presence in the Sudan...

I received a nice letter from my friend Adam Frange traveling in India. I know he reads the travel safe Adam.

OK...Yankee/Red Sox games next week. This is going to be the REAL World Series.
Why did the Twins manager remove Santana??? Let your ace keep the ball when you have the lead. You can make a move in the 9th inning.

Congrats to Nobel Prize Winner Elfriede Jelinek.
Well I checked the Post...didn't see a review of HOW WE SLEEP. Maybe it will run next Sunday or maybe it won't. Like Miles...I'm looking forward not backwards.

I pulled more tapes to ship to Julia in Indiana. We are working on compiling a book of interviews. It's almost like reconstructing my life again. Here are a few of the tapes that we hope to transcribe and prepare for publication:

Interview with Dolores Kendrick
Interview with Toi Derricotte (Maiden Voyage)
Interview with Claudia Tate (Maiden Voyage)
Interview with Dr. Ben Jochannan (Very Important)
Interview with Roland Freeman (Maiden Voyage)
Interview with Eloise Greenfield (Maiden Voyage)
Interview with Joyce Joyce (Maiden Voyage)
Interview with Michelle Wallace
Interview with Jerry Ward
Interview with Dr. Sulayman Nyang (Maiden Voyage) Very Important
Interview with Arthur Jafa (Maiden Voyage)
Interview with Audre Lorde
Interview with W. Deen Muhammad (Very Important)
Interview with Mary Helen Washington
Interview with Sam Yette (Maiden Voyage)
Poetry Reading with Leon Damas, February 20, 1975.
E. Ethelbert Miller Interviewed on WPFW August 8, 1978

A number of the tapes were recorded when I hosted "Maiden Voyage" on WDCU many years ago. The project should be a gem. Julia is a wonderful scholar.

This morning I cleaned my desk on the first floor. Reading old newspaper articles and putting things in order.

Friday, October 08, 2004

There are days like today. You look for the covers but you're already dressed and sitting in your office. Your eyes are open. Yes, this is happening. Poor Yuri couldn't get his HU ID. Then the computer system crashed.

Earlier in the day I had a long conversation with my friend Z from Sudan. She's a wonderful person. We laughed and talked about politics.

In the late afternoon I had to rush to my son's school. He just returned from a 4 day spiritual retreat. I also received a call from best buddy Bev. We plan to get together for noodles tomorrow.

I'm going to read about 4 manuscripts this weekend and get comments back to folks. I have to draft an introduction to an anthology of Korean poetry. I'm giving myself a Wednesday deadline.

I'll watch the debates tonight but might have to skip the baseball games. If the Red Sox win the World Series it could mean an upward bump for Kerry. Folks like to be associated with winners.
I remember John Lindsay in New York when the Mets won.

I read with Hall Gardner and George Ellenbogen at the National Press Club last night. It was a nice evening. I was going to head home afterwards but found myself at La Tasca on 722 7th Street, NW. A nice place to go for a small plate of food (Tapas) and a drink. If the Wizards could win some games next year the place could be packed during the week. I hadn't been down to "Chinatown" at night in a long time. Is there still a Chinatown? New developments, and stores. Folks out walking around like it was Adams Morgan a few years ago. The future is baseball...

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Dental appointment this morning. Have you seen the impact of my smile on the world? Yuri arrived on campus. I introduced him to members of my department. He will have an office on the floor until February 2005. His interest is in the trends found among new African American fiction writers.

I got a couple of letters of recommendations out. I also wrote letters to folks who made recent contributions to the Center.

I have a reading this evening at the National Press Club. I will be reading with Hall Gardner. I haven't seen Hall in about 25 years.
We are both included in Lois Claire Kincannon's anthology SHEETS FOR MEN ONLY.

Yesterday I met with John (director of IPS) and we talked about my becoming chair of the board in November. I love working with the folks at IPS. They are doing wonderful work.
Visit our website:

I had 2 good talks with two students who visited the African American Resource Center. I try to give students advice as well as reading material. I also try to listen to them as much as possible.
It's one of the rewarding things about being at HU.

I had to catch a bus from L'Enfant Plaza and make the trek to Dulles Airport. I try to avoid this place as much as possible. It has to be low on my rankings of airports. I did get a lot of work done (reading manuscripts and answering phone calls) while I waited for Yuri to arrive from Belarus. He will be a visiting scholar until February 2005.

I received in the mail an attractive self-published book by the poet John Warford who resides in Tallahassee, Florida. The title is HAIKU FOR A NEW PEOPLE.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

You can lose a debate before it evens begins. By letting the VP sit for 90 minutes keeps him in a strong position. Cheney is at his best sitting down. Edwards is better when he can move around and talk to the jury. Cheney was going to get real nasty until Edwards pull the rug and started talking about his daughter and gay unions. Edwards slipped the VP a "nice" pill and he took his medicine. The VP was never the same afterwards. This debate won't affect anything. Are there really undecided Americans out there? It's like a black person wondering if he/she is black. Really. Folks who are undecided are the folks who just vote depending on which way the wind blows. What would folks do if there were no polls? OK...if the Red Sox win the World Series look for Kerry to win the election. Of course he will have to be in that locker getting his head wet from the celebration. Folks love winners.

I have a few more pages to read in MEMOIR OF THE HAWK by James Tate. I think the best poem in the book is "Rapture." I have his SELECTED POEMS to read next.

In the mail today I received Meena Alexander's new collection RAW SILK. I turned to the first page:

"I thumb through pages packed with syllables and cannot find you.
Tell me your name, come let me write you."

I sent The Pilgrim Press the blurb for STANDING IN THE WHIRLWIND: The Riveting Story of a Priest and The Congregations that Tormented Her by Nancy James.

The new Mosaic magazine is out.

I have to find a way out to Dulles Airport tomorrow to meet Dr. Yuri Stulov. He is flying in from Belarus.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Here is how the Brattleboro Literary Festival went from October 1 -3.
I flew to Hartford where I was met by Tim Mayo. Tim is a recent graduate of Bennington. We had a great time just talking as he drove back to Battleboro. What a cool place. Folks walking around with Kerry buttons and talking about the debate. Everything associated with the Literary Festival is held on Main Street. I stayed at the Latchis Hotel. I went to a reception on Friday afternoon. I spent time talking with Russell Banks, Thom Ward, Chase Twichell and Vijay Seshadri.

On Saturday I went to a morning reading by Russell Banks. He read from his new novel THE DARLING. Around 12:30 I went to a poetry reading at A Candle In The Night. This is a rug store where they turn it into a great place for poets. I listened to Chase Twichell and Vijay Seshadri. I had met Chase last year in Arizona and Vijay is going to be joining the core faculty at Bennington in January.

Around 1:30 PM I joined Wyn Cooper, Jennifer Gates, Hannah Tinti, Ellen Dudley, Thom Ward
for a RT Publishing Panel. I represented Poet Lore magazine and talked about how we operate and what we look for in submissions. The session was well attended and held in the Hooker-Dunham Theater.

Later in the day I went to a reading by Julia Alvarez in the Congregational Church. We hadn't seen each other in over a decade. When she saw me she let out a loud scream in the church and everyone turned around. It was funny. Seeing her again was one of the highlights of the festival for me.

There was a fantastic evening dinner for all the writers at the end of the day. It was a chance for me to talk with Naima Wade. She is an African American woman who lives in Vermont and had read all of my work. Well, she was responsible for introducing me at my reading on Sunday. We laughed like old friends. Naima reminded me very much of one of my cousins in the Virgin Islands. At our table was Thom Ward and Louis Simpson. Simpson didn't remember me from the 1970s when I visited his home on Long didn't matter because he was so much fun that you just wanted to be in his presence. What a sweet man. The Saturday night bash was one of the best things I've done this year.

On Sunday morning I went to the author's brunch and then the reading by James Tate and Dara Wier. This was held at the River Garden. After listening to Tate read I purchased a couple of his books.

My own reading took place at 3PM. I read a new poem "Going To Meet The Butcher."

Following the reading Naima and I went and had Thai food across the street. We were joined by Tim Mayo.

Coming full circle...Tim picked me up on Monday morning from the Latchis Theater for the trip back to DC. I enjoyed the Brattleboro Literary Festival more than Furious Flower. I had a chance to relax. It was nice to walk down the street and see covers of my book in store windows.
Tim presented me with a copy of the August 12th edition of the Brattleboro Reformer. In it is a long review of my book HOW WE SLEEP ON THE NIGHTS WE DON'T MAKE LOVE. Tim also reviewed Vijay Seshadri's second book THE LONG MEADOW. This book won the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets.

Arriving home I received an email from Curbstone Press informing me that the Washington Post will be running a review of HOW WE SLEEP... this Sunday.

Well, my desk is a mess with tons of things to sort. More to report later in the day.
I'm back home after attending the Brattleboro Literary Festival. I had to rush home for my "Windows & Mirrors" program at the DC Jewish Community Center. Tonight we presented Steve Oney who wrote AND THE DEAD SHALL RISE. It's an excellent book about the murder of Mary Phagan and the lynching of Leo Frank. Oney gave a good presentation and took questions from the audience.