Monday, December 31, 2007


Happy New Year from Beltway Poetry Quarterly!

We begin 2008 with a rousing new issue of the journal, celebrating political poetry "borne out of a hunger." The Split This Rock Issue features seventeen poets who are participating in the upcoming festival of the same name, either as organizers or readers.

As co-editor Regie Cabico writes in his introduction, these poets sing "about gentrification, pop culture, immigration, war, heritage, disability, history and American iconography" to create a home "in the gut of a government that should hear, swallow, and ingest verses of provocation and witness."

Split This Rock Poetry Festival will take place in Washington, DC March 20-23, 2008. In addition to Beltway Poetry Quarterly, other co-sponsoring organizations include the Institute for Policy Studies, Sol and Soul, The White Crane Institute, Washington Friends of Walt Whitman, and Beloit Poetry Journal.

The Split This Rock Issue of Beltway Poetry Quarterly features poems by the following authors:

Winona Addison * Naomi Ayala * Sarah Browning * Grace Cavalieri * Teri Ellen Cross * Heather Davis * Joel Dias-Porter * Yael Flusberg * Brian Gilmore * E. Ethelbert Miller * Princess of Controversy * Tanya Snyder * Susan Tichey * Melissa Tuckey * Dan Vera * Rosemary Winslow * Kathi Wolfe

The Split This Rock Issue (Volume 9, Number 1), is co-edited by Regie Cabico and Kim Roberts. The issue is available online now at:
So, you won't get to vote in the Iowa primary?

The University of Iowa Summer Writing Festival
June 8 through July 25, 2008

A short term, noncredit writing program for adults. The Festival offers 130 workshops across the genres...

Week-long workshops: $500-$525.
Weekend workshops: $250
Housing is available in local hotels and B&B's.

Webpage: Available in mid-February.


Phone: 319 335-4160
Here is a link to my interview with Rose Berger and Joseph Ross. They are editors of CUT LOOSE THE BODY: AN ANTHOLOGY OF POEMS ON TORTURE AND FERNANDO BOTERO'S ABU GHRAIB PAINTINGS.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Quote of the Day:

The day may come when nothing that is said online will be treated as embarrassing because we will have become accustomed to everyone disclosing everything.

- Randall Stross
Chakalates anyone?

What is Michael Bloomberg really up to?

Kenya in the news too. Another failed society? One thing almost every "upset" nation has are men in streets. Guys running around with sticks, throwing rocks, burning cars and just making a merry mess of things. LORD OF THE FLIES? Golding's book might be a good read about now. How many of us still have faith in our fellow man? Without law and order we seem to fall back into a form of barbarism. Where are the women? Too often we know that they are being abused behind closed doors - so the violence we see never sleeps.
Just Ethelbert thinking aloud again:

John Edwards and Bill Bradley

Possible Democratic Ticket in 2008?
How do we stop this (s)tuff from spreading?

Please read George F. Will's column in today's Washington Post. Here is the opening paragraph:

America's foremost black intellectual has published a slender book about the most interesting presidential candidacy since 1980. Shelby Steele's characteristically subtle argument is ultimately unconvincing because he fundamentally misreads Barack Obama. Nevertheless, so fecund is Steele's mind, he illuminates the racial landscape that Obama might transform.

So what's upsetting about the above statement? A couple of things. Who said Steele was America's foremost black intellectual? Steele is simply a black conservative darling. Nothing wrong with that - but one bird does not speak for the flock. Especially when this bird needs to straighten up and fly right. (Hmmm). But notice how Will immediately challenges the "thinking" of the foremost black intellectual. He accuses Steele of "fundamentally" misreading Barack Obama. So much for the best black minds of our generation. Steele's "fecund" mind might only be good and fertile enough to pick cotton.

Still, look for Will's column to draw attention to Shelby Steele's slender book everyone was not reading. Will- will push Steele into NPR radio conversations and numerous other silly discussions about race and Obama. Where there is a Will there will be a way.We might even see a few spring conferences springing up around the country. Stay away from these gatherings. They will be nothing short of Steele bashing and academic papers on deconstructing race and blah, blah theories that will often quote DuBois and maybe a French intellectual or two. No black "theory" has a base unless its rooted in a language other than English. Oh, and everyone will be talking about what Obama means or represents. Do people actually listen to what the guy is saying??? Or not saying?

Here is Will near the end of his essay today:

So, far, Obama is the Fred Astaire of politics - graceful and elegant, with a surface so pleasing to the eye that it seems mistaken, even greedy, to demand depth. No one, however, would have given Astaire control of nuclear weapons, so attention must be paid to Obama's political as well as aesthetic qualities.

Here is why Will is such a good writer and a dangerous one. The above comment is the type of remark a white person makes when you're sitting at the table in the Cosmos Club, or in some one's home when you're having "tea." You're black and you know the comment is racist - but you were raised in such a manner that the word MF comes out your ass and not your mouth. You are a proper Negro so you nod at Will and say - yes Fred Astaire. Of course Fred Astaire.

So does this make Clinton - Ginger Rogers? Notice how Will is slick in saying that Obama has no intellectual substance or depth. Oh, and do you want this guy having control over nuclear weapons? Now - here is the very subtle use of Will-language. Obama -Osama plays right now because of the situation in Pakistan. The concern with those weapons being in the hands of Osama - right. But what about the fear of those same weapons being in the hands of Obama? Hmmm. Let's not confuse our Os -let's just be seductive with our commentary. This is what I call a journalism virus. Will places these ideas out there and they will be downloaded into the New Year. If Obama does well in Iowa and New Hampshire in the next few days, look for folks to turn back to Will's assessment of him. The Fred Astaire reference might just stick. Just like I read today's newspaper and felt I was once again - Dancing with the Wills -sorry I meant to say wolves. Sometimes a newspaper essay is nothing but sheep clothing.
So sweet.
Patriots made history.
Brady is the best.
The last undefeated season I was able to witness was several years ago - my son leading his Gonzaga JV (high school) basketball team to that perfect wonderland.
Difficult- but that's why the game is played. When you see "history" being made then you know the human potential is not simply potential.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

In today's mail a copy of The American Poetry Review. Yes, I still have a subscription. On the cover a picture of Jane Miller. I think the last time I saw her was in an airport some place in America. Jane and I were on the AWP Board together many years ago. I always loved to listen to her talk during meetings. If you closed your eyes you thought you were listening to June Jordan. The same beautiful quality and softness in her voice...

Inside the latest APR one will find poems by Afaa Michael Weaver and Terrance Hayes (photo taken by YONA). Gregory Orr has a personal essay on writing. I like how he took his NEA fellowship and built a writing place behind his house.
Orr writes:

To me, poetry is about survival first of all. Survival of the individual self, survival of the emotional life.

In yesterday's mail copies of Poetry and The Writer's Chronicle. I'll look at this "literary fruit"
over the next few days- taste the best parts and spit out the rest.
They say that heaven is 10 zillion light years away
But if there is a God, we need Him now
"Where is your God?"
That's what my friends ask me
And I say it's taken Him so long
'Cause we've got so far to come...

- Stevie Wonder
Words will Live:

Benazir Bhutto's last book RECONCILIATION: ISLAM, DEMOCRACY AND THE WEST will be released soon by Harper Collins Publishers.
It's the word thing again.
Bhutto's death places the word assassination back into our vocabulary. It's now a negative word (again). After 911 the "taking out" of someone was seen as a positive act. It was justified. We also saw the "positive" use of the word assassination as it was used against Palestinian leaders just a few years ago. The media never complained or questioned the changed use.The sad part about this is that the word will always be associated with a "culture of violence." It's an attempt to undermine our institutions and advance or curtail specific politics and beliefs. Assassinations can create a crisis and instability. It opens the door for tyrants or heroes. It can advance a society or put things in retro. An assassination will always look for a conspiracy or a scapegoat. It creates a level of fear and anxiety among the general public. Societies advance if they can control their grief and find healing and common ground between people as well as ideas.
There is always news "below the radar" that opens the door to an issue in society that is often invisible. Read the article about Muslim women who have become homeless in the Metro section of The Washington Post (12/29/07). According to the article many Muslim women become homeless as a result of being driven from their homes by an abusive husband. Some women because of immigration status can't find work. The Post article is about the al-Mumtahinah shelter in Baltimore which helps Muslim women. How many other cities might need to develop institutions like this one?
Please read "The Pakistan Test" which is the lead editorial in today's Washington Post. Another reason why I support John Edwards for president.
Quote of the Day

The U.S. role in Pakistan is delicate. Our relationship is with the Pakistani people, not one man or one institution. Our close embrace of Pervez Musharraf (and to an extent, Benazir Bhutto) contributes to his unpopularity and to low U.S. approval ratings in Pakistan. We must support honest attempts to foster reconciliation across civil society. Above all, the U.S. administration must not be seen to be engineering a political outcome. This is the surest way to undermine what we are hopeful of achieving. The United States has a high stake in Pakistan's stability, but we must leave the selection of Pakistan's leaders to the Pakistani people.

-Wendy Chamberlin and Marvin Weinbaum (Washington Post, 12/29/07)

Friday, December 28, 2007

While all the attention today is on Pakistan, I still think a key country we need to watch is Algeria. How might this nation influence the world in the future?
Bless Black Enterprise magazine. They did something The Nation failed to do. BE endorsed a candidate for president. Barack Obama is on the cover of their January issue. Good to see folks not sitting on the fence. As the E-Notes will remind you on a regular basis, I'm supporting Edwards. I've given money to his campaign and was one of the sponsors for a recent event (in DC) at which his wife appeared. It's important to be active in the political process.

What I hope Black Enterprise will do before we vote in November is to conduct a lengthy interview with Obama. I would like to read his views on unions, trade agreements, and issues (besides health care) that affect the working man. I would also like to know Obama's "take" or position on corporations. What's his tax policy? Does he believe we are becoming two Americas - one wealthy, the other poor? What's his position on affirmative action? And finally - what would a "changed" America look like? Is change a goal or a process?
Pakistan News (I received these links from Shuja Nawaz): latest program on 28 Dec. 07
Coming soon: Next Monday

My interview with Rose Berger and Joseph Ross - Editors of CUT LOOSE THE BODY an anthology inspired by the paintings of Fernando Botero. Look for the interview in Foreign Policy In Focus:

With next month's parliamentary elections already scrambled, Washington must now call for new rules to assure a truly democratic vote.

The United States cannot afford to have Pakistan unravel any further. The lesson of the last six years is that authoritarian leaders - even ones backed with billions in American aid - don't make reliable allies, and they can't guarantee security.

Pakistan is a nation of 165 million people. The days of Washington mortgaging its interests there to one or two individuals must finally come to an end.

The above are excerpts taken from today's New York Times editorial. Notice the tone.
How old is Pakistan? 5 or 8? We continue to talk to nations as if they are children. Either they grow-up or we spank them. Send them to bed without any economic assistance. Geez.
Is this all about US? Is what's best for Pakistan also best for the US? Much of the media concern seems to be with nuclear weapons falling into the hands of radical Islamic groups. How realistic is that with a powerful Pakistan military? The word in the news is now - chaos. Is this really the state of Pakistan? Or is the real concern US interests? Does "chaos" mean we don't know who to support? Is this poor intelligence again? Someone call 911?
Chaos is not people just running around in the streets - that Watts 1965 and we call that a riot.
Chaos is when you have no central state, no law and order. Somalia can embrace this label.

Prayers for the Bhutto family.

So, what needs to be done in Pakistan?

- Musharraf has to step down.
He can write another book; be on Oprah. Teach at a small college in New England.

- Put a new guy in charge of the military. One without a CIA wardrobe and who has the respect of the people of Pakistan. This person must make an immediate commitment to civil rule and democracy.
Key is the upholding of elections on January 8th, and supporting the results.

- Convince opposition leader Nawaz Sharif not to boycott the elections on January 8th.
I am nothing compared with one note of Lester Young.

- Milton Kessler
But would Ginger G leave Harlem?
If you're near a New York Times today, be sure to read the article about second-buyers (of homes) seeking out places that will foster their inner growth. Think of a home for your soul - a place where you can go to meditate and think. A Walden Pond. A house with no clutter - space. Quiet. Ah -
Television tonight:
Author Naomi Klein ( THE SHOCK DOCTRINE) is on the Charlie Rose Show.
11 P.M. Channels 26 and 32 (Washington, D.C.)

I just did a search through my E-Notes to check on what I've written about Pakistan. I'm even more afraid to read them now. I've written quite a number of things...

Here is an E-Note posted October 26, 2007:

Nothing but hotspots around the world (and I'm not even talkin' CA). By 2010 we could be looking at WWIII. Trouble spots: Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan - fill in the blank______________.
Teaching in the Inner City

Here are crayons for you.

What would you like to draw?

What is your favorite color?

Why don't you want to use black?

Oh, that's a pretty picture.

Is that you?

- E. Ethelbert Miller
If you hear gunfire on a Thursday afternoon,
it could be for a wedding, or it could be for you.

Always enter a home with your right foot,
the left is for cemeteries and unclean places.

- Brian Turner

(from his poem "What Every Soldier Should Know)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Recommended reading - Year's End by Jhumpa Lahiri in The New Yorker (December 24 & 31, 2007). This story has a very moving ending.
The Byrne Celebration:

Before coming home I went into Borders (Silver Spring) and purchased THE BEST AMERICAN POETRY 2007 edited by Heather McHugh. This volume contains a poem selected from Poet Lore.

Congrats to Matthew Byrne for his poem "Let Me Count the Ways."
Congrats to my fellow editors Jody Bolz and Rick Cannon.

If you want more information about our journal go to:
The Millers went to the movies again. Tonight we saw CHARLIE WILSON'S WAR. This is Philip Seymour Hoffman's film. He plays Gust Avrakotos a C.I.A. agent. A very timely movie even down to the Bhutto reference ( the recently assassinated leader's father). This is a movie about politics - everyone should take notes on how deals are made. Not a great movie but an important one. Sad to see Pakistan and Afghanistan on the screen and knowing that the Zen master story told by Gust makes too much sense.
Don’t you hear this hammer ring?
I’m gonna split this rock
And split it wide!
When I split this rock,
Stand by my side.

- Langston Hughes

For four days in March, poets will descend on our city for an historic gathering: Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness will hit the streets of Washington on the fifth anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq, March 20-23, 2008. We’ll be giving readings, learning from one another in workshops, panels, and meet-ups, celebrating the rich history of socially engaged poetry in DC and the nation.

The poets will be joining together to name injustices, provoke change, and reclaim our language from the spinmeisters and propagandists. This giving season, we invite you to help us break the silence by supporting poetry of provocation and witness. Your gift to Split This Rock Poetry Festival is tax deductible – itself an act of resistance.

Poets from all over the country will be converging, demanding an end to the immoral Iraq War and a dramatic reordering of our priorities here at home – to save our planet, restore our civil liberties, meet our pressing human needs. You can be part of this historic gathering: Support Split This Rock at

Please help us get the word out by forwarding this request to friends and family who will be inspired by the enthusiasm and excitement that Split This Rock is generating around the country.

We are 60% of the way towards reaching our budget thanks to the generous support of the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, the Humanities Council of Washington, and private foundations and individuals.

Some of the most celebrated and important poets of our time will be reading and participating. DC poets Chris August, Kenneth Carroll, Grace Cavalieri, Joel Dias-Porter (aka DJ Renegade), Brian Gilmore, Semezdin Mehmedinović, E. Ethelbert Miller, Princess of Controversy, Susan Tichy, and Belle Waring will be joined on stage by Jimmy Santiago Baca, Lucille Clifton, Mark Doty, Martín Espada, Carolyn Forché, Sam Hamill, Joy Harjo, Galway Kinnell, Naomi Shihab Nye, Sharon Olds, Alix Olson, Alicia Ostriker, Ishle Yi Park, Sonia Sanchez, Patricia Smith, and Pamela Uschuk.


Our vision for the festival includes a youth poetry contest, poetry in the streets, poetry walking tours, poetry films, poetry activism and protest, poetry parties. Registration will cost only $75, with many scholarships available. Additional funds are needed to provide scholarships and cover publicity, printing, and airfare, room, and board for the featured poets.

Much of our support so far has been from individuals like yourself who believe that poetry matters, that the work of poets in a time of war is necessary.

Please contribute whatever you can. $500 will cover airfare for one of our far-away poets. $100 will cover one night’s lodging. $75 covers the scholarship of one low-income poet. Give $100 or more and you’ll be thanked in the festival program. And all donors will be thanked on the website. Every dollar is tax-deductible through our fiscal sponsor, the Institute for Policy Studies. Just click here: and be sure to designate “Split This Rock” as the project you’d like to support.

Or send a check payable to “IPS/Split This Rock” to:

1112 16th Street, NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20036

Thank you and Holiday blessings!

With deep gratitude,

Sarah Browning, Melissa Tuckey, Regie Cabico, and the Coordinating Committee of Split This Rock

PS- The deadline for the Split This Rock Poetry Contest is January 15. We’d love to see your poems! The full guidelines are here:

Langston & The Sweet Baby Diva: Don't Miss.

The Weary Blues ProjectLangston Hughes' poetry read to music by Charles Mingus and Charley Gerard.

Featuring: Holly Bass and Washington Musica Viva

WASHINGTON DC - Washington Musica Viva presents the premiere performance of "The Weary Blues Project", Charley Gerard's re-creation of the famous 1958 Langston Hughes/Charles Mingus collaboration.

When: Wednesday January 23, 2008 at 9:00-11:00 pm

Where: Busboys and Poets, 2021 14th St NW, Washington DC 20009. (U St Metro)

Admission: $10 at the door.

"The Weary Blues Project" features Holly Bass, reader, Charley Gerard, alto saxophone, Chris Royal, trumpet, John Kamman, guitar, Carl Banner, piano, Pepe González, bass, and Harold Summey, drums.

Langston Hughes liked to be considered a jazz poet. His music was influenced by the prosody of jazz and the blues, and he frequently alluded to jazz musicians in his work. Although earlier in his career he wrote lyrics for several jazz, classical and Broadway composers it wasn't until the 1950s that Hughes read his poetry in conjunction with jazz performances.His efforts were part of a burgeoning poetry and jazz movement that was probably initiated by poet Kenneth Patchen.

On the landmark 1958 recording "The Weary blues," Hughes collaborated with Leonard Feather and Charles Mingus who contributed music that provided elaborations of his text. Together with music, the lines of poetry are set apart by musical interludes. Through the counterpart of music the poems gain a new character and weight. I am very excited about the prospect of recreating this nearly forgotten recording.

My version of The Weary Blues will retain many of the features of the recording but with new music written for alto saxophone, trumpet, guitar, bass, drums, and piano.

Charley Gerard

What is Busboys and Poets?
Busboys and Poets is a restaurant, bookstore, performance space, bar, gallery and gathering place for people who believe that social justice and peace are attainable goals. Busboys and Poets provides a meeting space for the diverse population of the surrounding neighborhood and the city as a whole. Busboys and Poets creates an environment where conversations shared over food and drink invite the progressive, artistic and literary communities to converse, educate and interact with each other.

About the Name

Busboys & Poets is proud to be named in honor of renowned African-American poet Langston Hughes. In the early 1920's Hughes resided in Washington DC where he worked as a busboy at the Wardman Park Hotel. Working at the Hotel, located at 2660 Woodley Road, NW, resulted in a stroke of good luck for the money-strapped Hughes. Nicholas Vachel Lindsay, the famous poet, stayed there.

Due to the City's segregated policy, Hughes could not attend the poet's reading in the auditorium. However, using the ingenuity characterized by his fictional creation, Jesse B. Semple, Hughes hatched a plan. After writing out three of his poems, "Jazzonia," "Negro Dancers," and "The Weary Blues," on a piece of paper, he placed them beside Lindsay's dinner plate one evening. As he picked up trays of dishes, Hughes saw Lindsay reading them. That night, Lindsay read Hughes' work with his own. The next day, in local newspapers, Lindsay informed the world of his discovering a "Negro busboy poet." Shortly thereafter, Hughes gained nationwide fame when an interview by reporters appeared in The Associated Press.
Word back about E-Notes from Lorrie in Milwaukee:

I enjoy them immensely, I liked the international news, the updates on literary figures known and unknown, the poetry, and also the political doings and undoings in Washington, specifically the changes in the public schools, gentrification, and the taxicab issue . The updates on seminars, conferences, book signings, gallery openings, introductions to new artists. I specifically like the introduction of the new talent up and coming, literary, music, and how you unselfishly promote their work.

Keeping us abreast of what's happening in your life, fiscally, physically and spiritually. Of course your world travels, spreading an untainted and pure message. This blog is an intriguing read that I read everyday. I've told at least 30 to 50 people about this space but don't know if they've taken the time to follow through but I count it as their loss if they don't. Just curious as how could you reach more people???

Keep it all coming!!! I do know that you're a working man but sometimes you can't help but wish that the entries could be more frequent, but you do have a life. God Bless and Happy New Year!!!

Love an avid reader

60 Minutes:

Roger Clemens interview with Mike Wallace is scheduled to air on CBS - 60 Minutes -January 6th. Is this after a Wild-Card Playoff Game? Let me check the schedule.
Wallace is not going to ask any "serious" questions. This guy had problems interviewing Lorraine Hansberry in his younger days.
If Clemens surrounds himself with his wife and kids - then the entire thing is staged. Family as props is no different from the president of the US hiding behind a flag. It's what folks do these days. Everyone reads from the same playbook. Go back and see how the Duke Lacrosse family was positioned. Take notes. What is Wallace going to ask Clemens? Did you pull your pants down and let another man touch your butt in a sexual or a steroid manner? Let's get real - Clemens can't answer any real questions - so the entire thing is just a media exercise - have some good ratings, etc. It's not even about Clemens. If you don't do 60 minutes then you have to do Oprah. On Oprah you have to cry and have the public cry with you - it's either that or a public flogging by Oprah. Heads you win. Heads you lose. Tails you win. Tails you lose. It's 1984 and Mr.Orwell and I are going down to Busboys for a drink.
Not surprising if you follow E-Notes:

Roger Clemens's lawyer has hired private investigators to try to challenge the credibility of Brian McNamee, the trainer who told federal agents and the former Senator George J. Mitchell that he had injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone, a lawyer familiar with the matter said Wednesday.

The New York Times - 12/27/07

Over the next few months look for Clemens's people to create their "spin" on the news and try to save the pitcher's image and a place in the Hall of Fame. McNamee's list of overdue books to the public library will be revealed along with every video he ever borrowed from a rental store.
Just joking. The private investigators will try to find any debts McNamee might have - or a mistress across town. Anything that will turn the public against the guy. Find one crack in his character and dogs will howl and chase.
Clemens will win unless someone else steps into the batter's box and throws a steroids curve at his reputation. It's not about having a day in court anymore - it's about getting one's message out. The more we hear about Clemens's side over and over - on radio , television, etc - then folks will become addicted to that version of the truth. It's like a "legal virus" released in order to protect one's client or destroy the opposition's position. Notice how folks are beginning to link Mitchell to Senator McCarthy. This creates a similar "sound taste" in one's mouth - Mitchell/McCarthy. M&Ms. It's obvious folks are "playing" with the language. No one wants to be forced to name - names. It's Un-American -right? What's my name? Call me Bonds - Barry Bonds (00ster0ids).

Did you enjoy the E-Notes in 2007?
What did you like most?
What would you like the E-Notes to focus on in 2008?
Feedback to E-Notes can be sent to:
BHUTTO'S death in Pakistan already extends a shadow of darkness on our New Year. It's sad when political differences spiral downwards into violence. Where is the ladder of light that will help the people out of this? Look for more deaths to follow Bhutto's. Revenge always pushes a society into reverse. Why is peace always forced to walk on one leg?
Sports & Politics:
The picture I'm waiting to see is Barack Obama and Tiger Woods together. This will represent the acknowledgement of the "Mixed Race" Era. With DNA evidence and folks checking their genes - Americans might now be "simmering down" to accepting the changing face (and color) of America. Enter a new paradigm? Look for the Black Middle Class to be the major group upset with this. This is the group still upholding blackness (by any means they can). This is the group that still monitors how many "black" people marry outside the race. This is the group that has a strong investment in "positive black images." How many of us will always be the children of Carter G. Woodson? Where would we be without Black History Month and the NAACP? The Black Middle class has always felt that multiculturalism was a conspiracy to steal their greens ( or at least remove the pork). The Black Middle class seems to be trapped between whiteness and Hip Hop. Which should they embrace? How does one talk proper but still do the funky butt?
This is a question of DuBoisian proportions. Right now the Black Middle class is more excited about Obama running than they were with Jesse. The reason might be that Jesse was attempting to help those folks on the bottom. Jesse's roots are in activism and his message has always been that of a populist. Obama represents the extension of crossover politics. This is what happens when America follows Michael Jackson's nose. Nothing wrong with that -the moonwalk was something even Sun Ra would have been proud of. Yes, space is the place, but what about the race? The last time I looked "Class" was not out. The Talented Tenth was even being pushed out of Harlem. I looked out my office window at Howard and wondered- when did the Black Athens became Mecca? We are still in need of a "dream team" of black intellectuals to guide us down the field. What would E. Franklin Frazier do? Pass or run? Runagate?
From the days of slavery - this has always been the key issue mentioned in the game book -pass or run? Might it be possible to pass and run at the same time? Oh, the trick play - those blues lyrics filled with so much meaning and possibilities. I was "white" until someone told me to shut my mouth.
More Politics - Mo Better Sports:
Read the "sweet" little Op-Ed essay by Robert Novak in the Washington Post today. Nothing but a media pat on the head for John McCain. Now watch everyone on radio - echo this stuff.
And you thought the NBA games were...
Sports & Politics: What game are we playing?

Redskins in the playoffs? A good chance even if they lose to Dallas. One can see Minnesota and New Orleans losing this weekend.
Which brings me back to the presidential race and the media. The worst thing to be is a front runner these days. No matter how far you are ahead (in the polls)- a few days before any voting the media will create "drama." They will find someone to focus on and create the possibility of an upset. We really don't know what's going to happen in Iowa or New Hampshire - do we? No one has voted. As "suspected" McCain is back in the race and will probably get the nomination in a few months. The media wants to call him the "Comeback Kid." No surprise here. Rudy was created by the media. Dial 411 and find out why this guy thinks he could be elected president of the US. Huckabee adds "color" and humor to the race - so we need him. Romney is running simply to be on the ticket. Give this guy a VP pass and he will disappear for four years. Thompson's presence was created by folks who loved Reagan (too much?) So what can we make of this? I think McCain could defeat Clinton in a general election. I think Obama would win as many states as McGovern if he ran against McCain. It's not even 2008 and I'm fearing the future. It's nothing but sports and reality television from here. The Patriots have Brady - who do we have? Edwards?
Ethelbert in the news today:

The 3-minute interview: E. Ethelbert MillerE. Ethelbert Miller is director of Afro-American Studies at Howard University in Washington, and supervises the college's African American Studies Resource Center. Miller, 57, recently provided insights on Kwanzaa, a holiday started by ...Examiner Washington DC -

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Atlanta Hawks win again. Look for this to be the big sports story as we enter 2008.
Excerpt of a letter from my friend Rob Ramer in Minneapolis:

In this terrible time of global war, one of the organizations providing areal alternative to resolving conflicts through military force is theNonviolent Peaceforce.

They were founded by Mel Duncan, a close friend of my brothers from St. Paul, MN. They are building a force of trained nonviolent conflict negotiators and community development activists. Their mission is to work with groups that have recently emerged from civil war or are threatened by such conflicts.

They work with communities on both sides of a conflict in order to build cross-communal ties based on educational, economic, health,or other self-help organizations. They have grown to be a global organization with missions in Sri Lanka, Guatemala, and the Philippines,among other places.

While the Nonviolent Peaceforce has a great potential, they are currently facing a funding crisis. Please join me in donating what you can to this very excellent organization.

Pass this on to any and all who might be able to help.

Peace, Love, & Happy New Years,

THE E MAG will be back in January. Look for New Year "Literary" Resolutions from 8 writers. EIGHT for 2008.
The invited writers include: Charles Johnson, Ai, Honoree Jeffers, Afaa Michael Weaver, Joyce Maynard, Elizabeth Alexander, Alexs Pate and Suheir Hammad.
Quote of the Day:

Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.

- James Wright
What music did I get for Christmas?


I find myself listening to more and more of her music. Real growth in an artist here. I don't even get distracted by her tattoos anymore.
Yes, the Atlanta Hawks are in second place. Why? Because of the play of Joe Johnson. Keep an eye on him and the rest of the Atlanta crew.

Are we looking down the road at a playoff game between the NY Giants and Redskins? No way, NY can win with Eli.
If Dallas was smart they would keep Washington out of the playoffs. Hot teams down the road - playing good defense can win championships. Washington is beginning to look like that hot team.

I can't see anyone from the NFC defeating New England or Indy.
"Muslim Women in Germany" features the work by four members of the Berlin-based photography agency Ostkreuz. The exhibit is at the Geoethe-Institut located at 812 7th Street, NW. The gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. and Friday from 9A.M. to 3 P.M.
For information call: 202 289-1200, ext 165. The exhibit will be up until February.
Bob Thompson has a nice profile in todays Washington Post of the Norwegian writer Per Petterson. I wrote about Petterson in my E-Notes: See - June 15, 2007. Petterson is the author of OUT STEALING HORSES. Look for more Norwegian writers to crack the US market.
Talkin' movies - my friend Linden Griffith sent me an update about her daughter Crystal:

Good to see African American women changing the world of film.
Yes, the Millers went to the movies yesterday. That was us at the Majestic 20 in Silver Spring (Md). We went to see The Great Debaters. This is a must see movie, but on the line to purchase tickets I quickly noticed the film was only showing on 1 screen.

The movie theaters were packed. Sold out was Alvin & The Chipmunks, many folks from the Middle East - heading to see The Kite Runner, and an older white crowd rushing to view Atonement. What can we conclude from this? Well, despite Oprah's support- Obama is going to have a problem in Iowa. There were not that many people waiting to see her movie -The Great Debaters in the theater I was sitting in. Oh, and if you came early you saw coming attractions for two awful black movies. We should call them colored cartoons. Yes, another one with Martin L in it and nothing but awful jokes about fat black women. Where are our censors? Oh, and there was Morgan Freeman playing in a new buddy movie. I see why they often cast the guy as God. He has a nice smile and an understanding face.

One thing The Great Debaters shows is that black colleges can be the background for good black movies. There is much history to tell and show. I just loved Forest Whitaker, as James Farmer, Sr. I would vote for Whitaker to be the new president of Howard in 2008. Can we do any better?

Three things that should not be overlooked in this Harpo/Oprah movie:

-Melvin Tolson (Denzel Washington) is a college professor who is political. Can you imagine anyone at our historical black colleges today working with unions and organizing farmers?

-A strong emphasis on books and reading. Notice how the students prepared themselves for debate. Research was very important.

- The issue of class throughout the movie. The 1935 setting permits one to focus on race as well as economics.

The Great Debaters should be applauded for introducing new black actors to the screen. It's another indication that Denzel Washington might win a directing award before Spike Lee.

Hopefully, many young black children across this country will view this film and realize that education is important and that obtaining a good education requires hard work.

I highly recommend that one read more about Melvin Tolson and James Farmer Jr.

LAY BARE THE HEART is Farmer's autobiography (1985). See Part Four: Intellectual Coming of Age:

"Farmer what are you reading these days?" It was the voice of Melvin B. Tolson yelling, without straining, across a hundred yards of the Wiley College campus in Marshall, Texas, in the fall of 1934.

A nice sequel to The Great Debaters might be a film about the friendship between Farmer and Malcolm X.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Day and I'm listening to MILES IN BERLIN.
This is the concert he gave back on September 25, 1964 at the Philharmonic Hall in Berlin.
Herbie Hancock - piano
Wayne Shorter - tenorsax
Ron Carter - bass
Tony Williams - drums

Monday, December 24, 2007

Election '08 and The Nation is basically sitting this one out. No endorsement of any of the candidates. They like Kucinich on the issues. I like Kucinich too but I'm a polar bear without a vote. Let's get real. If we want to be progressive, then let's progress. Let's try to win for a change and not just the principal game. I would like to see what would happen (in my lifetime) if we had a real progressive administration in Washington. I find it strange that The Nation won't endorse Edwards. This is what they say about him in their latest issue (1/7/14/08):

And Edwards is the only leading candidate to connect the war and the home front, bravely arguing that an ambitious domestic agenda would require cuts to the military budget. His is the campaign that has most effectively responded to the spirit of progressive populism that lifted Congressional Democrats to victory in 2006.

So why don't they endorse the guy? Where is the love?

Oh, I find it interesting too, how for the media Obama is now a "Mixed Race" candidate. The last time I looked in the mirror I was green. Oh, boy -someone must be sticking me in the butt with steroids. My head is getting "too big" to believe the stuff I read these days. I thought a black guy was running for president. Didn't you?
I pulled (from my basement) a number of albums by Joan Armatrading. I hadn't listened to her voice in quite some time. Guess I need to "Get in Touch With Jesus."
Congrats to Rick Cannon. I just received his chapbook in the mail - WHAT WE ALREADY KNEW. The collection was the 1st Place Winner of the 2006 Second Annual Sheltering Pines Press Chapbook Competition. Cannon teaches English at Gonzaga (in DC). My son is one of his former students.

Rick is also one of the former editors who helped with the editing of Poet Lore magazine. We started as a team back in 2002. Miss you Rick. A toast to poetry now and more in 2008.
Mo'Better Sports?
I can't understand why William Rhoden is writing in the NY Times about opinions that Chris Rock, Spike Lee and Al Sharpton have about the Knicks. Have any of these guys been on a winning team? If you have the best seats in the house - do you get to call the plays on the court?
No, you sit down - so others can see the game. I like Rhoden's work - but today's column was nothing but a blog. It's what I do on a daily basis. No need to confer with Chris or Spike. No need to call me AL -either. Rhoden should use his newspaper space for better sports reporting. Maybe today's piece was something quickly written before wrapping gifts.
New book out:


I remember always seeing the Rabbi next to King in those Civil Rights photos. I didn't know who he was. By chance, at some one's home (it might have been in Georgetown) many years ago I met his daughter. What a wonderful individual. We saw each other across the room and immediately became friends. Now and then we still exchange emails. I remember reading more about her father - I guess one would consider him a mystic similar to Howard Thurman. Rabbi Heschel helped to change America. I think in a small way his daughter's friendship helped to change me. I was taught that when you met "good people" that was the true blessing in life. Thanks S.

Compassion is my art.
- Grace A. Ali
The Day/Night before Christmas. I'm not Santa but here is what I plan to do today:

- Finish cleaning basement; wash and wax floor.
- Sort items in upstairs office closet
- Read a pile of old magazines.
- Read the introduction to THE PAPERS OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. Vol. 1
- Finish reading The New Yorker - Raymond Carver story
- Read several chapter of VISIONS AND REVISIONS by Marcus Raskin
The Little brother Eli of the Giants should grow a beard and try to be like Dan Fouts. He needs something to cover his face so that he can cover his mistakes. This kid has Manning as a last name and it might be the only reason he is a starting QB in the NFL. My last name is Miller but I don't make beer. Yesterday Manning's miscues were overlooked because New York won. Tiki was trying to keep a straight face back in the sports booth. Can you imagine Eli being the lead actor in a film like 300 or Braveheart? Before the kickoff I would hide the women and children.

My daughter was cheering for the Redskins yesterday. Might Back-up Todd lead this team to the playoffs and beyond. A Hollywood script since the writers are on strike? The team seems to be playing much better now that Campbell is not playing. What's the difference? It gets down to reads - and understanding the system- oh, and making the plays you have to make. Campbell was not "making" the plays when it counted. He looked good moving the ball down the field but you have to put points on the board. You can't come close or say we'll get better next week. George Allen always reminded this club that the future is now.

Look for Clemens to defend himself like the Duke Lacrosse team. 60 minutes interviews, New York Times support, etc, etc. What you do is a media blitz and trash the opposition or folks who tainted your reputation. It's not about innocence but instead getting your message out. You also have to have support from people who believe you can walk on water. Clemens has a strong fan base. The Duke team had their parents, connections and they played hardball. Look for Clemens to throw more than a ball or bat to protect his Hall of Fame future. It's going to come down to evidence and proof. If folks believe you're innocent then you walk; if you're unpopular or don't have the cash - then it's prison time. The name is Bonds. Barry Bonds.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

It seems I'm always talking about robots these days. Check old E-Notes:

The Washington Post Book World today has a review of LOVE AND SEX WITH ROBOTS:THE EVOLUTION OF HUMAN-ROBOT RELATIONSHIPS by David Levy.

Well, I just knew things had to get better, didn't you? But will the "Shebot" be able to write me a poem? Will Bots be accepted into Bennington?

On a serious note how will we protect robots from abuse? How will you know when a robot is faking an orgasm? Should a robot always tell a human the truth? Can only humans lie? Is this what makes us human?

"So I asked her again, baby why are you so cold?"

So many questions.

(Dec. 22) - A newly declassified document shows that J. Edgar Hoover, the longtime director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, had a plan to suspend habeas corpus and imprison some 12,000 Americans he suspected of disloyalty.

Hoover sent his plan to the White House on July 7, 1950, 12 days after the Korean War began. It envisioned putting suspect Americans in military prisons.
Quote of the Day

I had nightmares about my job only to wake and find them true.

- Reginald Shepherd
The Confessions of E. Ethelbert Miller # 1

Not understanding why I keep seeing so many Boston Red Sox caps in DC, I decide to go out looking for the "ghost" of Pumpsie Green. There must be an explanation. Why do I keep having this strange feeling that someone is chasing me with an American flag?
A Must Read: Good writer/Good Shepherd

Read the essay by Reginald Shepherd in the new issue of Poets & Writers (Jan/Feb 2008). A longer version of this wonderful work will appear in his book ORPHEUS IN THE BRONX: ESSAYS ON IDENTITY, POLITICS AND THE FREEDOM OF POETRY (University of Michigan Press/Poets on Poetry Series).

In the latest issue of Wired, Clive Thompson has written an interesting short essay on "Global Mourning." It's about how climate change can affect the human mind. As one's landscape changes it can create a sadness within individuals. Thompson quotes Glenn Albrecht examination of changes taking place in Australia.

In interviews Albrecht conducted over the past few years, scores of Australians described their deep, wrenching sense of loss as they watch the landscape around them change.

Albrecht believes that this is a new type of sadness. People are feeling displaced. They're suffering symptoms eerily similar to those of indigenous populations that are forcibly removed from their traditional homelands.

What happens when one's home disappears? Thompson's essay made me think about the impact of gentrification on African American residents living in Washington D.C. No one can ignore the positive things that have taken place in Washington over the last few years, but let's stop for a moment and examine the mental health of black folks: poor, working class and middle-class. Might one detect a "sadness" in their eyes when they walk around a "new" U Street? What happens when all of a sudden your old neighborhood is gone and your new neighbors don't look like you? Are they friend or foe? Do they want you to be "their" neighbor?

Sometimes I feel like I should be walking down the street talking to Fanon. How else to explain - not the souls of black folks but instead our minds. How do you measure sadness? What comes after sadness - anger? Rage? What becomes of the "wretched of the earth" when the earth is taken from them? "Economic cleansing" can open all types of Pandora Boxes. As the climate changes, and the heat from oppression rises - will there be more global mourning or simply more racial conflicts? Are there still blues singers on U Street?
The end of civilization as we know it

You're sitting on the toilet
and turn to discover that
there is no more toilet

- E. Ethelbert Miller
Almost the end of the year and I'm listening to THE GENTLE SIDE OF JOHN COLTRANE. This is the type of music you surround yourself with when you're alone. All those beautiful songs - it will make you think about your one and only love. If you want to reflect about your life and are afraid of silence - listen to Dear Lord. Do folks still make music like this? The sound will turn your head around and pull your pants up. It will make you eat your vegetables and smile at people on the bus. Coltrane's Dear Lord is sunrise with notes. The warmth enters your ears, blood - it tickles your soul and suddenly you're Roy Haynes and the drum is your heart.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I went back and read David Brown's article in The Washington Post (12/17/07)about climate change and health risks. Some very interesting information in this piece.

-With heat waves, people who are old, very young, ill, immobile or poor are at highest risks.
- Aging and urbanization - and obesity will put people at greater risk for heat-related illness.

- Flooding is the most common weather disaster.
- Climate change affects air pollution. Sad news for people with asthma and allergies.
Doing household chores - came across Shirley Horn's MAY THE MUSIC NEVER END in my daughter's room. Children are a blessing...
Today I looked at a CD-R containing Gina Marie Lewis- 2007 paintings. It's amazing how quickly an artist will grow - the texture and complexity of Gina's work moving beyond her graduate school days at Howard. One can detect a strong Sam Gilliam influence which is just as good as playing with Miles in the 1950s. Gina's work is still connected to blue and blues. Look for her work to soon strut and look over its shoulder. I like when a painting asks - "why are you looking at me?"It's usually the start of a wonderful relationship.
More Movies:

HONEYDRIPPER - A film by John Sayles.

The Great Debaters:
More Sports:
Atlanta Hawks defeated the Wizards last night. The Hawks are flying. They will get "national" attention when they defeat the Celtics or Spurs.

But let's return to performance-enhancing drugs for a moment. Why is Marion Jones going to jail in a few days? She will be sentenced in White Plains, NY on January 11th. It looks like 6 months for her. I think she should do a Paris Hilton and get out in 2 days or less. If baseball players like Clemens are not going to serve time - free the Track Star! Jones being forced to return her medals was punishment enough. Why place her head in a noose too?

Back to basketball - Hey Kobe - look at Andrew Bynum and your team. Lakers are 2 games behind Phoenix. Do you still want to be traded?
Check E-Notes for Friday, December 14th and you'll see my remarks about the possible use of steroids in other countries in this hemisphere. Now, read Mark Wise's column in The Washington Post today. Here is an excerpt:

In April 2005, a coffin was delivered to Major League Baseball's New York headquarters. It was carried in a mock funeral procession from Yankee Stadium by Hispanics Across America, the group that begged Selig to improve testing for youngsters who play baseball in the Dominican Republic and other Latin American countries.

The coffin symbolized two Dominican teenagers who died in 2001 after injecting themselves with animal steroids and an animal dietary supplement called diamino, a supplement given to horses and cows. Lino Ortiz and Williams Felix used diamino because it was cheaper and easier to procure than steroids. Ortiz was supposed to try out with the Phillies the day after he died.
Their names weren't Roger Clemens or Barry Bonds, but Lino Ortiz and Williams Felix also belong on the list.

Friday, December 21, 2007

National Conference for Immigrant & Refugee Rights

January 18-20, 2008 in Houston, Texas
Be sure to mark the following dates in 2008:

August 25-28 - The Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado.

September 1-4 - The Republican National Convention.
Remembering Sandy Taylor:,0,1664046.story
Business as Usual?
The steroids scandal will not affect the "business" of baseball. None of the players named have major endorsement deals. The AT&T ad featuring Clemens stopped running in November. I guess in the commercial remake - Clemens is talking to his lawyer and not his wife.
Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum:

23rd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Program

Keynote Address by Robert D. Bullard

Bullard is often described as the "father of environmental justice."

Thursday, January 17th. 7 PM
Baird Auditorium
National Museum of Natural History
Constitution Avenue at 10th Street NW
July 3-18, 2008

Jeffery Renard Allen, Director
Arthur Flowers, Co-Director Sean Hill, Administrative Manager

Week-long Workshops in Accra Week-long Retreat and Master Classes in the Asante city of Kumasi


Colin Channer, Junot Diaz, Niq Mhlongo—Fiction
Kwame Dawes, Yusef Komunyakaa, Patricia Jabbeh Wesley—Poetry
E. Ethelbert Miller, Binavanga Wainaina—Creative Nonfiction
Sheree Thomas—Speculative Fiction Sapphire—Performance Poetry

Special Guests Include: Chimamanda Adichie, Mohammed Nassehu Ali, Jeffery Renard Allen,
Walter Cummins, Meri Nana-Ama Danquah, David Daniel, Arthur Flowers, Nina Foxx, Mary Gaitskill, James Gibbons, Manu Herbstein, Myronn Hardy,
Duriel Harris, Honoree Fanonne Jeffers, Major Jackson, Tyheimba Jess, Josip Novakovich, Bayo Ojikutu, Ed Pavlic, Caryl Phillips, Robert Polito,
Francine Prose, Nellie Rosario, Lore Segal, Matthew Sharp, Terese Svoboda, Peter Tachtenberg, Eisa Ulen, Quincy Troupe, and John Edgar Wideman

Craft Classes and Lectures Panels, Programs, and Consultations with faculty, agents, editors, and publishers

Tours and Special Cultural Events Award Competitions:
Special Competition for emerging writers from Africa and the African Diaspora Judges:

Junot Diaz—Fiction
Quincy Troupe—Poetry
Meri Nana-Ama Danquah—Creative Nonfiction

Winners will receive a Free Trip to the Conference and publication in The Literary
Review and in a special insert of A Public Space Open Competition for anyone who wishes to submit work.

Judges: John Edgar Wideman—Fiction
Terese Svoboda—Poetry Josip Novakovich—Creative Nonfiction

Winners will receive a Free Trip to the Conference and publication in The Literary Review Financial Aid, Scholarships and Fellowships Available

For more information, write us at:

Pan African Literary Forum
544,511 Avenue of the Americas
New York, New York 10011-8436

Phone: (917) 834-1852
More darkness in December: SANDY TAYLOR gone.

A note from Judy Doyle:

Hello dear friends,

We appreciate all your messages. I want you to know that Sandy died early this morning, and most important he died peacefully--I am so glad he had not experienced any pain.

I guess it's all the rest of us who will experience pain over his not being here, but Curbstone will go on!

With hugs to you all,


CURBSTONE PRESS 321 Jackson St. l voice: 860/423-5110 Willimantic, CT 06226 l fax: 860/423-9242 Judith Ayer Doyle & Alexander D. Taylor, Co-Directors.
Look for a new face to appear in our news: Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. Attractive and powerful.
The new Visitor's Center at the US Capitol will open next fall. There is an editorial in today's New York Times about it. A section of the Center will be Emancipation Hall. Here is an excerpt from the editorial:

A slave named Philip Reid is credited with helping to cast the Statue of Freedom - the Capitol dome's crowning decoration - after the original white craftsmen refused without a pay raise. Reid was ultimately made a free man by an act of Congress, the rare special- interest legislation that deserves to be cited in the new Emancipation Hall.
So I wake thinking I could be Booker T. Washington today. I've decided to start a college for black magicians. What would happen to the Race if we could graduate several hundred magicians each year? Men and women going out into the world with a "new" set of skills. Making police with clubs disappear, turning every one's rags into riches, maybe my college could produce a Black Houdini instead of a Black President. Black magicians helping Mumia and playing card tricks with OJ. Magicians performing with Michael Jackson on stage or hiding inside Aretha's voice. Magicians saying now you see me now you
ROMARE BEARDEN "A Black Odyssey" is at the DC Moore Gallery, 724 Fifth Avenue, near 57th Street - Through January 5th.
The exhibit consist of 20 episodes from Homer's Odyssey that Bearden made back in 1977 and have barely been seen since.

I wonder if Ginger G is thinking about going.
Interested in teaching in Africa?

Teachers for Africa ProgramThe International Foundation for Education and Self-Help (IFESH) invites applications from school teachers, college and university professors and school administrators who wish to spend one academic year helping to improve the quality of education in Cote D'Ivoire, Djibouti, Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, and Senegal.

Since 1992, more than 1,000 American teacher-trainers have been recruited and assigned to African teacher-training colleges, universities, governmental educational agencies, and curriculum institutes. IFESH is a non-profit development organization dedicated to helping to improve living conditions for the poor and the disadvantaged in the Third World, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa in the area of educational and social reform.

Responsibilities of Teachers: Assignments may include, but not limited to: teacher-training, classroom teaching, in-service workshops, demonstrative teaching, administrative management, developing learning modules, curriculum development, policy development, ESL training, English clubs, development of resource centers, gender equity, training in information technology, HIV/AIDS awareness, and child-centered teaching.

Stipend and Benefits: IFESH provides pre-departure and settling-in allowances, pre-departure orientation, in-country orientation, and flight tickets to and from country of placement, health insurance for one academic year, and an $800 per month stipend while in the field.

Eligibility: To apply, an applicant must:
Be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident.
Be able to show evidence of good health.
Possess at least 1-3 years experience as a teacher, professor or administrator.
Education, teacher training, ESL/TOEFL, policy development, gender equity, maternal and child health, and curriculum development.
Be proficient in the French language in order to work in Djibouti, The DRC Congo, Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire, or Senegal.

Application Procedure includes the following:
Cover letter
Application form (completely filled out)
Resume, transcript
Three letters of recommendation; and
One or two page typed essay giving reasons

Send Application to: Chair, Selection CommitteeIFESH - Teachers for Africa Program, 5040 E. Shea Boulevard, Suite 260Scottsdale, AZ 85254-4687

Application Deadline: February 28, 2008An application form may be obtained by contacting the Teachers for Africa Program at:Phone: (480) 443-1800: Ext. 7488Fax: (480) 443-1824. Or by email:
Log onto for more information!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I find this strange but interesting:

Contrary to the views of some people, Bond's case was never about race. It was about the actions of the game's most prominent player, and whether he had been black or white or Asian or Latino he would have rightfully invited the scorn that has been heaped on Bonds.

It has been suggested that baseball owes Bonds an apology, but baseball owes Bonds nothing. He owes baseball an apology, for sullying the game and its most hallowed record.

- Murray Chass (NY Times 12/20/07)
News of Joy:

Join Collective Voices as they pay tribute to the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., from 1 until 5 PM on Saturday, January 12, 2008 at the MLK, Jr. Memorial Library.

This major cultural event features some of the area's most prominent poets, including Washington, DC Poet Laureate Dolores Kendrick.
I went to Hollywood Video in Silver Spring this afternoon. I found a copy of THE LIFE AND TIMES OF ALLEN GINSBERG. A film by Jerry Aronson. Nice to listen to Ginsberg again.
Fun listening to all the interviews - Joan Baez, Norman Mailer, Amiri Baraka, et al.
First thought best thought. Glad I picked this DVD out today.
Everyone talks about health care but who has time to think about that in CVS? The CVS in my neighborhood should provide free exams in the back room. Folks wait so long they might as well be in the emergency room at a "black" hospital.What type of system do they use to keep track of the meds? Why have a computer if you're going to throw everything in a basket?
It's a good thing they don't do voter registration at CVS. I'm waiting for my meds and I have a feeling I don't count. No one seems happy about their work. Are these folks getting free samples instead of paychecks? One pill might just do it for me. No fear of overdosing from neglect.
So many writers departing these days - so many words left behind.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Please note that the Atlanta Hawks won again. They are over .500. Look for this team to be the NBA surprise this season. Oh, and you thought it was going to be the Celtics.

Vikings will beat Washington this weekend. No playoffs again. Gibbs last year? Maybe.
What's a Tuna doing hanging around Dolphins? Look for the Dolphins to play New England tough this weekend.
Putin? - Oh, Please. How can this guy be the Man of the Year! It's obvious that Time magazine is still stuck in the Cold War. It's unfortunate how some folks still view the world. People all over the world are doing things and we can only talk about Russia? Global warming and we can only think about Cold Wars? How can Russia be a bigger story than China right now? Please explain.

Here are my picks for Person of the Year?

Al Gore
Barack Obama
Hugo Chavez
Barry Bonds & Roger Clemens
Hillary Clinton

"Unless Moses comes down with two stone tablets from Brokeback Mountain to tell us something different, we need to keep that understanding of marriage.”– Mike Huckabee
Radio News:
I'll be talking with Jo Reed on WPFW- tomorrow morning at 10AM.
Turn your Ear on.
Crime Notes:
Some "smart" burglars try to steal less than $250 at a time so their crime will be a misdemeanor rather than a felony.

Hey -remember all those folks hanging around the phone booth making drug deals.
That seems like 8 Track now.
If you get a chance, read "Alma" by Junot Diaz in the latest issue of The New Yorker (December 24 & 31, 2007). I laughed, especially after reading the last lines...
One day
one of us
will be lost
to the other

- Grace Paley
What I dislike about December (besides the cold) is how bad news continues to "drip" at the end of the year. Just when you think everything is going to be ok and you can celebrate the holidays - bad news like a leak in the ceiling appears and it's not the carpet that messed over but your heart. I access my messages around 8AM. I'm standing on 14th Street waiting for the 54 or is it the 52 bus? Whatever - this bus line needs Rosa Parks. Is Fenty still walking around with his Blackberry? Who is running against Bowser in Ward 4? I would run for City Council (Ward 4) just to improve the transportation in the neighborhood. Anyway, I pass code into my message box and Naomi's voice is talking about Sandy (at Curbstone) fighting for his life. An Ali punch - a jab. Head knocked back from the phone. No ropes to lean against. Someone already has the bus stop. So it's me and the wind listening to bad news on the phone. This is how the cellphone has changed our lives. No waiting until you get home or to the office for the bad news to reach you. Put your hand in your pocket or purse and pull the bad news like a bunny from a hat. I'm not a magician so I can't make Sandy feel better. I listen to Naomi's message and realize there is really no reason to return her call. We both feel the same way about Sandy - the man who believed in both of us as poets that he published our words; he gave our poems air and here we are at the edge of the year and Sandy is holding on by breath- and our poems have difficulty breathing. This is what one calls a conspiracy. Right now I'm Lincoln in a bed across the street from Ford's Theater. I'm thinking about Sandy and not the Union or slavery.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The E-Song for 2008?

WHY DON'T YOU AND I by SANTANA (with Chad Kroeger)

Since the moment I spotted you
Like walking around with little wings on my shoes
My stomach's filled with the butterflies... uhm...

and it's alright bouncing round from cloud to cloud
I got the feeling like I'm never gonna come down
If I said I didn't like it then you know I'd lied...uhhh


Everytime I try to talk to you I get tongue-tied
Turns out - that everything I say to you
Comes out wrong and never comes out right


So I'll say why don't you and I get together
and take on the world and be together forever
Heads we will and tails we'll try again

So I say why don't you and I hold each other
and fly to the moon and go straight on to heaven
Cause without you they're never gonna let me in
Update from AWP:

"Callaloo on Avant-Garde Black Poetics" has unfortunately been cancelled.

What does this mean? Are there no avant-garde black poetics? Is the revolution going to be televised next month? Does this mean I return to reading nothing but the poetry of the Black Arts Movement? Is Charles Rowell missing in Texas? Is A. L. Nielsen under academic arrest? What's going on here? Is giovanni singleton in India? Just the other day I was walking on Georgia Avenue and I ran into Verta Mae - the former Sun Goddess. I looked behind her and Sun Ra was nowhere in sight. Yes, it has come to that. We are a people in need of road maps and space ships.The only hope is that A.Van Jordan might one day crack the Einstein equations.
New Year coming and we think of New Orleans again. How much has changed? My friend Wiletta sends me a card which reads -

Hello, Family & friends, we have survived another year in post-Katrina New Orleans. In my block of 13 houses only 3 are occupied. It is still quiet and lonely at night, but each morning brings us renewed hope that our neighborhood, our community and our city will recover.

Let us not forget New Orleans in our prayers.

Another Quote of the Day:

Some Hall of Fame voters say Clemens and Bonds did enough before they are said to have used steroids to merit election. But how can they ignore what Clemens and Bonds did during the rest of their careers? They didn't cheat on their wives; they cheated on baseball.

- Murray Chass, NY Times (12/18/07)

When will we stop flirting with the ball that wears the dress?
Quote of the Day:

To tell you the truth, I haven't read anything. I ain't going to go to no computer to try to read things and put things in my mind. All I try to do is rest and stay away from all those things.
- Mariano Rivera, pitcher, New York Yankees

- And this guy is a relief pitcher???
A link to Buddy Shyree's Space:
Time for a 2007 E Award:

Best improvement in a magazine has to go to Ebony. What an upgrade. Creative director Harriette Cole has been creative. Good to see Jelani Cobb moving into that Lerone Bennett,Jr seat. I find myself "suddenly" looking for the magazine in the supermarket. But let's look where more Ebony- effort needs to go. Check the January 2008 issue with Oprah & Ob--opps- I mean Denzel on the cover. Inside this issue you find the Ebony staff asking presidential candidates Clinton, Obama,Edwards and Richardson, 5 questions. The problem is that there are no new questions. There are no questions dealing with international issues. It seems as if we've learned nothing from DuBois or Robeson. Where is a question about Africa or Haiti? Why no question about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? What about African Americans and the environment? Are we only interested in education, crime and violence? Do black people in the 21st century still have only a domestic agenda?

Hey - has anyone seen Clemens?
Funny how his name is disappearing from the media so quickly.
Double standards? What "color" are the rules?

Everyone SHOULD read Sally Jenkins today. See Sports - Washington Post. SECTION E.
I didn't say anything - Sally says it all.
Thank you, Sally.
Looking for Dana?
Laughing and crying is how we live. I just received the latest copy of The Dos Passos Review.
On the cover is a lovely picture of a smiling Liam Rector. Behind his head are the words -Just to be there...
Mary Carroll-Hackett is the editor of The Dos Passos Review and included in this issue (Vol 4, Number 2) is her essay about being admitted into the Bennington Writing Seminars and meeting Liam. It's a must read for all Bennies. Mary captures Liam so well that every sentence makes you miss the guy more. How many folks around the country still remember that phone call inviting them into the Bennington family? Liam lives! Thanks Mary.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Listening to Azar Lawrence - Bridge into the New Age
Whatever happened to this guy?
Folks were talking about him like he was the next Coltrane.
Talking about Coltrane it was nice to walk "behind" Sonny Rollins as he was leaving the Convention Center on Saturday. Where was my horn? Did Rollins really play his horn on the Brooklyn Bridge? If so, why didn't I hear it in the Bronx? Maybe I would have become another Marion Brown - making my own instruments from the fibers in my heart.
Looking back on Bourne.
Back in November 1985, I interviewed Gwendolyn Brooks at the Library of Congress (LOC) with St. Clair Bourne on camera. It was one of those black moments that made you count your black blessings. Me with notes like a little pocket horn; feeling much like Don Cherry. Brooks warm and wonderful. Bourne very professional and capturing it all. I believe for a time (during Brooks tenure as the US poetry consultant) one could view the recorded interview when visiting the LOC. Excerpts of the interview was published in the Langston Hughes Review (Vol 15, No.2).
Basra is the 9th province to be transferred to Iraqi control since July 2006.

Keep an eye on Turkey and the situation in northern Iraq. Is the war like - Starbucks moving across the street?
No Populism next year, no progressive change in our society. This is what it comes down to.
It's also the major reason why I'm supporting Edwards and not Obama or Clinton. It's not about how you look or what you wear. It's about ideas and changing America. Obama and Clinton can only change America as much as their "personalities" will permit them. After you move beyond the black or woman issue, what do you have? Another candidate with old ideas or no ideas at all? Who will be in a Clinton or Obama administration? Probably just old Clinton and Carter people. Radical reform around issues of health care, poverty, homelessness, education and transportation, might just move America into the 21st Century and beyond. Without radical reforms and the sharing of wealth, we will rapidly move into becoming two societies. One for the wealthy, the other for the poor. Class and racial warfare will follow. We can prevent this from happening with radical change and deep compassion for our fellow human being.

Quote of the Day:

"As health care goes, so goes the rest of the progressive agenda. Anyone who thinks that the next president can achieve real change without bitter confrontation is living in a fantasy world."
- Paul Krugman (NY TIMES, 12/17/07)


Biographer. Author of ANNE SEXTON: A BIOGRAPHY published by Houghton Mifflin in 1991.
I was reading in the NY Times (12/17/07) about Iranian police closing down 24 Internet cafes in Tehran Province. They also detained 23 people. Why? The use of immoral computer games, storing obscene photos and the presence of women wearing improper hijab...

Much of this sounds like 1984. Who should control our behavior? The government or ourselves? Should anyone control the thoughts you are thinking? Why do we seem to view sex as a bomb waiting to explode? Where is the place for pleasure and the erotic in our lives? Maybe this all started with Adam and an apple in his mouth. The guy looks over at Eve and he begins to imagine things that have nothing to do with the garden. Maybe the problems begin when you want to know what's behind the fig leaves.


St. Clair Bourne, pioneering filmmaker and television producer, dies at 64
By Richard Prince -Journal-isms.
(December 15, 2007)

St. Clair Bourne, among the most prominent African American documentary filmmakers and a chronicler of the form in a longstanding newsletter, "Chamba Notes," died Saturday, Dec. 15 in a New York hospital after an operation to remove a brain tumor. He was 64."

He was a real race man," his writing collaborator, Lou Potter, told Journal-isms. "The director and producer of more than forty films, Bourne has often created closely empathetic works that focus on individuals, usually—like himself—black and male — Paul Robeson, John Henrik Clarke, Langston Hughes, Imamu Amiri Baraka (nee LeRoi Jones), and Gordon Parks, the subject of the recent Bourne-produced 'Half Past Autumn,'" Clifford Thompson wrote in a 2001 essay in the publication Cineaste.

For the past year, he had been working on a documentary about veteran Memphis-based civil rights photographer Ernest Withers, who died in October at age 84, and continued a project on the Black Panthers. Bourne was best known for the documentaries on Renaissance man Robeson and Afrocentric historian Clarke, and for "Making 'Do the Right Thing'," a 1989 work about Spike Lee's now-classic film about race relations in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant section.

But he also went to Ireland with a small group of black ministers and activists and produced and directed "The Black and the Green," released in 1983."The 40-minute film, presented as a journal, explores parallels between Northern Irish Catholics and American blacks. In the Belfast ghetto, the delegation members are strangers in a familiar land of crushed tenements, graffiti-stained walls and heavily armed law officers," Richard Harrington wrote in the Washington Post."'The Black and The Green' ends up seeming pro-Irish Republican Army in the same sense that a film about Selma in the '60s might have ended up seeming pro-black, but then, 'I'm a filmmaker from the '60s,' Bourne says. 'I try to be humanistically political. I don't try to impose easy answers. And to me it's a step in my own development, and perhaps for documentaries in America, if a situation that is not clearly identifiable as 'black-American' can be looked at by black Americans."

Bourne's father, St. Clair Bourne Sr., worked for the New York Amsterdam News and the old People's Voice, another black New York paper, in the 1930s. "My father was a journalist who worked with the black press. So that was the first major influence on me," he told an interviewer from Black Camera for a 2006 interview."I grew up during the Civil Rights Movement and would look at the reality of what was going on and observe that what was being represented on television was incorrect. While most of the network documentary units weren't, say, sympathetic, they at least were interested in telling the story. The problem though was that they were telling it from a different culture. They didn't understand the people and just got it wrong. I felt that as someone who was interested in journalism and whose father was a journalist that I could tell the story better than the networks could. So I had to learn the tools of documentary filmmaking. I went to film school and tried to combine activism with TV journalism. My decision to become a filmmaker then was the result of these factors."

The New Yorker began his career with the old public television "Black Journal" series in the late 1960s, which evolved, after the involvement of Tony Brown, now dean of the Hampton University communications school, into "Tony Brown's Journal," which still airs.

It was during the "Black Journal" period that he began "Chamba Notes.""When I first worked for 'Black Journal,' it was what I call 'innovative TV journalism,'" Bourne said in the Black Camera interview. "It was innovative because editorially we took the position of the black subjects in the documentaries we made. We tried to capture what they thought and what they did, and very rarely was that done by other filmmakers."

Most of mainstream and public television journalism in the late 1960s, and even during the '70s, was from the point of view of an outsider looking at a subculture — white people looking at black people. What we said was that we identify with and are a part of the subjects we are filming. We have more skills than they do, but we are subject to many of the same pressures and circumstances as they are. We spoke out on behalf of them and us at the same time. I call this critical stance the 'internal voice' of our practice of documentary filmmaking. Thus, one of the characteristics of my films is to express the internal voice of my subject, whether it is black or otherwise."

Thompson wrote about an exchange between actors Danny Aiello and John Turturro a third of the way into "Making Do the Right Thing." "The transition is so seamless that it may take a moment to realize that we are watching a scene not only from 'Making Do the Right Thing' but also from 'Do the Right Thing' itself, and that Bourne has so skillfully blended his viewpoint with Lee's that, if only for an instant, it is unclear which is which, or if there is any meaningful difference."

Bourne is survived by a sister, Judith Bourne, a lawyer in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.
Filmmaker St. Claire Bourne is gone.

A major loss...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

I received this note and information today from the wonderful actor Clayton Lebouef:

Good to see you at the screening of The Cannon at Busboys & Poets.
Here are a couple of links to The Doll. It's the short film I co-produced
w/Dante James that is based on a story by Charles W. Chesnutt.
Quote of the Day:

When it comes to crack, justice is less about reducing sentences than about guiding offenders back on the path of correct behavior- through long-term drug treatment programs that deliver strict accountability with support for change.

- Nancy Whittier Dudley (The Washington Post, 12/16/07)
Read Jo-Ann Armao's OP-ED article in the Washington Post today. Writing about D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, Armao mentions that some teachers call in sick about 90 days a year; schools have as many as 15 teachers absent every day. What's a Rhee to do?
So there I was last night at the Convention Center celebrating WPFW's 30th Anniversary. What a crowd of folks - people who believe in progressive politics and culture. A rainbow coalition. Tables filled with conversation and laughter. Folks greeting old friends - and there on the stage was Harry Belafonte, Sonny Rollins, Sweet Honey In The Rock (in need of a workshop to get them back on track), Ayana Gregory stealing the evening with a musical tribute to her father Dick Gregory. I was sitting at what I guess was the poet's corner: Carolyn Joyner, Sydney March, Sarah Browning, Melissa Tuckey, Angela Turnbull - oh, and include their husbands and you had a roundtable of talent with no room for Langston or Zora. The fun part of the evening was just before I left - and there was a guy I played touch football with back in those DC days when my passes had that Brady spirial. Oh, where are we now? If I could just tell someone to - go long- again. Talking about passing, maybe we should begin to pass the "Movement" into the hands of new folks. We continue giving awards to the same people, year after year. This grows old too. Might we be in need of a better "running" game?