Monday, May 31, 2004

So another day slips out of my hands. Maybe I'm just missing the sun.
It's a slump and I'm doing nothing but hitting fouls like washing the clothes and putting out the trash. I just came in from working in the backyard.

I did read some Bennington material and work by Danticat. If I had cable I could chill with the Lakers tonight.

My son should be coming home in a few hours from his basketball tournament in Albany. It was his last AAU games. Friday and Saturday of this week are the first summer games for Gonzaga. It's my son's senior year...a city championship would be nice.

Not too bad a week starting tomorrow. It's best for me to stay away from the outside pitches; lately I've been swinging at everything. Later.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

I watched a little of the French Open. I'm not a big tennis fan. Where do they get those folks who call the tennis games? You can hear them just waiting for Venus and Serena to lose. Must every Black person be Jackie Robinson?

So I'm taking a break from my Bennington packets. I started packing and getting ready for the June residency. It starts next week. I'll read some more stuff by Danticat tonight.
I'm still excited about the upcoming Smithsonian exhibit. I hope folks come to see it, especially young people.

Getting ready for the morning jog. Will come back and read the New York Times and Washington Post. Most of the day will be spent reading my final Bennington packets. In the evening I'll return to preparing for my television interview with Danticat. I'm almost finished reading AFTER THE DANCE which was published in 2002. This book is about her trip to Jacmel, Haiti. She talks about carnival but reveals some good personal information such as her love for masks. I might begin the interview talking about this book. Her exchange of ideas with the artist Ronald Mews is memorable. He is quoted as saying in the book, "In Haiti we take surrealism for granted." Hmmm...sounds like this is beginning to apply to the rest of the world. I look in the mirror and I see Andre Breton.

Baseball news. I had a chance to watch Ichiro play on television yesterday. Seattle against Boston. Ich went 2 for 5. 25th multiple hit game this season. Most in baseball.

I need to go hit a few poems. Later.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

I purchased THE RIDE by Los Lobos. A chance to relax for a day. Subway was packed with folks in town for the WW II celebration. House to myself...
This morning I took a peek at the Smithsonian exhibit I'm curating. "All The Stories Are True" is going to be a ground breaking exhibit. It's an awesome show. It's amazing to see things that were outlined on paper turned into such a beautiful experience. I think people are going to be talking about this show from June until December. If you have plans to visit D.C. this summer get your butt over to the Anacostia Museum. Here is the address: 1901 Fort Place, SE. The show highlights the work of Valerie Boyd, Octavia Butler, Kenneth Carroll, Edwidge Danticat, Samuel R. Delany, Eloise Greenfield, Charles Johnson, Dolores Kendrick and Walter Dean Myers.

Friday, May 28, 2004

My friend Michon sent me Ariel Dorfman's essay "The Day I Failed To Be Che Guevara." Over the years Dorfman's work has been a steady influence on my own. My introduction to Chile was over the bridge of his friendship.

I received a nice note in the mail from Donald Hall. He liked my prose poem "The Fifth Inning." I had sent him a copy of Crux magazine a few weeks ago.

Received a couple of CDs from my friend Julia:
Ricki Lee Jones, Joni Mitchell, Deanna Kirk and some YoYoMa.

Also in the mail was the latest issue of Callaloo (Vol. 27, No.2). It contains a memorium for Reetika Vazirani and Jehan Vazirani Komunyakaa.
Contributors include Rita Dove, Renee Shea, Paula Span, Kyle Darga and Daniel Wideman.
"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."
- Philip K. Dick
Ichiro News: Yesterday he made his first error in 96 games. The guy has won 3 straight Gold Gloves since coming to the US.

In other news...Austria has just passed a very tough Animal Rights Law. It takes affect in January. Pet owners won't be able crop their dogs ears or tails. Farmers will have to uncage chickens. The law will prevent the use of wild animals in circuses and make it illegal to restrain dogs with chains.

Even though this is Memorial Day weekend it's important to monitor the proposed spending cuts the White House will be making. Cuts coming to veteran programs? :-(
After all the parades, ribbons and flag waving it's still important to care for young soldiers who have no legs, arms, or are blind. Respect the dead but show more love and concern for the living; especially the wounded. I keep thinking about soldiers in Walter Reed Hospital, three blocks from my house. I've been trying to write a poem but the words are still crying.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

This evening I went to the Museum of African Art with my friend Bev.
We saw Shyam Benegal's film "The Making of the Mahatma." It a good account of Gandhi's 21 years in South Africa. The film captures Gandhi's transformation into a world leader. I loved watching the relationship between him and his wife. Some of Gandhi's actions were painful to family members; still the film is filled with humor and warmth. I would highly recommend this film to anyone wanting to know more about Mahatma Gandhi.

this is a form letter
I send to almost everybody, but
I hope you take it

- Charles Bukowski
The best baseball player today is Ichiro Suzuki. Yesterday he had 4 hits and raised his average to .332. The guy reached base safely in every game during the month of May and in 24 straight over all.

I begin each morning checking his stats. This is something I did when I was growing up in the Bronx. I would follow one or two players for an entire season. The ups and downs of baseball mirrors life. Look at the terrible slump Jeter is in. It reminds me of Bush.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

I pulled my Edwidge Danticat file in the Resource Center. I'll start preparing for my television interview with E. The taping will take place on June 7th.

I sent Doreen Baingana a blurb for her forthcoiming book, TROPICAL FISH.
Doreen is already picking up awards for her writing. I see her fiction placing Uganda back on the map.

I exchanged some emails with my friend Carin in Wisconsin. She is working with the Jail Library Group. They provide books for people in prison. I plan to pack and ship some boxes of books out to her this summer. If someone wants to contact the organizaton here is their email address:
The Jail Library Group has been around since 1992.

Today I received in the mail an issue of Blueline: A Literary Magazine dedicated to the spirit of the Adirondacks.
Catherine Griffiths has work in it. Catherine is in the Bennington program.

I'm still reading SEARCH FOR PHILIP DICK 1928-1982.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

I watched the movie PAYCHECK last night. Not bad. Philip Dick's work is getting more attention because of the world we live in. In Founders Library this morning I pulled from a shelf a copy of the book Anne Dick wrote:

I met with two students. One is interested in applying to a creative writing program. We will continue our conversation tomorrow.

Jumpa Lahiri at the King Library this evening. I plan to go see her.

Many thanks to Don Mee for sending me articles from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer about the new Seattle Public Library. What a cool place. I have to get back to Seattle.

Monday, May 24, 2004

I received a note from Kadija in London. Her Sable magazine has a new website:
In the latest issue I have an essay on June Jordan.

I had a long conversation with a reporter writing a feature article for the Washington Post on poetry in DC. Look for the story to appear in the June 18th, Weekend Section of the newspaper.
I talked about how things have changed over the last several years.
A key factor is economic development; more places for poets to read. I also talked about Poet Lore magazine.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

If you get a chance read Susan Sontag's "The Photographs Are Us" in today's New York Times Magazine. This is a powerful essay about language and pictures. Sontag provides an excellent analysis of the photographs coming out of Iraq:

"If there is something comparable to what these pictures show it would be some of the photographs of black victims of lynching taken between 1880s and 1930s, which show Americans grinning beneath the naked mutilated body of a black man or woman hanging behind them from a tree. The lynching photographs were souvenirs of a collective action whose participants felt perfectly justified in what they had done. So are the pictures from Abu Ghraib."

Also in the NY Times today is Frank Rich's review of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11. Look for this film to have a possible impact on the upcoming election.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

I met with Melissa Tuckey at Cosi around 9A.M. I gave her feedback on her stack of poems. Today it was good to be out just like the sun. Around 11A.M I walked over to the Provisions Library where I did some Bennington work.
Afterwards I stopped at Kramer Afterwords and purchased two books:

Elizabeth Bishop's THE COMPLETE POEMS 1927-1979

I had the house to myself this afternoon. I cleaned a number of rooms and then went and purchased some Chinese food on Georgia Avenue.

The rest of the day I read Lahiri's book.

I might just watch some baseball tonight. I don't have cable so I'll miss the Lakers this weekend. :-(

Good sporting news: Ichiro hitting 332. This guy could hit 400. Ted Williams isn't God.

Friday, May 21, 2004

I went to the Second Annual DC Area Writing Project Awards Reception. It was held at the National Press Club. Ishmael Reed was honored this year.
Last year it was me. I spoke and made brief remarks about Reed's contribution to American literature and how he was supportive of the careers of so many writers. This includes women writers such as Terry McMillan.

It was good to see Reed (who was visiting DC with his daughter). I think its been more than a decade since I've last spoke with him.

BTW a must read in The New Yorker is the story "Hell-Heaven" by Jhumpa Lahiri. Lahiri's INTERPRETER OF MALADIES was selected this year for the DC We Read Program. She will be here on Tuesday afternoon for a reading and signing of her book at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.
I have one more Bennington packet to do. TGIF
This morning I'll meet with Joyce Hackett at Cosi.

I need to discard some old files in the Resource Center today; clean off the back tables.

Ishmael Reed is in town. I'll go see him at the National Press Club this evening. I haven't seen Ish in many years. He is a person who is very supportive of writers. I've always been deeply grateful for the blurb he wrote for my book FIRST LIGHT back in 1994.

Before my morning run I'm going to look at a video tape of Louise Gluck reading her poems.

I started reading Brett Miller's biography of Elizabeth Bishop.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

6AM email exchange with Charles Rowell, editor of Callaloo.

I've been completing work on my Bennington packets. Hopefully everything will be done by Friday or Saturday.

I talked to a couple of students who visited the African American Resource Center. The campus is empty; not that many students taking summer classes.

I called Yvonne Seon and gave her feedback on her manuscript

I received a nice note from Lora Jablonski a student at Lake Braddock High School. She enjoyed the reading I gave at her school on the 13th of May.

I returned my letter and contract to the F.Scott Fizgerald Literary Conference, Inc. I will be coordinating a workshop on memoir writing in Rockville on the 23rd of October at 3 P.M.

In the mail I received the latest issue of Transition magazine. It features a couple of articles about Nigerian film. Transition magazine is one of the few quality black intellectual publications coming out today.

Evening dinner with my friends Dorothy Phaire and Pat Thomas. We went to
Sala Thai Restaurant in Bethesda, Maryland. It's a very nice spot with good food. I give it an A.

OK back to work. I have to compile a mailing list for my upcoming exhibit ALL THE STORIES ARE TRUE. The opening is going to be on Sunday, June 6th. If you want an invite please email your name and address.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Late dinner and a political discussion with my daughter. I just don't see Kerry taking the White House in the Fall. The battle is beyond Bush.
What are we voting for? A new direction in the Middle East? Protection of our civil liberites? A new military? It seems as if we are stepping backwards into the 21st century. We need new and bold leadership in various countries around the globe. When are we going to have a new policy toward Cuba? When will Africa become a priority? What is going to be the role of the UN in future conflicts?

Some of the best journalism right now is being done by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker. See "The Gray Zone" in the May 24th issue.
Breakfast with Yael in Adams Morgan. I also saw Naomi on 18th Street. I walked over to Howard on Georgia Avenue. It's a way of observing first hand how DC neighborhoods are changing by race, and income.

I received a letter/contract from Joanne Gabbin for the Furious Flower Poetry Festival in September at James Madison University.
I'll be reading my poetry at 8PM on the 23rd of September.

Hi, remember me? So you thought I was missing in action -right? Well, the good news is that I was in Boston watching my daughter graduate from Boston University. She majored in Journalism and graduated Magna Cum Laude. It was a wonderful family moment. It was something my mother (who battled bad health last year) wanted to really see. She was so proud. I spent the day pushing her around in a wheelchair. You get to see your life from so many different angles at once. You realize how old your mom as well as your daughter have become.
The weather could have been better. It rain during the entire morning ceremony. :-( However the joy of the occasion created its own flood of emotions.

Coming back on the plane to BWI I ran into Jyotika (Reetika's sister)
in the airport. That was also a special moment...

My daughter drove my son and I back from BWI to our house. When did she learn to drive? :-)

I took an evening break and went to Mayorga Coffee Factory with my friend Buddy Bev. I didn't know it was poetry night. I walked into the cafe and folks were excited to see me. I felt so old. I guess I'm old school. :-)

Oh, one more note. There was a great review of my book HOW WE SLEEP ON THE NIGHTS WE DON'T MAKE LOVE in the Dallas Morning News last Friday. It was written by David Walton. If you want a copy justlet me know.

Friday, May 14, 2004

A day reading manuscripts, and keeping the mail going. I sent copies of Crux magazine to photographer Roland Freeman, and my Bennington leader Liam Rector. I received the new magazine David Harbilas is putting out.
The first issue of FOUR CORNERS looks good. It includes a few of my fellow Bennington students: David Levi, Sally Ashton and Leah Souffrant.
There are a two good poems in the issue by Peter Davis and a short sweet interview with Charles Simic. Here is info on Four Corners:
211 Concord Street, Haverhill, MA 01830.

The writer Hayes Brown sent me his new novel BOOGA. Hayes lives in nearby Silver Spring. We might try and get together for a chat in June.

Friday evening and I'm listening to Maria Callas.
Whew. There was no E-Note yesterday. Why? Did you see the baseketball game? Lakers baby! What a game. I watched it with my son and we just went crazy in the living room. I thought the game was over after Bryant hit his shot. Duncan will never make another shot like the one he did. Did you see those guys jumping around at their bench? Where was the leader to remind them there was still time on the clock? That's the first thing you do, especially in a championship game. You have to play every second. You don't celebrate until the game is over. Basic rule.

So yesterday I went to Lake Braddock High School. It's one of my favorite places to give a reading. Mike Mariani is the teacher who invites me into his classroom every year. This guy is one of the best high school teachers in the area. What a dear generous soul. He knows I like baseball, so the class gave me a beautiful picture of Roberto Clemente.

I have a huge pile of manuscripts and things to read on my desk. Let me get back to work.

Oh, did everyone see the excellent piece on Walt Whitman in Washington DC that was published in the Washington Times? It was good to see reference to the work Kim Roberts has been doing. Her Whitman work can be found at the following site:

Here is the information to access the The Walt Whitman Archive:

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

I met Rosemary Winslow at Cosi this morning. She gave me copies of Crux magazine. Crux is the literary journal of Catholic University. Here is their website:
The latest issue features "Fifth Inning" which is a prose poem I wrote a few weeks ago. I've received excellent feedback on it. Liam Rector suggested that I send a copy of the poem to Donald Hall. I did that this afternoon. Included in Crux is also my friend and fellow poet Judith Harris. This latest issue of Crux comes with a CD.

I had a number of visitors at the Resource Center today. I didn't get any of the things I wanted to get done. :-(

I did receive a copy of A. Van Jordan's new collection of poems in the mail. Look for M-A-C-N-O-L-I-A which was just published by Norton to be nominated for a couple of literary awards. Jordan has produced a book of exceptional work. I was happy to write a blurb for this book. The back cover contains endorsements from Michael Collier and Edward Hirsch.

I have to do some serious work tonight. Tomorrow I have to give a talk/reading at Lake Braddock High School in Northern Virginia.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

My friend Bev picked me up from Howard and we went to our favorite cafe in Silver Spring. We had want was a late lunch for both of us. Afterwards Bev ran some errands and I went along for the ride. It was fun just cooling out.

In the evening I went out to the basketball courts with my son. I watched a couple of games and shot some free throws.

I'll spend the rest of the night completing work on a couple of Bennington packets.
I walked from Howard over to the Humanities Council office on U Street for a 12:30PM Activities Committee Meeting. We talked about Regrants, Soul of the City Program, Art of Association, and the DCTV programs.
Good news. The bamboo plant that Heea (Reetika's mom) gave me was not doing well indoors. It's now has a new home in the front yard and is growing. So important to acknowledge life during dark times.
Words of wisdom by Richard Cohen in today's Washington Post:

"If we have learned anything from the Holocaust, it is that ordinary people are capable of extraordinary evil."

Monday, May 10, 2004

The is usually the best week of the year at Howard. It's the week after graduation and the weather is warm. The campus has no students. Workers are taking down the graduation stands.

I walked over to the campus this morning from Adams Morgan. I had breakfast with my friend Yael. She's a local writer and activist that I've known for several years.

I cleaned the front area of the African American Resource Center. I've been discarding more things over the years and being more selective in what I save.
While putting things away I discovered a copy of The Langston Hughes Review (Winter 1997, Vol. 15, No. 2). Inside was a copy of my interview with Gwendolyn Brooks. I never knew it was in print. I remember Brooks commenting it was one of the best interviews anyone did with her.

Today I received an envelope from Julia Galbus. She was given a grant by the University of Southern Indiana to travel to D.C. this summer. She will be doing research on Dr. Stephen Henderson and the Institute for the Arts & Humanities.
Galbus will be in town from July 26 - August 7th.

This evening I have to attend a Poet Lore meeting at the Writer's Center. I have a few more pages of the Molly Peacock book to read.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

They just changed the Blog format. Why? Oh, boy. Everything is constantly changing. Let me get use to this. I just typed something and it didn't post. :-(

I spent the afternoon with my family in Silver Spring. We had lunch at the Red Lobster. I ran into a number of people I hadn't seen in years.
Silver Spring is really developing into a good place to spend time relaxing. More development coming soon. After leaving Silver Spring, I took my family to the movies. They wanted to see KILL BILL 2. I guess this is a mother's day flick. Anyway, there must have been less than twenty-five people in the theater. I enjoyed the film. If you look pass the violence the humor is well done. I did miss the Crazy 88 from KILL BILL 1. I'm certain somewhere in America there's a street gang with this name. :-(

Well, back to work. Glad the Lakers won today.

Board meeting at the Writer's Center this morning. We have new interim director, Linda Sullivan.
I remember her from the old WPA days downtown.

Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms I know.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Morning run and a trip to the bank. I went down to Cosi and read the Washington Post and NY Times.

What I was telling folks about the treatment of prisoners in "general" appeared in the Times. Where do you think folks get their training from? US prisons of course. See NY Times article "Mistreatment of Prisoners Is Called Routine in US." We have to begin watching the various private contracts we hand over to people outside the military. The issues are always going to be proper training and supervision. We saw the problem with the private construction of prisons in the US. One has the feeling that things are going to get worst in Iraq. I worry about any female US soldier who might be captured during the next few weeks. Some person is going to be made an example of and another family is going to suffer. Look for a war of images to take place during the next two weeks in the media. Positive images of soldiers helping the people of Iraq will be shown to counter the bad news. The only problem might be new prison pictures. If they contain images of women and children being tortured then Bush will have to make changes in his administration. On the otherside of the coin this administration might have to begin pulling Israel "back" from some of its conservative plans. It's the only way to mend the bridges in the Arab world. I can imagine Powell getting tired of trying to put these fires out. Look for Rice to maybe push the door open for the secretary of defense to leave. Folks are running a war and trying to win an election.

Well, I'm still reading poetry books. I went back and started reading (again) Molly Peacock's HOW TO READ A POEM.

I returned home around Noon and got together with Angela and my Goddaughter, Little Lady C. We went to Mayorga Coffee Factory and had lunch. I treated Angela for Mother's Day which is tomorrow.

Later I watched the Orioles beat the Indians on television. Baltimore has a good squad this year. I think they might make it to the playoffs if the pitching remains effective. So far they are getting help from their bullpen.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Another graduation at Howard. I remember the first one I saw back in 1969. I sat on the steps of Cook Hall watching cars filled with students and their parents driving up to the campus. It was my introduction to the black middle class. I'll always be marginal to this world.

In the late afternoon I sat in Cosi ( DuPont Circle). I read the latest issue of HUMANTIES magazine published by NEH. The focus is on Helen Vendler. She just gave the 2004 Jefferson Lecture. In the issue Henri Cole has an essay of appreciation.

I had a conversation with Susan S, a woman I met after Reetika's death. We sat in Cosi talking about the Middle East and other things. I returned a book to her and she gave me a Xerox copy of an interview with Michael Lerner that appeared in The Sun magazine (April 2004).
Lerner represents progressive Judaism; he affirms the rights of the Palestinian people. Here is a link to his Tikkun publication:

A few lines in the interview hit a chord in my head:

"An occupation turns ordinary civilians into terrorists."

"The growth of fundamentalism in the world's religions is in part a distorted response to the distorted reality of globalization. Global capital is not only an economic system; it is a militant religion engaged in a crusade to remake every country in its image."

Tonight I received a call from the poet Alice Lovelace in Atlanta. She is sending me her new CD of poetry and jazz. If you want more info about it then drop me an email.

I wrote a new poem "The Genesis of Torture" while cooking my dinner. I'll place it on my website in a few days.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

I had a morning meeting with Patricia Thomas over at Georgetown University. She is the Senior Associate director of Athletics. Pat gave me a tour of the campus and answered my many questions. She plans to come see my son play basketball this summer.

On the Metro bus to Howard I completed the reading of the manuscript the University Press of America sent to me. I can't recommend it for publication. I emailed my comments to the company office.

Received emails from Ai, Winston Napier and a few other friends this afternoon.

Tomorrow I plan to clean the front desk of the Resource Center; discard some items. The end of another semester. Graduation is Saturday. August Wilson will be receiving an honorary degree. That's good news from the front.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Early breakfast with Naomi Ayala. I gave her some Mark Strand books for her Bennington work.
She gave me a copy of Espada's POETRY LIKE BREAD anthology. Later in the day I gave it to an exchange student from MIT who did a semester at Howard. Everyone should have poetry in their lives.

I spent the day reading the work in my bag and getting correspondence out. I talked with a couple of students. Folks have been dropping by for advice and career ideas.

I went into the Founders Library stacks and found some copies of books by Frederick Busch. He is going to be an associate faculty member at Bennington in June. I read his short story "The Settlement of Mars" which can be found in THE LATE AMERICAN BOYHOOD BLUES. I liked the father/son relationship and how the small boy discovers the joy of reading comics.

My son called me at work and invited me to join him on the basketball court around 6PM. I hadn't been out on the court for several months. My legs feel good from running every day. I helped my son get his practice in. We played one game of 10. He watched me make nine baskets before he decided to really play. I lost the game. He scored 10 quick baskets against me. I went home and cooked dinner. My catfish is better than my game.

I looked at a short three minute sample reel filmmaker Joel Katz sent me. He is doing a documentary on whiteness. The title is WHITE:A STUDY IN COLOR.
I'll email my comments back to him tonight or tomorrow.

I just read Sam Hamod's comments on the Iraq situation. Sam's always on the case. It seems like only yesterday we were leaving Howard to go pick-up my children from the Owl School.
My kids are older and the world is...

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

I wrote my parent statement for my son's college packet. I wanted to slip a poem in...

Yesterday evening on the way home from Howard I saw my friend Roy McKay. I got in his car and we drove to Silver Spring and had dinner at Vicino Ristorante Italiano (located at 959 Sligo Avenue). We met Roy's friend Tina there. Vicino is a nice place. It's an Italian restaurant run by a guy from Ghana. Go figure. Anyway the food is very good. Roy is always finding places to eat on side streets.

I watched Alicia Keys on the Leno show last night. Why did I have to suffer through Rosie Perez? Ugh. Where's Mookie?
Talking about Mookie, the Black Camera newsletter published by the Indiana University Department of African American and African Disaspora Studies has an interview with Spike Lee. Visit the Black Film Center at:

I completed my essay for Peter Davis (The Barnwood Press Project) on the books I think are essential to my development as a writer.

Monday, May 03, 2004

Breakfast downtown with Suheir Hammad at the Hilton Garden Hotel on 14th Street. A pleasant surprise was that AJ was there too. He had just met Suheir the day before. AJ is a young man who works for DC Council member Fenty of Ward 4.
I met AJ when he was participating in Operation Understanding. That's the organization that brings young African Americans and Jewish people together. My daughter participated one year. AJ is a graduate of Williams College. About four years ago he was a student there and invited me to give a lecture.

It was good to see Suheir. Beau Sia another member of the cast of Def Poetry Jam was wandering around looking for food.
The buffet wasn't bad. Suheir, AJ and I talked about DC water, local politics and cultural stuff. I gave Suheir a Washington Post review of the Diego Rivera exhibit at the National Gallery of Art. I also handed her a copy of the latest issue of Poet Lore.

Rain. Cool temperature. I took the Metro to Howard. Graduation is almost here. Chairs being placed on the main campus, tents going up. I heard that August Wilson is receving an honorary degree. Congrats to him. Wilson is my favorite writer.
The last play of his I saw was Jitney when I was in Dayton, Ohio. Was that last year? Whew...time goes by so fast.

I talked with Naomi this afteroon. I'm checking out of the HU Library, for her, a few Mark Strand books. The HU library has a really good collection of books by (and about) contemporary poets.
I spent the early morning watching BIG FISH on my computer. It reminded me of the Achebe's statement which shapes the exhibit I'm working on. ALL THE STORIES ARE TRUE. It's difficult to determine what is and isn't true. We become the stories we wish to live.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Morning visit with poet Naomi Ayala. She's one of the few DC writers I see on a regular basis. We talked about writing and Bennington.

I walked from Naomi's apartment in Adams Morgan to DuPont Circle. The WPFW Book Club selected my new collection of poems for discussion. The program was held at the Provisions Library. Josephine Reed conducted the interview with me, requested that I read a few poems, and then took questions from the audience. We had a good turnout. One person who walked in and surprised me was George Haley. He came with his wife.
George is Alex Haley's brother and a former US Ambassador. It was good to see him again. I think the last time we talked was back in 1997 when I placed 12 African American writers on postage stamps issued by Ghana and Uganda. Haley was very supportive of the project.

I came home in time to watch the Lakers lose to the Spurs. :-( Well, it's just one game. Gary Payton needs to tie his sneakers and find his game. The key to this series is going to be Parker's play at point guard. He might just take it to the Lakers. Payton is beginning to show his age.

I went up to Kinko's and got some new business cards made. I'm getting ready for the second half of the year.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Friday. I left for New York for my book party at the Bowery Poetry Club. I had company on the train.
My buddy Bev had a meeting in New York. so we coordinated our schedules. Bev slept until we reached Philadelphia. I read Doreen Baingana's manuscript. She's a new writer making a good name for herself. Her first book will be coming out soon. Doreen's stories are set in Uganda, which is where she is from. I'm working on a blurb.
When I arrived in New York, I took Bev downtown for lunch with my mom. It was good to see her again. She's doing well after difficult times last year. My mom loves company and Bev loves to talk and laugh. It was a nice afternoon. After Bev left for her midtown business meeting I got dressed for my book party.

The evening weather was nice so I stood in front of the Bowery Poetry Club talking with Anastasios Kozaitis about fatherhood.We were soon joined by Liam Rector, my "leader" and director of the Bennington Writing Seminars. Other folks who arrived for the book party were my sister, several cousins from Brooklyn, poets Steve Cannon, and David Henderson. Susann Thomas my dearest friend arrived as did her sister Judy. Susann had every book I wrote in her purse. My book SEASON OF HUNGER/CRY OF RAIN was dedicated to her.

Also attending the book party was the visual artist Elana Gutmann. We first met at the Washington Arts Club, where she had an exhibit. Thanks for Bob Holman for putting this event together with Curbstone Press. I shared the evening with devorah majors whose work is also published by Curbstone Press.

After the reading I had dinner with Adrienne Ingrum and Elana. Ingrum is always working on several literary usual we argued about literature. The food at the Cuban restaurant saved the evening. Well, maybe this is what you're suppose to do in Greenwich Village...discuss art and eat. I went home to my mom's before the night ended.

This morning I had breakfast with Elana. We met at a small cafe near Prince and Mott Streets.
The food was excellent. Elana and I then walked around looking in store windows. We found a nice park and sat down to talk for about an hour.

Around Noon I went back to my mom's house and said good-bye...caught the Amtrak back to D.C. Yes, I'm still reading the Clarence Major novel.

When I arrived home there was a copy of a new anthology that includes my work. The title is SHEETS FOR MEN ONLY/INTERNATIONAL ANTHOLOGY OF POETRY AND PROSE edited by Lois Claire Kincannon. The book features the work 25 men from 14 different countries. You can obtain more information about the book by going to Kincannon's website:

Tomorrow I'll be meeting with the WPFW book club at the Provisions Library at 2PM. They will be discussing my new book of poems. Maybe I'll say something...