Monday, January 31, 2005

My personal progressive agenda. Here is what I believe in and try to struggle for:

1. Tolerance (respect and understanding) for people who are different
2. More involvement of the Federal Government in helping to protect our basic rights
3. Separation of church and state
4. Combating poverty and homelessness
5. Free Healthcare
6. Support for public libraries
7. Government support for the arts and humanities
8. Increased funding for scientific research
9. Improvement and upgrading of public transportation systems
10.A strong and active UN
I spent a wonderful afternoon at my Center talking with Rose Berger. She's the poetry editor for Sojourners magazine. We talked about writing, getting that first book out, and IPS/Sojourner stuff.

I met my friend Susan at a Silver Spring cafe and we discussed the first three chapters of a novel she is working on.

I came home and immediately took a nap. Afterwards I read a few more pages of THE KNOWN WORLD.

Oh...I've been telling folks to watch the quick arrival of robots. Today in the NY Times there was a picture of AIBO. :-) Aibo the entertainmnet robot created by SONY.
I attended the press conference held by The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) in the Blackburn Center at Howard University.
An ASALH chapter (The Capstone) was just started at Howard.ASALH was founded on Spetember 9, 1915 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson. Dr. Woodson was the founder of Negro History Week which is now Black History Month. Each year ASALH establishes the theme for the month of February. The Black History Theme for 2005 is "The Niagara Movement:
Black Protest Reborn 1905-2005."

For more information visit website:

On Howard's campus there will be a Black History Month Luncheon on February 26, 2005 at 1PM in the Blackburn Center Ballroom.

I agreed to be an advisor to the ASALH Chapter.

Fidel Castro documentary is on PBS tonight. Checkout the American Experience.

Another Obit: Lucien Carr (Beat Generation) died at 79
See New York Times (1/30/05).

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Denzil Washington will be playing Julius Caesar starting March 8th at the Belasco Theatre in New York (111 W. 44th Street).
212 239-6200/800-432-7250.

We had the William Stafford program at the Writer's Center this afternoon. A small audience because of the snow. I read and talked about Stafford along with poets Laura Fargas and Judith McCombs.
The two Stafford poems I read were "Looking across the River" and "Serving with Gideon."

- William Stafford

For additional information about Stafford go to the following site:

The Friends of William Stafford
P.O.Box 592
Lake Oswego, Oregon 97034
So folks are talking about Barbara Boxer for President in 2008. Not a bad choice. The Dems need someone who begins with a large number of Electoral College votes.
Can Boxer win her home state in a National election? Could she make it through the Democratic primaries? Some candidates peak too soon. I think this happened to Bill Bradley. I believe the Dems have to cut into the South if they are going to recapture the White House. It's also not about winning elections. What do the Dems plan to do if they retake power? Where are the alternative programs? How would the Dems handle terrorism? The budget? What is the Dem vision for America? The world?
We might know what we are against - but what do we stand for? How do we get there without setbacks? How do we build a consensus? Leadership is about undertaking bold initiatives and pulling people together to support your programs or plans.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

I had a nice time at the AU Conference on Poetry and Psychoanalysis. I met my friend Wendy there and we listened to Alicia Ostriker read poems and talk about writing. Many people in the audience recognized Wendy from television and so they wanted to talk with her. She was very gracious...

There is a nice article about Sonia Sanchez in today's New York Times.

2 Questions for today:
If you have your own blog are you a journalist?
Is democracy just about elections and voting?

Well my son's team suffered another loss. This one really hurt. The team is not playing well. My son had 5 pts. I don't think anyone had double figures. It's like writing when the poem looks back at you on the page and talks to someone else.

Yesterday I talked to Ahmos. He is still in the hospital. He is a fighter...I'm praying that this guy a, fantastic storyteller, is just weaving another tale. I can see him writing something in a few weeks about how he discovered death was a woman he once dated.

Received a note from Annie Finch. She is the director for the Stonecast Low-Residency at the University of Southern Maine. Go Annie Go.

I'm heading over to American University this afternoon for the Poetry and Psychoanalysis conference. It will be good to listen to Alicia Ostriker. I received a nice card from her last week.

" A writer, I think, is someone who pays attention to the world. That means trying to understand, take in, connect with, what wickedness human beings are capable of; and not be corrupted - made cynical, superficial - by this understanding."
- Susan Sontag

"Keep your karma/in good working order:many dragons lie in wait."
Wang Wei (701-761)

The John Legend CD is not a bad investment. I'm 54, should my music money be going into social security?

Friday, January 28, 2005

I watched THE QUIET AMERICAN on DVD last night. Excellent. I like watching films on my computer. I find myself paying more attention to details.

Thanks to Don Mee I'm reading Susan Sontag's Friedenspreis Acceptance Speech - Literature is Freedom. I believe it was given in 2004.

I have a small pile of things to process that's on my desk here at Howard. I'll spend the morning emptying the inbox.

My son has a game this evening. His team can't afford to lose anymore games. They are 11-6 and no longer ranked in the top 20 local area list.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

So the President invites 22 black business and religious leaders so the White House...

"He encouraged them to back his plan to allow workers to divert part of their Social Security tax to individual investment accounts. White House officials say the idea should appeal to blacks because they have a shorter average life span than whites and end up putting more money into the retirement system than they take out."
- New York Times, January 27, 2005

Living longer apppeals to me more...
I faxed a letter (to Chicago) of support for an American Library Association project. I spoke with Bridget at Vertigo and we plan to do a "Muse to Muse" program at the store on April 30th at 1:30 PM. This is the new series I created last year. It started as a partnership with libraries. I think independent bookstores will be a good venue too. The central part of MUSE TO MUSE is the 20 minute "craft" interview I conduct with the writer. Q&A from the audience follows.

Don Mee sent me 2 new books and a journal:
SUSAN SONTAG: The Friedenspreis Acceptance Speech
Bamboo Ridge Magazine- 25th Anniversary.
The months and the years, a running river:
Then there's the day you wake up old.

- Han Shan
(8th Century)

A good poem says more than the sum of its words, leading the reader into the practice of understanding the great unsaid that is contained, framed in poem's rhythms, words, and silences. In these ways, poetry opens the mind.
- Sam Hamill from THE POETRY OF ZEN.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The days are too short and then we die. I went to the dentist this morning. I also went to a meeting at the King Library. We are in the middle of planning a big celebration for National Poetry Month for Saturday, April 23rd. Yes, there will be balloons and books available.

While in the King Library I obtained a new library card. I borrowed a couple of books. One was THE POETRY OF ZEN by Sam Hamill & J.P. Seaton.

Around 1PM I met Libbie (from the Folger) for lunch in Chinatown. We met at what I guess is our special restaurant. Libbie has done an outstanding job running the poetry series at the Folger for the last five years. We often get together just to chat and laugh...

Back at Howard I met with AJ and Harold Burke. AJ was up in the center looking for bio information about Sterling Brown. He is establishing a book prize in Sterling's name at Dunbar High School. Burke and I worked together many years ago with the Institute for the Arts & Humanities. We were the guys carrying that heavy video equipment during the 1970s and 1980s. We were recording black history. Back in 1974 we made the trip to Tanzania and video taped the entire 6th Pan African Congress.

During the evening I spoke with Don Schanche,Jr a reporter with The Macon Telegraph in Georgia. He is working on an article about the novelist John Oliver Killens. It should be published next week.

I sat in the car late tonight with my son...he had a flat in Rockville, MD. We had a good talk while waiting for AAA. New tires to buy tomorrow.

I received Wayne Karlin's memoir from Curbstone Press. The title is WAR MOVIES: JOURNEYS TO VIETNAM: Scenes and Out-takes. I'll see Wayne in March when I give a reading at St.Mary's College.

My next reading is Sunday, January 30th at the Writer's Center. It's a tribute to the poet William Stafford. I'll be reading with Laura Fargas and Judith McCombs.
The reading is at 1PM The Center is located at 4508 Walsh Street in Bethesda.
For info call: 301 654-8664.

I was reading "China's Computer Wasteland" in the January issue of The Progressive magazine. The US exported more than $1 billion worth of electronic waste to China last year. There are many deadly toxins released when computers are destroyed.

I attended a DC Arts Commission meeting. One exciting new project is the upgrading of alley garages for studio rental by artists. This is an idea I had for many years for the garage behind my house. It would be a nice place for small readings in the summer.

Monday, January 24, 2005

I just typed a few new poems to send to The Saranac Review in Plattsburgh. The poetry editor had requested some work while I was at Bennington.

February is filling up with a number of programs...tributes to Dick Barnet and James Forman. I'll be pulling together a meeting with members of the Muslim community and IPS near the end of February.

This afternoon I met with Barbara Spencer Dunn who works for The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). This is the organization founded by Carter G. Woodson. Dunn is trying to get a chapter of the organization started on Howard's campus. I gave her a few ideas...

I received a note from The Pilgrim Press. Nancy James book STANDING IN THE WHIRLWIND is out. I wrote a book blub for it.

I learned today that poet Ahmos Zu-Bolton has been in the hospital here in DC for the last few weeks. His daughter dropped by my office and told me. I'll check on the poet Zu tomorrow and see if the guy is still telling stories.

I finally found my James Forman file. I started exchanging letters with him back in 1978. He was living in Ithaca, New York at the time. I had formed the Committee to Promote the Sale of The Making of Black Revolutionaries. Going through my Forman file I even found a letter from Julian Bond. Here is what Bond said about Forman's book:

"James Forman's THE MAKING OF BLACK REVOLUTIONARIES is a classic, a personal, no holds barred inside look at the civil rights movement. Written by an insider, it offers an invaluable look at the politics and the personalities that shaped the movement and continue to shape American life."
I've been telling folks to watch for the impact of robots on our society within the next 5-10 years. And you think almost everyone has a cellphone...wait until you see what's coming.
Today it was reported that the Army is getting ready to send 18 Robo-Soldiers to Iraq in either March or April. We might be a few years away from keeping a significant number of soldiers out of harms way. How might this change our foreign policy? Will we be more willing to use military force if we are using robots? I see robots playing a key role in caring for the elderly. Look for robotic companions for seniors before this decade ends. People won't have to wait for their kids to decide to visit them. Think about a robot reading to someone who is blind, or playing checkers and chess. These will be simple functions but will open the door to what we once thought was sci-fi.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

New England baby...SuperBowl bound.
I've been telling folks all year that the rookie QB in Pittsburgh would not get the job done. I saw his weakness against the Washington Redskins.
Vick looked lost today. Folks should hide those Vick jerseys tomorrow. Put them on the Kobe rack. Brady is the best QB in football right now. He has Montana cool.
I'm happy for Donovan to be playing in the SuperBowl too.

I rested this weekend. I have 2 meetings tomorrow on the HU campus.
So I watched two bad movies last night: Cellular and CatWoman. Why did Halle make that flick? Not even Eartha Kitt was this bad in the television Batman.

The 10th Anniversary of the Million Man March is going to take place on October
16th, in Washington, DC. I contributed an essay to the book MILLION MAN MARCH/DAY OF ABSENCE (A Commemorative Anthology) edited by Haki R. Madhubuti and Maulana Karenga.
This book was published by Third World Press.
Here is an excerpt from what I wrote:

"I flew back from Nashville in order to attend the March. My plan was to take only my son Nyere. However, my daughter Jasmine-Simone insisted she was going. Only 13, she has her mother's personality. I was very happy to observe my daughter's concern. She found the decision for women to stay home unacceptable. In many ways it went against the beliefs I have held and supported most of my life. My wife's decision to stay home was not political. She dislikes crowds. The last event we attended together might have been the Jackson Victory Tour at RFK stadium several years ago.

I called my friend James Early and we decided to make the trip to the Mall together. James was bringing his son and Howard Dodson was visiting from New we had a nice entourage. Leaving my house around ten o'clock in the morning we stood waiting on 16th Street near Malcolm X Park for the downtown bus. The streets were
filled with brothers walking in small groups, everyone who passed us spoke or nodded. It has been a long time since you could feel so much energy in the air. I recall the day after the Mt. Pleasant riot in Washington, and how neighbors began to talk to each other. Trying to pull together as a community. That took place in the late 1980s. Now here was a day beginning with so much positive energy."

Saturday, January 22, 2005

My son's team suffered another loss last night. 47-46. They are playing without one of their key players. My son led his team with 16 pts. They are going to slip in the local area ranking. Right now they are 13th with a 11-6 record. Two of the loses were against DeMatha. DeMatha is 14-1 and ranked 14th in the nation. The assistant coach from Widener University attended the game. The school is high on my son's list because it's a small college with a good academic program. It's also a school that has been interested in him for a long time. If he decides to join the program he will probably get a good amount of playing time as a freshman. Howard is also in the picture.

I had a Poet Lore meeting at Cosi (DuPont Circle) with fellow editors Rick and Jody.
We need to find ways to get more support for the publication. Please get a subscription when you can. Visit website:

I went by the record story and purchased a copy of UNFORGIVABLE BLACKNESS. It's the music Marsalis composed for the documentary produced by Ken Burns.

I'll spend the next few hours getting my upstairs office in order. Whew...

Friday, January 21, 2005

A quote from yesterday:

"And our country must abandon all the habits of racism because we cannot carry the message of freedom and the baggage of bigotry at the same time."
- President Bush
Inaugural Address 2005
We had a good IPS meeting this morning. Good board involvment...

I'll be appearing on the Diane Rehm Show (NPR) on February 16th. I will be discussing THE KNOWN WORLD by Edward Jones.

My son has a game tonight at Gonzaga at 7:30 PM.
My next television interview will be with Roger Wilkins. We will do the show in April. I'll start doing my research in March.

Take New England and Atlanta this weekend. Another SuperBowl for NE? It looks that way.

Look for Ichiro to hit 400 this year. Yes...let's talk baseball.
Oh, don't forget about the Hockey strike. Replacement players next season. :-(

Oscar night will find Chris Rock making a political statement that will be a point of discussion for midnight television shows and op-ed remarks. Jamie Foxx better win on February 27th.

So much for calling the future. I'm also looking for my son to have a big game tonight. Showtime again like when he led his JV team to a 27-0 season. You can feel it like a storm coming in.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

It was good to sleep late today. I spent much of the day reading Poet Lore packets.
I have a Saturday meeting with Rick and Jody. I received some good invitations the last two days. One was an invite back to the Vermont Studio Center in 2006.

I wrote the poem "Driving Lessons" today. I sent it to a couple of friends for feedback. I'll send it out for publication next week.

This evening Bev and I went to the Provision Library and saw the film BROTHER OUTSIDER: THE LIFE OF BAYARD RUSTIN. More people should know about Rustin's importance to the Civil Rights Movement. Here was a man outspoken, gay, and visionary.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

I had 2 meetings at IPS this morning. Many good things happening with the organization. By the time I left the snow was coming down and everyone was struggling to get home. I had a quick lunch at a Cosi on 14th Street. I caught the first bus heading North and it was my luck that it only went to 14th and Colorado. This meant I had to walk quite a number of blocs before I arrived home. The snow had really accumulated in front of the house. I had to get a shovel and clear a path...
My son was upstairs but complained about his bad back. So I had all the snow to myself. I was also waiting for Sarah B. to come and take me to Karibu books for my poetry reading. While I was getting my books in order a friend of my wife rang the doorbell and informed us that she was locked out of her car. My wife called AAA for assistance. Well, with the storm who's going to answer. I took the hanger from the woman and said I would go around the corner and open the car door. My wife had that sure you do that but I'm calling AAA. It took me about 15 minutes to get the car door open. I returned to the house and my wife did'nt say much. At Karibu I had fun with the staff and puchased a hardback copy of ALL OF US BY Raymond Carver. I also purchased a CD (Get Lifted) by John Legend.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Good basketball game this evening. My son's team won, so they are now 11-5. Two of their loses have been against DeMatha. DeMatha is ranked 14th in the country right now. My son had 12 pts this evening.

Tomorrow a couple of IPS meetings.
I have a poetry reading at Karibu Books in the evening.
I watched "Unforgivable Blackness" and was knocked down by Jack Johnson's remark about why white woman were attracted to black men. Johnson's comment was, "We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." I found this statement to be a very Modernist response. It has a Stein poetic quality. Johnson was a New Negro as much as Jean Toomer. Johnson's response is sexual, mystical, personal and profound. The definition of soul (blackness) has a direct relationship to thinking distant thoughts.I like how "elastic" the line is. It links the exotic with the mind. The man had "taste" which is why he was always so cool - even in the ring. I think even Stanley Crouch (in the documentary) missed the beauty of what Johnson was saying. Jack Johnson changed the world as the world was changing. Not too many people can do that. Atlas could only hold it up.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Today feels like the beginning of the year for me. I just got back from Vermont.
I outlined what I had to do while flying back. I feel like John Glenn. This is what's going on this evening:

1. Sort and answer a large pile of mail.
2. Wash clothes from trip.
3. Pay bills.
4. Read about 4 Poet Lore packets.
5. Get three IRS folders in order for taxes (April will be here soon).
6. Read my IPS reports and get ready for upcoming board meeting.
7. Prepare for poetry reading at Karibu books.
8. Watch the Jack Johnson PBS film. A Ken Burns production on television.
9. Finish reading Bill Moyer's book

The mail contained a few new books. Here are titles you might want to checkout:

THE SUBSEQUENT BLUES by Gary Copeland Lilley. Published by Four Ways Books ( Gary is living in Chicago. He was a longtime resident of DC.
A founding member of the Black Rooster Collective. Gary is a Warren Wilson man. He obtained his degree in 2002. This is a good book...I made the following comments on the back:

"Gary Copeland Lilley writes like a man who owns a Stetson hat. Is he Stagolee? THE SUBSEQUENT BLUES is a book filled with a sinner's honesty. Lilley captures life with all its blue tones and shades. From cigarette smoke, to drinks and drugs, a few of the poems are as seductive as a woman's thighs. Lilley has seen enough bad times and death that each poem he writes has that flicker of light we once called soul. Put this book in your mojo bag.

A second book in the mail was THE HABIT OF FIRE by Judith McCombs. We've published a few of her poems in Poet Lore. Judith teaches at the Writer's Center in Bethesda, Maryland and coordinates the Kensington Row Bookshop poetry readings.

I also received a chapbook from William Tecku out in Arizona. The title is MORNING STORIES.

Other mattters:
Memorial service for Richard Barnet, Co-founder, Institute for Policy Studies, will be held on Saturday, February 5, 2005, at 3:00 PM at the Kay Spiritual Life Center,
American University, 4400 Massachusetts Ave, NW. RSVP 202 234-9382.
Tributes to Barnet can be read by going to:

Spring Jazz Schedule: Montpelier Jazz Series, Montpelier Cultural Arts Center
12826 Laurel-Bowie Road, Laurel, Maryland 20708
April 29th.
Charles Covington Trio
Poetry by E. Ethelbert Miller

Sunday, January 16, 2005

I have my last workshop this morning at 10AM. I completed the packing of my I'm ready for tomorrow's departure at 8AM.
It will probably take me 2-3 days to get things back on track when I return to Washington. I have a number of upcoming meetings and projects to coordinate.
I used this last residency at Bennington to discard old clothes. So my bags have more room to breathe. I hope to purchase new shirts and sweaters when I get back home.
I used my time in Vermont to reflect on my life and the things I'm doing. I try to keep the blues at the door but it's difficult. Too often the loneliness creeps in and I wonder why I'm always the person sitting off in the corner by myself. I seldom get calls from home while I'm here, so I have no idea what's going on back in DC. I guess what really matters is this moment. I'm going outside now to look at the sky. There must be life on other planets.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

OK. I have a "free" afternoon here at Bennington. Last night my friend Roy M. called and said the NBC news segment of Wednesday's Child was aired. That's the program I did with Barbara Harrison before I left DC. Wendy R. sent me an email today and said it went well.

In other news...
I'll be one of the final judges of the SPEAKEASY PRIZE IN POETRY & PROSE awarded by The Loft Literary Center in MN.
For information and applications visit the following site:
The deadline is April 30th.

"To affect the quality of the day, is the highest of the arts"
- Henry Thoreau

"If you think something will happen, it never will.
If you think it never will happen, it will."
- Buddhist thought.

I went to the Bennington Bookstore and purchased a copy of CLAIMS FOR POETRY edited by Donald Hall. It looks like a good tool for the upcoming term.

I have just two more workshops to do here. I thought my reading last night went well. I included in my presentation work by James Tate, Naomi Ayala and Thomas Sayers Ellis.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

A couple of good graduate lectures this morning by Matthew Debenham and Patricia Hohl. It was followed by Donald Hall giving a talk on Ezra Pound.

I got Timothy Liu to sign a copy of his latest book - OF THEE I SING. It was published last year by The University of Georgia Press. Read, "Monologue With The Void" and "Tenderness In A Dark Age."

I'm heading back to my room this afternoon to read and relax. Tonight is Dark Night. I have a poetry reading to give tomorrow evening.

Another Bennington graduation in a few years...

Monday, January 10, 2005

During my first day of Bennington workshops I asked students to recommend writers they enjoyed reading. Here are a few books they mentioned:

RAIN OF GOLD by Victor Villasenor
EVIL CORN by Adrian Lewis
PERFUME by Patrick Susking
KINKY by Denise Duhamel

Lindsley Cameron gave her graduate lecture this morning on the work of Natsume that's another name to add to the list.

"It's hard to imagine how unremembered we all become,
How quickly all that we've done
Is unremembered and unforgiven,
how quickly
Bog lilies and yellow clover flashlight our footfalls,
How quickly and finally the landscape subsumes us,
And everything that we are becomes what we are not."

- Charles Wright


establish experiment
epiphany edition effectiveness
empathy enjamb
ment enigma echo
epimone epimone

envelope epigram
epistle episode

- E. Ethelbert Miller

What is the Bennnington day? Morning lectures,afternoon workshops and evening readings.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

What day is it? It's difficult to tell with readings and lectures everyday. Well, that's the Bennington experience. The sun is out after a snowfall that dropped about 8 inches.
Last night Timothy Liu gave a reading that I enjoyed. This morning the Neruda tribute that I organized was well received by folks. I invited Leslie McGrath, Jeremy Voigt, and Naomi Ayala to read and talk about Neruda's work. I loved listening to Naomi read Neruda's work in Spanish.

My workshop is going well. Good students.

I've been keeping up with my email so that I don't fall behind corresponding with folks. I'll have a number of meetings to go to when I return to Washington.

I miss my sports. I know my son's team lost to DeMatha on Friday. That means their record is now 9-4.

I plan to plug back into the NFL as soon as get back to DC. Oh please- can someone change the awful logo design on those Washington National caps? I don't expect the team to be that please let the players dress well.

I have some interesting information I'll begin to post in future E-Notes.

Martin Luther King's birthday is coming up. Let's keep James Forman (who is very ill) in our prayers. His book THE MAKING OF BLACK REVOLUTIONARIES is still one of the best books about the Civil Rights Movement.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Well I made it to Bennington. Good news is that I have a nice apartment this time and not a dorm room. I also have plenty of light. I need that. Now the bad news...
It looks like I won't be able to access my email. I'm having problems gaining access to my AOL account. Whew..this could be a problem. My cell phone is working so I have a lifeboat.

The flight from National Airport to Albany was nice. I spent about an hour (in the airport) talking to a young woman from Ghana. She was heading back to Maine where she attends college. We talked about political and cultural issues affecting the continent.

Things at Bennington will begin tomorrow. I'll use this afternoon and evening to relax and spend time with friends.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

So you're probably wondering about the game...
It was fantastic. Showtime for my son. He had 18 pts. His team defeated St. John. They are now 9-3.

I spent the early afternoon talking about world events with my buddy Bev. Tomorrow is Julia G's birthday! Happy Birthday JULIA!

Monday, January 03, 2005

So I'm packed and ready to depart. But not before the big game on Tuesday night. It's Gonzaga against St. John at(Gonzaga). My son has many of his friends from his old school coming to the game. It should be fun time. Tomorrow starts the real season...
If you plan to attend come early because there will be a crowd.

A busy morning. A conference call with John to discuss matters at IPS. Michon came by the house to drop off the Ira Berlin tape. I'll view it and write an intro to be recorded later this month. Around Noon Barbara H came by the house to shoot an upcoming edition of Wednesday's Child. It's a popular news segment on channel 4. The program showcases the work and interests of foster children. One of the children they plan to highlight on a future show writes poetry. Barbara H thought it would be a good idea to have the child visit a real writer. So I guess that's me. It was a fun program to do. I gave the young man a leather notebook so he could write more poems and have a place to put them. Barbara is doing wonderful work with her show.

I mailed a number of things at the HU post office including a package to Julia Wright. It's been good getting emails at the beginning of the year...folks connecting again. Today I heard back from Jon Peede at NEA . Jon organized the Operation Homecoming trip I made to Italy back in September. I'll be showing tapes of my overseas workshop during the Bennington residency.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

According to an article in the Washington Post today there are a number of cities around the world that are vulnerable if a natural disaster strikes. These cities sit on faults and flood plains.
In many of these cities the poor will suffer the most because of their living conditions.
Here are the cities that might be in the headlines sometime during our lifetime:

Mexico City
Guatemala City
I started packing for Bennington. I pulled a few books to take...
THIS ART: POEMS ABOUT POETRY edited by Michael Wiegers. I open it and there is Reetika's name. I forgot she had given it to me when we were at Bennington together. "For Ethelbert - Your Pal." In the table of contents she circled the title of the poem she had in the book. "Dedicated To You" is on page 72.

"It is the thing you do open a book
by someone you like who never knew you
you leaf through to see
which words are dedicated to you
What gives you this posthumous feeling
Well you like his work and want your name in it..."

By coincidence the poem before Reetika's is by Pablo Neruda. The title is "Still Another Day #XXVIII."

"I die with each wave each day.
I die with each day in each wave
But the day does not die -
not ever.
It does not die.
And the wave?
It does not die.


Another year and I miss you Reetika...

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Today was like Spring. I walked from my house to Silver Spring, Maryland. Walking in sunshine. I sat for a short time in the Starbucks near the Metro stop. I read a few poems in Philip Levine's BREATH.

Another Obit. Peter Davison died on Wednesday. He was a poet and for many years the poetry editor at Atlantic Monthly. I met Davison many years ago when we sat together on a Yaddo Admission committee. It was fun reading applications with him. I think we only agreed on one writer. The guy had opinions and I respected them. Davison will be missed. See today's New York Times page A12.
I must be missing something...
The President is sending Powell and Jeb Bush to the area hit by the tsunami. The news says the President's brother is being sent because he has extensive hurricane experience. Well, the last time I looked Florida was still part of the US. This recent tragedy is far beyond what a hurricane would do. Parts of the world is gone taking its residents too. We need to send science fiction writers and movie directors to Asia just to help our imaginations comprehend what's going on.
Maybe we should stop the war and move our troops to this new battlefield. What will be the emotional and mental damage to the survivors months and years from now? What if the tsunami refuses to go away like our idea of permanent war? I've always felt that living in DC was Ground ZERO. If a nuclear bomb was dropped and destroyed the area I have a feeling that folks in California would watch their televisions for a few days. After about a week they would get tired of the story. It would disappear from the media. Maybe someone at a California beach might tie a yellow (or some other color) ribbon around their bikini. People would go on with living and doing what they do. Thousands and thousands of people have no home and I've been cleaning my office the last two days. I've been throwing away things while others have been looking for something to own.

you are not
your brothers keeper
you are
your brother
- Lucille Clifton

Poems are hard to read
Pictures are hard to see
Music is hard to hear
And people are hard to love

- William Meredith
what is not lost
is paradise

- Lucille Clifton
New Year. I'm home alone listening to Miles. That's my life. Maybe there's nothing after Miles.