Saturday, March 31, 2007

The end of March. I could be an April fool tomorrow. The first day of April and I wonder what the spring will bring. I spent Saturday talking with the poet Lady Di. She had a bag full of family pictures. After her visit I finished washing clothes, and made a run to the cleaners. The Cave Canem anthology -THE RINGING EAR edited by Nikky Finney came in the mail. I took a quick look at it and then turned to the Ohio/Georgetown basketball game. Ohio won which was what I expected. I was shocked later by how poor UCLA played. I felt on offense the Bruins looked like a middle school. Anyway, tomorrow I'm going to start all over again. Where should I begin? Maybe I'll go back to the first poem I wrote. Happy National Poetry Month. In April kiss the baseballs hello. It's a new season. Go Nationals. What will Ichiro do? Is the Griff hurt yet? Who will show Barry Bonds the love?
A good day is when you make new friends. Yesterday I spent a couple of hours talking with Shyree Mezick. What a joy. Later I walked over to Busboys and had a meal with Gayle F. Wald. She is the author of SHOUT,SISTER,SHOUT! THE UNTOLD STORY OF ROCK-AND-ROLL TRAILBLAZER SISTER ROSETTA THARPE. This book is getting good reviews.

While in Busboys I puchased the latest issue of SABLE. The poet Kamau Brathwaite is on the cover. This is a mag to always look for.

I was looking at the new issue of ESPN - Superfan Crazy Ray died (76). He was the black Dallas Cowboy fan always being crazy at those Washington Redskin football games. He will be missed.

Did you see the long article about Uncle Ben (now Mr. Ben) in the New York Times yesterday?
The guy is now a black corporate guy whose name is still Ben. Growing up I always thought that Uncle Ben was my grandfather. Was that why my mother kept him in the kitchen? Anyway, read how folks are trying to give black images an upgrade.

New book in my mailbox:

CRUSH -Love Poems by Kwame Alexander
This is a nice book for young adults.

Kwame reprinted one of my poems in the back of this collection:


After dinner
You have the habit
Of curling up in
The couch
Like a tube of
Toothpaste all bent
Funny and nice
I like to brush
After every meal

- E. Ethelbert Miller

Friday, March 30, 2007

Upcoming conference at Howard University:

"Towards A Black University Revisited"

April 5th, 2007
Founders Library, Room 300A

Dr. Greg Carr
Dr. Asa Hillard
Dr. Ronald Waters
Baba Agyei Akoto

For information call: 202 806-7242

Sunday, July 15 – Saturday, July 21, 2007 American University, Washington, DC

Hurston/Wright Writers’ Week is the nation’s only multi-genre summer writer's workshop for writers of African descent with a tuition-free component for high school students. Since the first workshop in the summer of 1996, over 850 writers have attended the weeklong program of classes and presentations by publishers, agents, and writers.

So sad to hear about Rebecca and Alice Walker not speaking. Sectarian strife? Where is the Baby Love and Mother Love? Is this a job for Oprah? Will she have to reunite Rebecca and Alice on television with tears?

Oh Alice ---

"And it was then I knew that the healing
of all our wounds
is forgiveness
that permits a promise
of our return
at the end."

Information from the Buddha network:

Apologies - I haven't been here in a few years. I hope everyone is well. I recently moved to Baltimore, MD and I feel overwhelmed by the violence that is part of this city. I have thought and chanted about this, and came up with the idea that Prison Outreach might make a difference. In looking on line to see what already exists, I stumbled on an organization that donates used religious reading material to inmates who are interested in Buddhism.

And I wanted to get the word out about about this organization for TWO reasons. One, so that people who wanted to donate could do so, but also so that people with friends, acquaintances or loved ones in prison can explore ways to reach out to them as Buddhists.

Here is the address:

Buddhist Inmate SanghaBetty Lu BuckP.O. Box 6517 Brookings, OR 97415 USA

I hope that you will pass it on. They can distribute both books and magazines (as well as cassette tapes and videos!) They have a website at if you want more information.

This "BIS" group also has a Yahoo group; the link is on their website, and includes a database of individuals interested in receiving materials or finding pen pals or just a spiritual mentor. Again, if you know people in prison who might be interested, please consider having their names added to the list.


Lauren in Baltimore
Ah Papa...

On Monday the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum (in Boston) will unseal 30 letters written by Ernest Hemingway to Marlene Dietrich. In one letter Hemingway writes "I love you and I hold you tight and kiss you hard."

Writers too often fall in love with beauty. The blues ain't nothin but a good woman on your mind.

Dr. Wole Soyinka will be speaking at Bowie State University on April 4th at 2PM.
Martin Luther King Jr. Building -Myers.
Quote of the Day:

"I'd say leaders cannot be really great unless they know history intimately."
- Michael Beschloss
AMERICA, 1789-1989 (Simon & Schuster)
I did read that profile of Barack Obama that was in The New Republic back on March 19th. Not a bad piece. It mentions the influence of Saul Alinsky on Obama's intellectual development. Alinsky wrote RULES FOR RADICALS. One of his main teachings was the belief that - YOU ORGANIZE FOR POWER. Self interest is the only principle around which to organize people.
The essay also made reference to Obama's admiration of Bob Moses, the important civil rights leader.
The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars continues to have excellent programs sponsored by the Division of United States Studies. Visit website:
DC Comedy Fest is coming: April 12-14, 2007

Comedians will be coming to town for the third year in a row. Oh, and you thought they were already here. Shame on you.
Last night I couldn't stop laughing after reading the following in Paul Barrett's AMERICAN ISLAM:

"When the Walt Disney Company recruited on campus for a work-study program, Saied leaped at the chance to spend a semester in an entry-level job at DisneyWorld, taking evening classes on the company's approach to business. "It was like a dream come true for me, " he said. He left Orlando in 1993 with a "Ducktorate" degree and a formal photograph of himself, in a suit and tie, shaking hands with Mickey Mouse."

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Big money in a small Ward? I think it's awful that we are selecting a council member for Ward 4 (May 1st) based primarily on their ability to raise money. What views do the various candidates have on the issues? What are the issues? One has to blame the media for not elevating the political discussion. How much is in your wallet? What a shame that you can run for an office and no one will even question if you're a fool.
So who is the guy taking the video of the 15 British sailors seized by Iran? Why can't we just have "silent" movies of hostages. Confessions don't make it anymore. They don't seem real. Don't ask people silly questions if you're holding them prisoner. Visual propaganda will only work if we give it a category at the next Oscars. Along with the best foreign film, let's have the best in the "Hostage/Terrorist" category. It's all about quality. Pictures taken by cell phones will not be considered for any award. Subtitles will be judged for their poetry.
Key Biscayne is in Florida and the year is 2007.

Why must Serena Williams (during her match with Maria Sharapova) have to listen to a heckler yelling a racial derogatory term?

So Oprah's book pick is THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy...

In keeping with the E tradition, today we are going to start the online E-PICK. I will select a book for the E-AWARD. Does the E stand for excellence? Is that OK Oprah?
I will select books during the year for the E-PICK. If you like the book, send me your comments and I will post them. I can be reached at

The first E-PICK of 2007 is:

THE BEAUTIFUL THINGS THAT HEAVEN BEARS by Dinaw Mengestu. 228 pp. Riverhead Books. $22.95

"This is a great African novel, a great Washington novel and a great American novel."
- New York Times Book Review

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

"...what we place in the ground is no more now a man - but a seed - which after the winter of discontent - will come forth again to meet us. And we shall know him then for what he was and is - a Prince- our own black shining Prince! - who didn't hesitate to die, because he loved us so."

-- Ossie Davis - excerpt from the eulogy of Malcolm X

One of the best essays I've read this year has to be "Terrorized by 'War on Terror" by Zbigniew Brzezinski. It was published in the Washington Post last Sunday. Here is the opening paragraph:

The "war on terror" has created a culture of fear in America. The Bush administration's elevation of these three words into a national mantra since the horrific events of 9/11 has had a prenicious impact on American democracy, on America's psyche and on U.S. standing in the world. Using this phrase has actually undermined our ability to effectively confront the real challenges we face from fanatics who may use terrorism against us.

The damage these three words have done - a classic self-inficted wound --is infinitely greater
than any wild dreams entertained by the fanatical perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks when they wre plotting against us in distant Afghan caves. The phrase itself is meaningless. It defines neither a geographic context nor our presumed enemies. Terrorism is not an enemy but a technique of warfare -- political intimidation through the killing of unarmed non-combatants.

James McBride

The New York Review of Books (spring books issue) is out. Here are a few new titles that caught my eye:

Second Chance: Three Presidents and the Crsis of American Superpower by Z. Brzezinski.

Art in Crisis by Amy Helene Kirschke

Best New Poets 2006, 50 Poems from Emerging Writers edited by Eric Pankey

W.E.B. DuBois, American Prophet by Edward J. Blum

Greatest Living Poet by Mark Staber Kobo

Betraying Our Troops: The Destructive Results of Privatizing War by Dina Rason & R. Bauman
Well South America slipped out of the news now that Bush is back in the States. Shame that the US, Venezuela, and Cuba can't work together to reduce poverty in the hemisphere. Do we need more old Cold War politics? I don't think so.

So what's going on between Iran and Britain? Are folks going to war over 15 people?
Whatever happened to the 2 Israeli soldiers that were captured several months ago in the Lebanon conflict?

Talking about genius...THE DUKE BOX is out. Eight CDS. Eight hours of Ellington. Music he recorded in the 1940s. The box contains a 40 page booklet with photographs.
This box is made possible thanks to a company in Copenhagen:
You can order THE DUKE BOX from
Quote of the Day:

Imagination is more important than knowledge.

- Albert Einstein
Quote of the Day:

"Einstein and women are a complicated story, and Isaacson doesn't attempt to tell it all. There were a number of extramarital relationships; how many of them tipped from companionship into sex is, like the electron, difficult to measure."

- John Updike's review of Walter Isaacon's new biography, EINSTEIN: HIS LIFE AND UNIVERSE, reviewed in The New Yorker (April 2, 2007)
It felt good last night to work on some poems. I'm sending a few out this morning. I'm moving out of my slump. My new schedule is working well. Hey- it's baseball season next week. Now's the time to make 2007 a good year.
Today I'll be heading down to the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. My center is helping to sponsor the following program at 3:30PM:

ART IN CRISIS: W.E.B. DuBois and the Struggle for African American Identity and Memory
with author Amy Helene Kirschke

Commentators will include Kinshasha Holman Conwill and Dolan Hubbard.

Location: Conference Room, 5th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
The U.S hurricane season is just two months away. What will NO Mayor Nagin do?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I spent my lunch time watching Howard's women softball team play UMBC. It was fun to watch a friend play and run the bases. I wish the school had a better playing field. Can someone make this dream come true?
Hip- Hop:

Doug E. Fresh will deliver the keynote address at Howard University's Hip-Hop and Higher Education Symposium, which takes place on campus this Friday (Mar. 30).

This year's theme is "Hip-Hop for the 21stCentury: Bridging the Gap Between the Academy, the Industry and UndergroundHip-Hop."

The event, which is free and open to the public, is being sponsored by The Moorland Spingarn Research Center of Howard University.
Josefina Baez

Dr. Carol Beane stopped by my office this morning and gave me a copy of DOMINICANISH by Josefina Baez. Baez is an actress, dancer, writer and educator from the Dominican Republic.

Beane is also helping to organize Poetry Fest II: An Open Mic for Poetry in Any Language.
Tuesday, April 10th from 2-5 PM in the Gallery Lounge of the Blackburn Center, Howard University.

Beane can be reached at:
Leave your name, contact information, and the language you will be reading your poem in.
It's always good corresponding with writers. I exchanged a few emails today with Pinkie Gordon Lane in Louisiana. I hadn't talked with her in years. Someone should do a long interview with her...
Now Tony Snow.
Cancer seems to be spreading or was it always there. Republican or Democrat it doesn't matter.
Another reason why we should all come together and push for decent health care for every American. If you're poor you can't get certain treatment. Is this fair?
Oh - and where is this cancer coming from? How safe is our enviornment, our workplace, the food we eat?
NY Times today has a good article on the Black church and how it is trying to handle the issue of same-sex relations. What would Jesus do?
Elizabeth Edwards might change the US more than her husband right now. All of us will be forced to confront our own mortality. How do we live the public life when we know death is no longer private? Prayers and support for Liz.

But is he $103 million good? All eyes will be on Daisuke Matsuzaka when baseball season begins.
How will the Red Sox pitcher do?
Matsuzaka has not given up a hit in his past 10 innings. Of the past 37 batters faced, 30 have made outs, 6 have walked, 1 reached base on catcher's interference. 13 of the 30 outs were strikeouts.

Football season openings: Colts against Saints on September 6th on NBC, Cowboys against Giants - September 9th on NBC.

Jets against Dallas on Thanksgiving day.
LIFE is dead again.

The last issue will be April 20th.
The magazine was started in 1936. It will be moving its huge archive of photographs onto the Web, where consumers will be able to download them free.
Good News:

Peace in Ireland!!
New book from former senator Bill Bradley:


Bradley should be selected to serve is someone's cabinet. He would be a good VP choice too.
Final Four Picks:

Take UCLA and Ohio.

Will UCLA win it all?
A Smaller Smithsonian?
I can't believe Lawrence Small of the Smithsonian spent $273,000 on housekeeping and $12,000 to service his pool. He made $90,000 in unauthorized expenses. Geez...these figures should be placed in a showcase.
Seized at sea.
Iran is holding 15 British sailors. I get upset when I hear stories like this. What year is it?
Pirates off the coast of Africa too. During these days of the internet and global warming, why are we still fighting about territorial waters? Why do countries act like children? Who ordered all the "toy" soldiers?
Upcoming program:

Film showing:
Hyam Plutzik: American Poet. Directors Christine Choy and Ku-Ling Siegel.

Monday, April 30th at 7:30 PM
1529 16th Street, NW

Post-screening discussion with: Ku-Ling Siegel, Edward Moran and E. Ethelbert Miller
Go fish but don't flower:

Giant Food is cutting staff in their seafood and floral departments at more than 50 stores.
It's an attempt to improve efficiency. They claim the percentage of folks buying seafood has declined. Meanwhile Safeway is installing red DVD rental kiosks that will stock more than 100 movies titles and new releases added each Tuesday. The cost will be $1.49 the first night and 99 cents each additional night.
Quote of the Day:

"I have vivid memories of his misusing and misstating data and using obviously phony economic forecasts. You wonder if those were habits that stuck with him when he became a Wall Street deal-maker."
-Stanley E. Collender (veteran budget analyst) talking about David Stockman
I spent the early morning reading Paul M Barrett's AMERICAN ISLAM: THE STRUGGLE FOR THE SOUL OF A RELIGION. Barrett writes for The Wall Street Journal.

A couple of things caught my attention. Here is a quote:

"Most American Muslims are not Arab, and most Americans of Arab descent are Christian, not Muslim. People of South Asian descent - those with roots in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan- make up 34 percent of American Muslims, according to the polling organization Zogby International. Arab-Americans constitute only 26 percent while another 20 percent are native-born American blacks, Most of whom are converts. The remaining 20 percent come from Africa, Iran, Turkey, and elsewhere."

Barrett writes about Islam by looking at people who are Muslim. The book features a very diverse group. 7 types: Publisher, Scholar, Imam, Feminist, Mystics, Webmaster and Activist.
There are some interesting stories here. Of course I had to underline sentences like the following:

"The complexity of Islam in the United States only deepens when African-Americans and their painful history are added to the picture."

Painful? Ouch.

Barrett's book also reveals a failure to pay attention to important details. Check this sentence:
"Muslims are also united in the way they pray. The basic choreography of crossing arms, bowing, kneeling, and prostrating oneself is more or less the same in mosques everywhere."

Hmmm. If this was true how would one tell a Sunni from a Shiite?

Monday, March 26, 2007

New Book Out:

My friend Maria Velazquez sent me a DVD to watch - ON OUR WAY UP. It's about black men(boys) growing up on the streets of Atlanta. It shows how a couple of guys were able to move from the streets to being entrepreneurs. I found this film to be very depressing despite the positive ending. So sad to see black people fighting over money and having nothing on their minds. Words on the back of the DVD: YOU GAMBLE, YOU HUSTLE, YOU DIE!!!

So much for hustle and flow.
What's going on in Minneapolis?
Muslim cashiers have begun refusing to scan pork products...
Muslim cab drivers don't want to transport folks who are carrying alcohol...

Shariah in Minnesota?
If we don't begin to discuss this, it could get ugly.

What do you think?
How are things in Japan??
Major earthquakes and we don't even talk about it anymore. Where is the "Gore" in us?
Business News:

Revenue for advertising in newspapers is dropping. Newspaper circulation reached its peak in 1984. Back then there were 1600 morning and afternoon dailies with a circulation of 63 million.
Today there are 1,450 dailies with a circulation of 53 million. Loses have been accelerating the last two years. Meanwhile, online spending continues to grow. Newspapers are investing in their websites.
Talking about being sorry...
I think Mayor Fenty should explain the Marathon mess that engulfed DC on Saturday. How many people missed something that was important to them? Who came up with this race route?
How much did it cost for all those policemen to be out there?
Are we going to do this every year?
If the new mayor wants this city to "run" let's get on "Track" first. Make good decisions - nothing like a wet diaper that might begin to smell.
Cute but what does it really mean?
Nice picture in today's Washington Post (Page A12) of David Pott and Monette Tapa Mekomou embracing beside the Buxton Memorial Fountain in London's Victoria Tower Gardens. They were taking part in a walk to mark the 200th anniversary of Britian's abolition of the slave trade. Pott and Mekomou are wearing matching shirts that say "So Sorry."

So I see this and I think to myself, maybe we should just send History to its room without milk and cookies tonight. So Sorry for the slave trade and slavery. If you apology I'll let you out of your room - but stay away from your ethnic cleansing toys or you'll be punished again. So sorry?
So now the media is going to push New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to run for president.
Please STOP. Oh, and the guy is suppose to run as an independent and win? Nonsense. This is just American Idol politics. We entertain names and faces just for tease and fun. Everyone wants to run for president but can they run the country? Who would be in some of these cabinets? Are they going to help us improve US relations in the Middle East, Central/South America, Africa and Asia? If not, take a number and go sit in the back.

Do not vote for us because you feel some sympathy or compassion for us. That would be an enormous mistake. The vote for the presidency is far too important for any of those things to influence it."
- John Edwards

Read Bob Herbert's OP-ED in today's NEW YORK TIMES. He writes about the campaign candor of John Edwards:

"Mr. Edwards is one of the few candidates to talk seriously about ending poverty in the U.S. and fighting the ravages of poverty abroad."



Dianne Reeves is performing at The Lincoln Theatre in DC on April 27th at 8PM. Tickets start at $36

the new release by Wynton Marsalis. I like Wynton but no way can he sell me on Jennifer Sanon's voice. Wynton is also not a good writer when it comes to music lyrics. Nothing worse than someone singing prose and it's not as musical as Morrison. I like what Wynton has to say but not how the words are presented. Listening I wondered if I had a choice between a plantation or the penitentiary. Worksongs or blues? Well, my ears were working trying to enjoy this new music by Marsalis.
As soon as I heard the first few notes out of Sanon's mouth, I thought I was listening to Abby Lincoln. Yipes! I never liked Lincoln's voice and was always trying to be emancipated from it.
I hate vocalists who sing like they are holding my hand and walking me down the street, each word sounds like it's a difficult block to cross. Still you might want to listen to Wynton's trumpet.
It moves a few bars and now and then you hear the genius that can't be contained.
Yesterday was a very productive day. I did yard work, completed the reading of all Poet Lore submission packets, worked on my upcoming Mura interview, and took a nice walk up to the Juanita E. Thornton/Shepherd Park Public Library. This is a real gem in the neighborhood. I was always walking over to the Takoma Park branch on 416 Cedar Street. The Thornton/Shepherd Library is small, sweet and closer. A nice place to spend a Sunday afternoon. The hours on Sunday are 1-5 PM. 7420 Georgia Avenue. 202 541-6100.

Talking about the neighborhood - this morning I caught the new Metro Extra - the Route 79 bus.
Oh, baby this gets me to Howard in about 13 minutes and fits into my new schedule. Might this mean the end of riding the 70 bus. No more drama?
Information about my friend Nimah Ismail Nawwab:

Sunday, March 25, 2007


Treve de blues
- Leon Damas

WELCOME TO THE E-MAG: A Sunday kind of love.

On Sundays I invite other writers to share my E-Space and contribute their own E-Notes.
Today my guest is Rose Solari.



March 25, 2007

Literary pals are on my mind this week — those folks who keep faith with your work when you have doubts, who help you to do what you do. I’ve been blessed with a few such pals, one of whom came through town this week.

I got to know Joanna Biggar at the Writer’s Center, back when she was dividing her time between the West coast and DC. Now her home base is a beautiful house on a hill in Oakland, California.

Like many of us, Joanna lives a self-employed life, combining various part-time teaching jobs with freelance writing and editing assignments. And boy, does she get some terrific gigs! Every summer for the past three years, she’s taught a writing workshop on “Sprit of Place” in a different beautiful spot on globe. Last year it was southern Greece; this June, she’ll be in County Cork, Ireland. You can find more about these summer workshops at Joanna’s a great teacher and a great lady. Without her, I think I’d have given up on my novel-in-progress long ago.

I’m between teaching sessions right now at the Writer’s Center — my winter class ended three weeks ago, my spring course starts April 12 — but I’m deep in the middle of my annual spring poetry workshop for the Mitchell Gallery of St. John’s College, Annapolis. Two weeks, ago I led a workshop in which poets wrote their way into, out of, or around works in the current exhibit there, Richard Jolley: Sculptor in Glass ( ).

All week, I’ve been reading and commenting on drafts of poems via email in preparation for our big group reading in the gallery today at 1:00 p.m. I’ve always found the relationship between poetry and visual art to be a fertile area for thinking and creating. And wow, did the participants make some powerful poems this time out.

I saw the great Cherry Jones in John Patrick Shanley’s play “Doubt” this week, which packs a lot into its 90 minute running time. To say that “Doubt” is about a priest accused of sexually abusing one of his students is like saying that “My Dinner With Andre” is about, well, dinner. Shanley has subtitled the play, “a parable,” and that’s exactly what it is. In examining power relationships from every angle — gender, race, class, and social and church hierarchies — Shanley asks some sobering questions. How does one maintain the courage of one’s convictions? What is the obligation of someone who believes that he or she has seen evidence of an injustice? And most importantly, does knowing you’re right give you the license to do something wrong in order to redress that injustice?

I went to the play with another good writer pal, Sara Levy, who won the Larry Neal Award in 1999 (,a,3,q,528398.asp) for her poetry. Sara is an ideal companion at all events literary and artistic. We share many of the same loves — Robin Hitchcock, Miles Davis, Robert Rauschenberg — and we love talking about what we’ve seen. My husband, Jimmy, says that listening to us, which he does a lot, is like hearing two very sophisticated critics from, say, Jazz Times suddenly decide that they’re writing for Tiger Beat, gushing like 13-yar-old girls over what a cutie the young Tom Verlaine was, or bemoaning Lou Reed’s marriage to the pretentious and boring Laurie Anderson. (Then again, would we think anybody was good enough for Lou Reed?)

The time between teaching sessions means I’ve had a precious chunk of space for my own writing. I’m feeling freshly inspired after watching Michael Apted’s movie, “Inspirations,” in which he interviews seven artists about their creative process. I got to hear artists I’ve always admired — Roy Lichtenstein, David Bowie — talk about what they do, and also to discover some whose work I’d never heard of before, such as the clay sculptor Nora Naranjo-Morse, and a brilliant young choreographer from Montreal, Edouard Lock. Jimmy and I both took notes while we were watching; both of us were struck particularly by Bowie talking about the element of mystery and discomfort needed to make art. At one point, he says that if you’re out in the water far enough so that your feet aren’t quite touching the bottom, then you’re about in the right place to do your best work. A wonderful metaphor.

The week ended with an event at the Writers Center Saturday night in celebration of Richard Peabody’s new anthology, “Kiss the Sky: Fiction and Poetry Starring Jimi Hendrix” ( .

Richard is another one of those writer pals whose presence makes this world a better place to be. He could chose to simply concentrate on his own poetry and fiction; instead, he work tirelessly for other writers, publishing them in Gargoyle Magazine and Paycock Press books, providing encouragement and a place to be seen and heard for many of us. The new book has some of my favorite writers in it, including Reuben Jackson, Sunil Freeman, and Tony Hoagland. Awesome. Now, if only Paycock Press would do one on Shirley Horn . . .


Saturday, March 24, 2007

I've been working on preparing for my interview with David Mura. Last night I started reading SONG FOR UNCLE TOM, TONTO, AND MR. MOTO.

It is our pleasure to invite you to the 16th Annual Free Speech Buffet, sponsored by the Alternative Media Task Force (AMT) of the Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) of the American Library Association.

We will hold the Free Speech Buffet on Monday, June 25th, from 6pm to 8:30 pm, during the American Library Association’s annual conference in Washington, D.C. Free appetizers; cash bar. (You will need to arrive an hour early for set-up.)

In keeping with the progressive tradition of SRRT and ALA's Library Bill of Rights we organize the Free Speech Buffet annually to provide a venue for progressive and independent publishers to showcase their materials and mingle with like-minded librarians who have come to the conference from all over the country (and who have library collection development on their minds).

Our funding from the American Library Association is very limited, so we need to cover our costs with a sliding-scale tabling fee/donation. Depending on how much space you need, how many copies of your magazine circulate or how many titles are on your list, we are asking for a donation of $20 to $100. If you really don't have any money we will skip the fee.

If you are interested in participating, or can help me connect to publishers in the D.C. area who might be interested, please contact me at, or by post, at 624 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60605. Phone 312.344.7072 (days); 708.305.3891 (cell).

For general info about us, please see the following web sites:
American Library Association (ALA):
ALA Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT):
SRRT Alternative Media Task Force

Carol Gulyas
Reference & Instruction Librarian
Columbia College Chicago
624 S. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60605
KOBE is getting ready for the playoffs.
How far will the Lakers go this year? The guy is the best player in the NBA.
Oh -Nash nothing. Please.
I don't understand cricket. Yes, I know the 2007 Cricket World Cup is going on. Now we have a murder case. Does cricket make YOU crazy? Watch how the media will try to explain the game as well as the recent foul play. Oh, and poor Pakistan continues to get bad press. Did you see the recent riots of those lawyers? I thought it had to be a clip for a new musical: MEN WITH TIES.
Informer? On the front page of The Washington Informer (March22-28) there is a picture of NO Nagin mayor receiving an award. An award! Can you belive this?? The prize was given by the National Newspaper Publishers Association. A federation of 200 Black-owned newspaper.
Oh this makes no sense. Where is LaToya? How can folks give Nagin an award? I would have given the guy a FEMA trailer and a flashlight. But wait - maybe there was an "informer" who was responsible for the headline next to Nagin's skull. It quoted the mayor saying -"Tragedy is still not over." Yes, maybe so. It returns as comedy and we applaud and handout awards. We have no shame. We have no shame.

Well in other news...
Poets House is getting their house in order.
Poets House Showcase and opening reception, March 31st 5-7PM
72 Spring Street in New York.
Celebrate the ushering in of National Poetry Month - April April 2007

Talkin NY is it true that Giuliani's wife was married twice and not once?
Don't let anyone you know run for president. Your personal life could become public info.
Hey - Ethelbert- we just found some of your old love poems. We didn't know they were written to....

Now I'll never replace Clarence Thomas on the US Supreme Court. I need to complete that second memoir just to set the record straight. Maybe I'll ask Rudy for a blurb.
Just joking. E-Notes ain't nothin but (E)vidence.
I purchased a copy of Jazz Times at Union Station yesterday. I hadn't looked at this publication in years. I always found it surprising that it's home was in Silver Spring, Maryland and not on a small street in Greenwich Village. Lee Mergner and Jeff Sabin keep this baby going.
I went looking for JT because of the high notes Patrick Oliver was hitting in an email I received this week. Oliver was high on the interview with Wynton Marsalis. Wynton is on the cover. Yes, it's just Wynton now. Everyone has been reduced down to one name. I guess it's symbolic of the ruins around the world. Last names broken like everything else. It's a good thing we have DNA tests; maybe we are all related so we have the same name - and who cares- right? Wynton plays the trumpet in this JT interview with Bill Milkowski. When he makes a point I could do the blindfold test and swear I must be listening to Albert Murray, Ralph Ellison, Stanley Crouch- and is that Gerald Early on harmonica?
Yes, Wynton we knew some of that rap and Hip Hop stuff was bad for the plants. Now look at the kids. I thought I heard Buddy Bolden say....

Friday, March 23, 2007

Yesterday was a John Kennedy moment for John and Elizabeth Edwards. It was a profile in courage moment. You look at your odds and you do the right thing. You stand tall during difficult times. How might Edwards perform when confronted with a serious problem if elected to the White House? I think we caught a glimpse of it. You look at the camera, you talk directly to the press and you explain what the problem is. You let people know what you intend to do.
So you want to pick the next president? Edwards is the best choice you can make. How you love will say a lot about what you do. When you love, you should love with all your heart. This perhaps is the most difficult campaign.
Quote of the Day:

"Is this a hardship for us? Yes, it's yet another hurdle. But I've seen people who are in real desperate shape who don't, first of all, have the wonderful support that I have and have no place to turn."
- Elizabeth Edwards
Discussing "BONG HITS 4 JESUS" in the Supreme Court seems very similar to being stuck on Jet Blue. Why are we here? Where is this case (Morse v. Fredericks) going?
BERT HITS 4 GOD? Hush now - Don't Explain.
Book News:

Borders is going to close nearly half of its Waldenbooks outlets over the next 18 months. By the end of 2008, it expects to be operating only 300 Waldenbooks. They will be closing all 41 stores they own in the United Kingdom.

Borders will also reduce the number of CDs it stocks. They want to create digital centers in their stores and also provide such services as personal publishing.

I hope they can keep the books open. Finding a Borders might just be as difficult as crossing a border.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


The group THIRD WORLD will perform on Saturday, May 19th at Zanzibar On The Waterfront (700 Water Street, SW) Washington, D.C.
Doors open at 9 PM.
Tickets are $ 30 at the door.
Everyone into the pool? Since the emergence of Tiger Woods several years ago, I often see old black men walking the streets with one golf club. They swing it like a cane. These men seem like the black middle class old guard. It's like they always wanted to "play" golf because of what it represented. Now, to see a person like Tiger just dominating the game, is like watching Rosa Parks step off the bus and get into a limo. So let's see what happens after the movie PRIDE is released. Will folks be putting on swim trunks? Is this the next splash?

OK, so that was Al Gore on the Hill yesterday. I thought he did a good job. But explain to me why the Ninja Turtles are back? Who's the fool walking around without his shell?
Well, the D.C. Government can't get any younger:


The Executive Office of the Mayor [Washington, DC] is looking for mature, professional young adults who are interested in interning in the Mayor’s Bullpen!

This exciting PAID internship opportunity is located in the seat of DC Government, also known as the Bullpen. Our office boasts the ability to engage directly with the Mayor himself, along with other top District Officials.

An internship within the Executive Office of the Mayor (EOM) would entail providing support to the Office of the Chief of Staff by possibly working on such activities as scheduling, communications, policy and legislation and general assistance to the office.

We are looking to fill this position TODAY! Are you ready to handle the rigors and action of Government live and in living color? Act now and send your resume and cover letter to

You may also contact Stephanie Erhueh at 202.727.6300 for further information. Check us out at the links listed below. Don’t delay!

OK -so Cornel West is back with another CD. Does this guy have tenure? What's going on? Nothing worse than a public intellectual who becomes too public. What ever happened to serious scholarship? No wonder some people keep thinking Hip Hop is going to save the race. Culture is a lifeboat not an ark. Noah - should we save the rest or leave the West?

So John Edwards and his wife hold their press conference. They let the public know the campaign is going to continue. So why is the media spin raising questions??? My respect for reporters continues to go down. They ask such stupid questions. Over and over.
Some questions are so dumb even OJ would confess to something.

John Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth, tell
reporters of her cancer recurrence. (Reuters)
Please read the Thayer Evans/Pete Thamel article about point guards in the NY Times today. Thank you. Thank you.
You have all these players wanting to score points these days. Why? Because it bolsters their exposure and the schools they want to get into. It's all about points and not even learning the fundamentals of the game. I find it amazing how many of the players my son was shuting down in high school are playing on these NCAA teams now. How many of these "guys" play defense or even pass the ball. Oh- don't get me started. I'm glad my son didn't score more back in high school and he went to a small college where he could play, have fun and get a good education. I like my son's GPA. I like those points.
So you want to hold his hand or latte? Paul McCartney signs with Starbucks for his next album.
This is what's going to happen to a few of our poets. Have coffee we'll drink, Have poem we'll listen. In a few more years it will be intereting to see who the "official" sponsor of National Poetry Month is. We love you...yeah, yeah, yeah. Listen, do you want to know a secret? Do you promise not to tell?
Prayers and support for Elizabeth Edwards as she continues to fight cancer. I found the Edwards press conference to be very open in terms of the information they provided. Is this the personal becoming even more political? Or is it that hunger for the media to know everything? What more did you need to know after John Edwards explanation of his wife's health? We don't need to see X-rays. One goes from Edwards to the Bush Adminstration and it's like closing doors and windows. What is the Bush team trying to hide? A tumor or a war?
I've always admired historian Taylor Branch. The guy writes fantastic books. The idea of him and Bill Clinton getting together for 80 sessions of talk sounds fascinating. I can't wait to see the book that comes out of this in late 2008. Simon & Schuster is the lucky publisher. Whew...I remember first meeting Branch back when Barbara Berman and I were putting out poetry books. We were all young - and Branch was the talented guy. :-) See today's NY Times for info about the Clinton book.
Oh Oh -Did you see that long article in today's NY Times about the Mies van der Rohe house?
Hmmm. And we want to do what with the King Library downtown?

Jah Rules:

A TRIBUTE TO BOB MARLEY: Lyrical Poet of the People
Keynote speaker, Kwame Dawes

Panel Discussion with Christophre John Farley, Vivien Goldman and Dera Tompkins

Saturday, March 31st
2 PM
Medgar Evers College (CUNY)
1650 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11225
And it's almost poetry month:

The Lehrer NewsHour will feature “Voices of Conflict: Poetry of the Middle East,” scheduled to air on PBS this Thursday, March 22, 2007. (Check local listings for airtime and channel.) Poets in the Arab world have historically been important cultural figures, and this tradition continues among Palestinians. Jeffrey Brown talks to three leading poets, Taha Muhammad Ali, Samih al-Qasim and Ghassan Zaqtan, about the role of poetry in Arab society.
Part of a series on the poetry of Israel and Palestine on the Lehrer News Hour. Read about it here:

Also, Will Brown of Cloudy Day Art has created a short film about the surge of poets in the streets of D.C. at the United for Peace & Justice march on January 27. Interviewed are students and teachers from Archbishop Carroll High School as well as the organizers of the poets, Melissa Tuckey and Sarah Browning. With music by YoungBlood Brass Band and Steffan Coonan and scenes from the streets. Thanks, Will!

Watch the 15-minute video here:

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


After another funeral
a woman removes her dress
and turns it over to darkness


it hangs itself in the corner of a room.

Turning away from windows and grief
she discovers a lump in her breast
- a small bomb she is certain.

No one dies from cancer anymore.

- E. Ethelbert Miller

Beloved Friends,

I'm still trying to raise money for the naming of a studio at the VERMONT STUDIO CENTER for the poet Reetika Vazirani. So far $900 has been raised. We need to reach $5000.
If you are interested in making a contribution please contact Gary Clark:

Gary Clark
Development Director, Vermont Studio Center

Many thanks.

E. Ethelbert Miller

The Pelosi Plan to Fund the War Won't work for Civil Rights Leader, Congressman John Lewis.

March 21, 2007The Pelosi Plan to Fund the War Won't work for Civil Rights Leader, Congressman John Lewis.

Congressman John Lewis was the courageous leader of Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee in the early 1960s--a major civil rights organization. Not everyone from those days has lost their moral compass.

Here is John Lewis speaking as an elected member of the House of Reprsentatives from George, on March 20, 2007, addressing the proposed "compromise" presented by centrist Democrats that would actually fund the war for another year with $120 billion, more than the Bush White House asked for:

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Lewis) is recognized for 5 minutes. Mr. LEWIS of Georgia.

Mr. Speaker, I rise with deep concern that on this very day 4 years ago, our Nation inaugurated a conflict, an unnecessary war, a war of choice, not a necessity. The most comprehensive intelligence we have, the National Intelligence Estimate and the latest Pentagon report, tells us that Iraq had descended into a state of civil war. Over 3,000 Americans have died, and hundreds of thousands, some even say up to 1 million citizens of Iraq, have lost their lives in this unnecessary conflict.

And while we are telling our veterans of this war, the elderly, the poor, and the sick that there is no room in the budget for them, the American people have spent over $400 billion on a failed policy. We cannot do more of the same. Mr. Speaker, violence begets violence. It does not lead to peace.

President John F. Kennedy once said, ``Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.'' My greatest fear is that the young people of Iraq and of the Middle East will never forget this war. My greatest fear is they will grow up hating our children and our children's children for what we have done. Mr. Speaker, the Bible is right. Even a great nation can reap what it sows. Nothing troubles me more than to see the young faces of these soldiers who have been led to their death.

Some are only 18, 19, 21, 22, 23. It is painful; it is so painful to watch. Sometimes I feel like crying and crying out loud at what we are doing as a Nation and what this administration is doing in our name. Our children do not deserve to die as pawns in a civil war. They do not deserve to pay with their lives for the mistakes of this administration. They never had a chance.

When I was their age, when I was 23 years old, I was leading the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, soon to speak in Washington on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, but then we were involved in a nonviolent revolution to transform the soul of America, to create a beloved community.

Forty years ago, I was there in New York City in Riverside Church when Martin Luther King, Jr., gave one of the most powerful speeches he ever made against the war in Vietnam. If he could speak today, he would say this Nation needs a revolution of values that exposes the truth that war does not work. If he could speak today, he would say that war is obsolete as a tool of our foreign policy. He would say there is nothing keeping us from changing our national priority so that the pursuit of peace can take precedence over the pursuit of war. He would say we must remove the causes of chaos, injustice, poverty and insecurity that are breeding grounds for terrorism.

This is the way towards peace. As a Nation, can we hear the words of Gandhi, so simple, so true, that it is either nonviolence or nonexistence?

Can we hear the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., saying that we must learn to live together as brothers and sisters or perish as fools?

Tonight I must make it plain and clear that as a human being, as a citizen of the world, as a citizen of America, as a Member of Congress, as an individual committed to a world at peace with itself, I will not and I cannot in good conscience vote for another dollar or another dime to support this war.
Yesterday I received a copy of FLOATING CITY by Anne Pierson Wiese.

This book won the 2006 Walt Whitman Award. The Whitman Award is given by The Academy of American Poets.
The prize was started back in 1975 for a first book of poetry.
29th Annual Great Labor Arts Exchange and the 10th Annual Conference on Creative Organizing:
2 Events/Same place/Same time
From 2PM June 17th until Midnight June 19, 2007
National Labor College located in Silver Spring, MD.
HB in DC:

Holly Bass - April 13th. 7 PM.
Dissident Display Studio and Gallery
416 H Street, NE
Washington, DC
202 332-3346

Holly is doing a performance lecture that utilize hip hop styles; it will touch on community cultural expression. Did anyone say anything about organic urban postmodernism?

Hey Family,
I just got word that the radio show I taped at Howard University will air tonight (late Wednesday/early Thursday) at midnight (Eastern standard time) on WHUR 96.3 in Washington, D.C. You can also catch it live on tonight, if you aren't in the area. The show is called "Spoken Word at Joe's Place" and the host is Joe Gorham. It's about an hour long. Please check it out if you get a chance.
Oh! and can somebody stick a tape in for me or something? You know how I'll fall asleep at the drop of a hat...thanks.
The Quiet Storm: Louisiana Governor won't seek reelection.
Bye Bye Blanco. How bad a governor was she? You make the call.
Quote of the Day:

"It's one thing to be loud and another thing to be rowdy.

- A. Wade (D.C. student who uses public transportation)
A new book from Al Gore in May. The title is THE ASSAULT ON REASON. It's about the forces in society that are undermining democracy. Do we need to read this book or do we know what it's about? Test yourself by reading want our Founding Fathers wrote and then listening to the current administration. Decide for yourself what makes sense. No E-Notes will be permitted when taking the final exam.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Dear Dr. Miller,

I am the Ethnic/Minority Resource Officer at Central Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison, Utah. We offer an African-American Cultural Awareness Class here at our facility. It is developed and taught by African-American inmates. The class is offered to all inmates, regardless of race, to learn more about African-American culture, history, language, and traditions. The class has been very successful and is well attended.

We operate on a very limited budget and are always looking to organizations to donate literature, audio-visual, and other materials for our class.

We would appreciate any assistance you could give us. My contact information is listed below:

EMRO Scott Yaeger
255 E 300 N
PO Box 898
Gunnison, UT 84634-0898


Scott S. YaegerEthnic/Minority Resource OfficerCentral Utah Correctional FacilityPhone: (435) 528-6000 Ext. 6505Fax: (435)

New Movie. Don't Miss:

Harold and Sylvia Greenberg Theatre, 4200 Wisconsin Ave., NW

THE JOURNALIST AND THE JIHADI: THE MURDER OF DANIEL PEARL with producer and director Ahmed A. Jamal, as well as former colleagues and friends of Daniel Pearl -- Asra Nomani, SIS/MA '90; author and former Wall Street Journal reporter, and Jerry Seib, Wall Street Journal D.C. Bureau Chief.

Moderated by Kevin McKiernan, journalist and Dart Society fellow.
Opening night reception to follow.
Quote of the Day:

The vote is the most powerful instrument in all of civil society and all of civil history. Dr. King admired the vote and he was by no means passive. He said it's the most powerful weapon in the world and it's nonviolent.

- Harry Belafonte
God Bless Harriette Cole. Cole is the new creative director for Ebony magazine. Is this why we have Harry Belafonte on the cover of the April issue and not some Hip Hop star? Hopefully this magazine will rediscover those old "core" values that made the publication the guiding star of the black middle class. A people with genius must uphold style. Watching our young folks walking around with pants falling down is silly. Cursing without any flavor just numbs the tongue. We can do better as a people. If Ebony can improve - we might still be able to coach a talented tenth to take us to the Final Four. Is this Race Madness or just a few weeks after Black History Month? Hmmm.
DC Mayor Fenty
will have his First State of the City Speech tomorrow. 12 Noon at the Congress Heights Senior Wellness Center in Ward 8

Here are a few things the guy needs to mention. Let's place that "educational alert" back in the box for now. It reminds me too much of something Homeland Security would do. Schools are not going to improve overnight. Let's be honest and cut the rhetoric. The education issue is key especially to young couples who have moved into the city and have babies right now. They want good public schools. Private schools just cost too much. These young parents are trying to invest in the future. Anyone in high school right now is not going to experience any immediate change in their education. Is this a black/white issue? I'm surprise no one wants to discuss education and race in this town. So let's not go there for now... The key issue in DC is helping the homeless and making sure people have affordable housing. Working with our youth comes second; this means preparing them to be good citizens and making a contribution to society. High on my list is a new main public library to replace the King Library on G Street. I'm amazed at how folks want to talk about education all the time as if we get all our knowledge from schools. A city with good libraries and museums will also help educate our young as well as old. Increase funds for the DC Commission on the Arts and well as learn more about the Humanities Council of Washington, D.C. These two agencies have a lot to do with improving the quality of life in this city. Has anyone mentioned the Humanities Council lately? Should we move the office to Ward 8?

Monday, March 19, 2007

N.O. Way to Live. Comments from Kalamu ya Salaam in New Orleans.

WHAT NOW? By Kalamu ya Salaam

Less than half the pre-storm population has returned to New Orleans to face the music. Housing for non-home owners is expensive to non-existent. Health care, ditto. Other than construction and fast food service, jobs are scare, benefits miserly. Public education and the lottery have a lot in common, you can play, but only a handful hit the jackpot.

Beyond the daily battles a new and even more disturbing trend emerges: seniors are dying, youth are leaving. Seniors dying from strokes, heat attacks, and cancer fill the obituary pages. In our city seniors were a social safety net. From baby-sitting to first responders to crisis, we counted on Big Mamas and Auntees, Parans and Nannans (God-parents), uncles and older cousins.

Since Katrina, we can no longer count on them.Vital health care services are gone, simple check-ups and routine medications are now rarely available. Although the stress of living in a trailer combined with a fourteen-month history of untreated diabetes or undiagnosed cancer is a lethal cocktail, it's not dramatic enough to become national news, after-all tens of thousands of Americans survive without adequate health care or insurance.

For youth on the edge of adulthood, the outlook is even bleaker. Imagine, your name is Tyeasha. You're seventeen. The housing development where you lived has been boarded up for over a year and a half. The high school you attended may never re-open. Your family is flung across city and state lines. Is that why you find yourself staring at empty buildings?

Or you could be Aaron unable to go outside after school because the smell from across the street aggravates your asthma. The local drug lord is cooking cocaine, which he will later dispense from the corner. But you're no snitch, and besides the police are corrupt and won't protect you. Since you're a high school sophomore, you only have two more years to put up with this and then you're out of here.

Gabe graduated from the University of New Orleans this past December and now she is working in a high school writing program. Gabe wants to help rebuild her city but she's pretty sure she won't raise her family here. Crime is bad and the educational system worst but it's the little things that really get to her, like no grocery store anywhere near her neighborhood. Should you really have to drive three or four miles just to buy beans, rice and chicken?

Theresa is trying hard not to drop out. She'll be twenty-one soon. One year kept back. One year lost to Katrina. The following year shunted between schools until finally she was informed: we can't find your transcript, you'll just have to repeat.

An Angelica at one school was doing well but her family broke apart and so now she's in Memphis after both she and her mother were battered by her father. Meanwhile, Angelica at another school had vowed to finish her senior year but now they've moved across the river and…

I wish Brittany good luck in dodging the Marine recruiter. In a moment of confusion she signed an intent to volunteer. She was seventeen. What else was she going to do? Her mother died when she was eight. Her father, well, forget about that. Katrina scattered her siblings. Brittany currently has no where to live in the city. So she gets up at five a.m. to catch a commute bus from Baton Rouge to New Orleans in order to finish her senior year while staying with a sister who lives eighty miles from school. It's not even a month yet and Brittany can't keep it up.

Kenneth's cousin was killed on Christmas eve, or was it Christmas day? It seems like bad news never stops.None of these stories are sexy enough for news anchors to share. People succumbing to cancer. Children dropping out of public school. What else is new?

I hear they're having Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Everything must be getting back to normal.Pre-Katrina “Big Easy” was already a disaster. Now New Orleans sometimes gives Baghdad a fierce run for the money-twelve murders over the 2007 New Year's holidays and we're officially the per capita murder capitol of America.

Driving across a town where you constantly run into broken traffic lights, where sparsely populated neighborhoods are patrolled by armed national guard, and where the emergency trauma center-should you have an accident-is located five miles outside the city limits, as you negotiate these truly mean streets the thought is never far from your mind: why am I still here?

I'm 59. I teach five high school classes, five days a week. New Orleans was my home. This “new” New Orleans is another country in which I feel like an alien. Daily some non-native consultant arrives to do a study or offer a bold, innovative rebuilding plan. Meanwhile the physical and social infrastructure disintegrates, undelivered state and federal aid is shrouded in bureaucracy, thousands of vacant houses have not been touched since before the flood.

Everyday I face young men and women, each with a particular story, a specific need, an individual reaction to the aftermath. They are traumatized.

Mekele says she couldn't stop crying New Year's day and she is trying hard to rationalize away her fear of rain. What I want people to understand is simple. New Orleans doesn't have to be ignored. America spends over eight billion dollars a month in Iraq. How much has the government spent to rebuild post Katrina?

It may be difficult to understand right now, but I believe New Orleans is everywhere USA. We really need to prioritize the social and physical reconstruction of urban America. Our seniors are dying. Our youth are leaving. We're ignoring the past and killing the future. This is no way to live.

Writer and filmmaker Kalamu ya Salaam ( is co-director of Students at the Center, a writing program in the New Orleans public schools. More details about his work are available at:
My friend Don Mee Choi (in Seattle) continues to do outstanding work translating the poetry of contemporary Korean women poets. Here is a review of her book ANIXETY OF WORDS:

Here is the ranking of the richest men's college basketball programs:

North Carolina
Ohio State

I saw THE PILLOWMAN at The Studio Theatre last night. Here is a play in which the author Martin McDonagh should begin with improving his dialogue first. How many times do I need to hear the word F...K used in one evening? Geez. Oh - Why the Jew jokes and the Charlie Chan stuff? The play attempts to be bold but it's not Quentin Tarantino on stage. Let's not go there.
Kill who?
A Miller writing tip:

When writing the political poem - think image first- then idea.
News from my friend Anya:

My brother says
one last prayer

before deciding
to die

in his

- E. Ethelbert Miller

Sunday, March 18, 2007

I'm listenng to Esther Phillips this morning. ALONE AGAIN, NATURALLY.
The Second Amendment.

Should you have a right to a firearm? What happens when the government fails like it did in New Orleans? Should the National guard take away your gun?
No more ban in D.C. Well, it's obvious our city was no more safer. With an increase in home invasions look for more guns to be purchased. This will mean more accidents in the home as well as more guns stolen. What choice do we have? Arm yourself or harm yourself - was once a Baraka line. It seems quite prophetic in 2007.
On the Home Front:

Good to see 500 Howard University students using their Spring Break to help folks in New Orleans. Last year 250 helped with the Hurricane Katrina recovery effort. Major credit should be given to Dean Bernard Richardson (HU Chapel). This guy continues to be the MVP of Howard.

Congrats to Charles Rowell and CALLALOO for publishing a levee of a magazine. Callaloo (Volume 29, No 4) is a special issue -AMERICAN TRAGEDY: New Orleans Under Water.

Praise Songs for the believers. The work of saints.
Tomorrow is the 4th anniversary of the war in Iraq. Once it was Europe - now it's the Middle East at the begininng of a new century - another World War? Very possible. Consider how "fragile" almost every nation is: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan. A change in leadership, the destruction of a holy shrine, a major student protest, even an earthquake could alter the balance of power and what we might define as stability. Things are not looking good.

"I wake up my bad dream just gets worse"
- Smokey Robinson

Two quotes from the Washington Post's editorial this morning:

"An overarching lesson is that the failure of diplomacy is not a sufficient argument for war."

"We were not wrong that Iraqis like all human beings, crave freedom. But people also crave security. Their loyalties to country may jockey with loyalties to tribe and sect."
I spent the entire day at home trying to get on track. I didn't go downtown to the protest. I find I need to use a few days to put things in order. It's the end of March and I'm hitting about .250 in my life right now. Not a good season so far. I need to be writing and reading more. I need to earn more money.

I watched Babel this afternoon and thought it was a very good film. I sent a note to Ginger G since we were talking about this picture last week. So many characters helpless and trying to communicate with one another. The Japanese deaf mute was key to the picture. Her desire for intimacy echoed the distance between the couple on the bus in Morocco. I often feel like the chicken who had his head twisted off in Mexico.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Spirit on the water
Darkness on the face of the deep
I keep thinking about you baby
I can't hardly sleep

I'm traveling by land
Traveling through the dawn of day
You're always on my mind
I can't stay away

I'd forgotten about you
Then you turned up again
I always knew
We were meant to be more than friends

- Bob Dylan
Casino Royale surprised me. I enjoyed Daniel Craig as Agent 007. He had a nice edgy hardness. Was this movie suppose to be a lesson in trapping the ego or the bad guys? Judi Dench can make one forget the old M too.
Well we are going to have new logos on hundreds of unmarked police cars in DC. Boy, I feel safer
already. The problem with some of the crime in the community is that you can't stop it with a logo. People rob for kicks and money. They bash heads and property because of their fractured spirit. Why does a person throw a rock at a window or want to steal a car? Why do you suddenly pull a leaf off a branch for no reason at all? Is it because the leaf is there and you have the power to snatch it? So a woman has a purse and you think to yourself, it's not about the money it's about how you feel when you're running down the street and someone is yelling after you. Thief? Your back is deaf and there is a sick smile on your face. If you get caught you won't care, what else is there to do? Clockwork Orange and it's that time again.
Source of orphans comining to the US:

1. China
2. Guatemala
Oh, please! NO Mayor Nagin is talking about a "plot" to keep Blacks away from New Orleans. If this guy would do his job folks would return. Maybe the mayor of New Orleans position should be a volunteer one. Control the economics of your city and you don't have to whine. Incompetence is not a blueprint for success.
Quote of the Day:

Consider the facts: Islamic revivalism has spread across the globe in the past 30 years from the Middle East to parts of Africa. In Egypt, it is hard to find a woman on the street who does not wear a headscarf. Islamic political groups and movements are on the rise - from Hezbollah in Lebanon, to Hamas in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Even in the United States, more and more American Muslims, particularly the young, are embracing Islam and religious symbolism in ways their more secular, immigrant parents did not.

- Geneive Abdo
Washington Post Op-Ed (3/17/07)
I ordered a couple of movies for the weekend:

Casino Royale
Man of the Year
Running with Scissors
So I saw 20/20 and it was just what I thought. Did you really want to know how many cups of coffee Hugo Chavez drinks? Walters also did the same thing she did with Fidel many years ago. She asked Hugo to speak to the American public in English. Hugo was slick and quoted Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friday, March 16, 2007

My friend Azalea dropped by my office today. She had a copy of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL COMPLETE PERSONAL FINANCE GUIDEBOOK by Jeff Opdyke. This book sells for $ 14.95 and should be included in every young person's briefcase and pocketbook. So many of us (me included) would benefit from a refresher course on handling finances.
Wilson Lives:

"Radio Golf" the 10th and final installment in August Wilson's Pittsburgh cycle will open on Broadway in May, two years after it started making the regional-theater rounds. This is the one Wilson production I've yet to see or read. I'm looking forward to it.

UK author Courttia Newland will be giving a series of readings around town:

Tuesday, March 20
Georgetown University
McShain Lounge, McCarthy Hall
SW Quad 4PM

Thursday, March 22
George Washington University
Funger Hall, Room 220
2201 G Street, NW

Saturday, March 31
Busboys and Poets
Newland will be reading with Dinaw Mengestu
2021 14th Street, NW
4 PM

Courttia Newland's visit is made possible by the British Council:

Get ready for Maddy. She will be the character in the Walt Disney annimation released in 2009. The title of the film is "The Frog Princess" and the story is set in New Orleans. Co-directors are John Musker and Ron Clements. Randy Newman is doing the musical score.

Barbara Walters interviews Hugo Chavez on 20/20. How silly will the questions be? I have to watch this tonight at 10 PM (Channel 7 in DC).

Thousands of demonstrators are expected in DC tomorrow for an antiwar march from the Lincoln Memorial to the Pentagon. The march begins at 12:30 PM.
40 years ago people marched on the Pentagon in protest of the Vietnam war.

Tonight Christian peace activists plan to march on the White House. The event is sponsored by Sojourners/Call to Renewal along with The American Friends Service Committee, Lutheran Peace Fellowship, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas...

Peace Route:
There will be a 7PM service at the National Cathedral (3101 Wisconsin Avenue. At 8:15PM people will proceed downtown on Massachusetts Avenue, NW, then south on 16th Street NW to Lafayette Park.
I'm back to reading THE BEAUTIFUL THINGS THAT HEAVEN BEARS by Dinaw Mengestu.
This first novel looks like it could be a finalist for the next PEN/Faulkner Award. No one has written this well about DC since Edward Jones.

I come into the office and I set my computer on:
I highly recommend this. Begin your day listening to A LOVE SUPREME.
How come no one ever recovers the heart of a suicide bomber? Is the heart not a black box that should survive? Without love there is no forgiveness but how can we love if the heart of one man is lost?
Maybe it was ironic to be reading the work of Carson McCullers last week. Are we not all lonely, iolated people? I held the hand of a friend yesterday and held nothing.
I was reading some comments by Arundhati Roy and she spoke about "an insanity in the air."She was talking about India but it could be the entire world. I just received a map of the world from Doctors Without Borders( and looked at it and wept. A world where no place is without crisis. How much potential does man now hold? How easy it would be to withdraw into comfort if one could find it. I look at the map of the world and wonder how many bodies have been tortured and hidden. How many jails consist of bars of bones. There is no place for an angel's descent.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

John Edwards was at Howard yesterday. Why this guy is not the frontrunner is beyond me. Don't let the media pull a Hillary or an Obama over you. Listen and look for specifics. Becoming president is not a personality contest.

Oh, and Bobby Seale, co-founder of the Black Panther Party was also on the HU campus. Hmmm. Nuff said. Some people still like to party like it's 1969. Go figure.

I just read a good profile of Howard Dean in THE POLITICO newspaper (Vol. 1, N0.22). This guy is really changing the power picture as chairman of the Democratic Party.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Tomorrow (March 15th) I'll be giving a talk on my memoir FATHERING WORDS at the Strathmore Hall Arts Center Mansion at 11:30 AM. It's a luncheon and book signing.
I still like to walk into the Melody Record Shop on Connecticut Avenue and look at CDs. I just love the experience especially when the weather is warm like it was today. I purchased a copy of Bob Dylan's MODERN TIMES. I can't stop playing his "Spirit on the Water." A catchy tune due to its beat. I love it.

I came home to mail and goodies:

CD from The Academy of American Poets - reading by Robert Lowell and John Berryman

A signed copy of STELLAR PLACES by Jeffrey Renard Allen. He included information about his Pan African Literary Forum in Ghana next year:

A Pitt Poetry Series catalog. Check the new titles:
I went down to NEA today and recorded commentary for the BIG READ- material that will be packaged for THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER. It was fun working with Adam Kampe. NEA has a cute little recording studio which made me feel as if we were broadcasting to the troops overseas. Adam and I had a good discussion about the Carson McCullers novel. Prior to the afternoon recording I had lunch with dear friend Molly Hicks who works at NEA. We ate at the new Central restaurant located at 1001 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. Hey - these guys cook delicious shrimp burgers. Worth a trip downtown. They also have lobster burgers but those babies cost more.
Richard Wright: The Centenary Celebration

The American University of Paris announces the International Richard WrightCentennial Conference.

It will be held 19-20 June 2008 at The AmericanUniversity of Paris and at the Musée des années trente (Museum of the NineteenThirties), in Boulogne-Billancourt.

The Conference will encourage broad international and interdisciplinaryexplorations of Wright's life and writing, with a special emphasis on the Paris heinhabited (1947-1960), both what it was and what it is today as a result ofthe marks he left behind, and on his experiences in Africa.

Stressing theimportance of Richard Wright, the conference hopes to be an international point ofintersection for all those interested in Wright's work from literary andcultural critics, to political activists, poets, musicians, publishers andhistorians.

We seek the widest range of academic and public intellectual discussionaround Wright's work which has influenced so many and so much.Topics may include, but are not limited to:

Wright in the Black Atlantic: Transnationalism and Transatlanticism
Wright and expatriate ParisWright as exile and travel writer
The reception of Wright's work in various non-U.S. settings
Wright and African American Satire, Irony, and Comedy
Wright and the African American Literary Canon
Wright, Whiteness, and Black Masculinity
Wright and African American Confinement Literature
Wright, Gender, and the Political Use of Modernism
Wright's Cultural Criticism
Wright and Literary Friendships and Influences
Wright and FilmsWright and Teaching Pluriculturalism
Wright's Influence on the World Today

Paper/presentation proposals should include:1. A brief (250-300 word) abstract.2. A brief (1-2pp.) vita.

The deadline is January 15, 2008.

Submit abstracts to:Alice Craven
Be sure to read the letters to the editors in various magazines and newspapers that ran articles about the medical conditions of our soldiers. Sad news but must reading.
Black leaders in Congress will examine the legality of a recent vote by the Cherokee Nation to revoke citizenship from descendants of former tribal slaves. This could get ugly. What's a DNA to do?
So Bickerstaff is out as coach of the Bobcats. It's Michael Jordan decision to pick the new coach.
Will it be as bad as picking Kwame Brown? Look for someone with NC or Bulls connections.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Right around the first commercial last night during 24 (the hit television show), my phone rings.
It's my son calling me to complain about the acting of Ricky (yes Ricky not Rick) Schroder. Who decided to bring this guy into the cast? He could never act - especially as a tough guy. He always reminded me of the guy who got his butt kicked twice in one afternoon. This is the worst move 24 has made. Nukes falling and we call for Ricky- lite? Folks trying to kill another black president(on the show) and this is the best Fox can do? Pure Schroder-shame.
29-34 can get you a multiyear contract? Hmmm. Isiah Thomas gets an extension. I thought this guy would be gone by the NBA All-Star game. I guess Spike Lee didn't want the Knicks job.
Gotta go...Not gonna pay. See ya!

Is Halliburton moving to Dubai in order to dodge American taxes and investigations?
Captain America is dead.
What will we do now Bucky?
Winthrop Jordan - historian. Dead at 75.
Jordan was the author of WHITE OVER BLACK: AMERICAN ATTITUDES TOWARD THE NEGRO, 1550 - 1812.
This book won the 1969 National Book Award.
Lunch on U with Ginger G (in town for a few days) was better than the weather. Good friends are so hard to find these days. Thanks G.
So that was me down on 14th street - 6 AM in the morning. Fox News did a live broadcast from Busboys. Yes, I looked through the window and there was Pam. Another indication that spring is coming and all that is beautiful will bloom. We had our IPS Salon meeting. A small group trying to turn ideas into action. Our next Salon will be in May with Barbara Ehrenreich.

At Howard I continued to clean and discard items. Two activists (Travis and Anne) met in my office talking about socialism and how to reach out to students for a dialogue. Over the years I've listened to many different voices and opinions. What do we need in order to build a new house? I've never been knocked down by what people call the genius of Bob Avakian. I remember coming in contact with his people. Here is a website:

After watching another episode of 24 last night on television, I became curious as to what the headlines in the newspapers the next day might be:

Nuclear bomb dropped in California

Terrorists are still Armed and Dangerous

President Palmer in critical condition after assassination attempt
Former First Lady kills Former President


OJ to confess to Oprah
Today the air is clear of everything.
It has no knowledge except of nothingness
And it flows over us without meanings,
As if none of us had ever been here before
And are not now: in this shallow spectacle,
This invisible activity, this sense.

- Wallace Stevens

Monday, March 12, 2007


Mar 6 (GIN) - A bill that would outlaw same sex marriages in Nigeria would violate international treaties and the African Charter, according to a group of New York lawyers.

Members of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York have launched a writing campaign to oppose the bill. If passed, marriage between persons of the same sex would be barred anywhere in Nigeria, the adoption of children by gay parents would be prohibited, gay clubs, societies or organizations would be outlawed, and any publicity, procession or public show of same sex activities through the electronic or print media.

Gay groups were barred from presenting their views on the bill at a hearing last month, the NY group notes, and there was no public hearing although the bill would criminalize a wide range of activities and restrict freedom of speech and association.

The restrictions violate the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, they note, among other agreements.

Letters are being sent to Ken Nnamani, Senate President, Pres. Obasanjo, and the Justice Minister, among others.