Friday, August 31, 2007


Memorials and Gatherings for Liam Rector

There will be an informal gathering for friends and
students of Liam in the Boston area on Thursday,
September 6th.

It will be in the basement of the AGNI
offices at 236 Bay State Road, near Kenmore Square.

Please come if you are in the area and feel free to
spread the word to other Bennington types who knew

Thanks go to Bill Pierce and Sven Birkerts of
AGNI for donating their space."
7:00 p.m.

West Coast Memorial for Liam Rector

Saturday, September 22, 2007
2 p.m.
610 16th Street, Suite 414
Oakland, California 94612

contact person: Maureen Duffy
(510) 334-9503 (cell)

East Coast Memorial for Liam Rector

Saturday, September 22, 2007
2 p.m.
St. Marks Church In-the-Bowery
131 East 10th Street
New York, NY 10003
Congressional Black Caucus having another one of their gatherings. September 26-29.
I always thought this was a late Labor Day Party for the Black Middle Class. I remember the first time I went to one. I saw women who were beautiful and so talented 10th that I felt colored in a sad Richard Wright way. I was Bigger Bert. I also thought the CBC was a fashion fair with a few coordinated panels to discuss the state of the race. I never saw any purpose for the CBC.
It's 2007 - might I be right? Is this a legislative conference? Well -where's the legislature?
Where's the greens and the cornbread? Can we name a sandwich for Charles Diggs or Adam Clayton Powell? What about Mickey Leland ice cream? Maybe if we remember these folks we would accomplish more....just maybe I should CBC this to someone.
Good to see the profile of Bomani "D'mite" Armah in the Washington City Paper (August 31st).
His "Read a Book" is so on-- on. I would nominate him for one of those NAACP Image Awards. (This E must be a crazy N - right?) Bomani hits like Paul Beatty did or is it Ali?
Bomani's work is a good example of why it's silly to "bury" the N-word. His "Read a Book" video once again shows the power of cartoons too. I'll always be a BeBE Kid. Armah comes at you like Richard Pryor before that accident.

Look for some exciting baseball playoff games coming up.
One of the following teams might make it to the World Series:

Boston, Cleveland, Philadelphia or Chicago (Cubs).
Baseball heaven would be the Red Sox against the Cubs in October.

Beckham Bust? He could miss the rest of the Los Angeles Galaxy's season because of a sprained right knee.

If the Redskins can't defeat Miami in the season opener -oh well.
Down Under?
So what's with the print depicting Osama bin Laden in a Christlike pose in Australia? Things like this just become another OJ book. Folks get upset and the talk shows invite pundits - and what does it all mean? Not much. Not when you consider all the work around the world that needs to be done. Instead of complaining about pictures and books we could be helping people in Somalia, Haiti, Darfur, and New Orleans.


- Leon Damas





Why do I always forget how this feels? Every time I leave home to travel overseas, I get halfway over the Pacific and it hits me: what in the hell am I doing, and exactly when did I start to think this was a good idea? My heart races as I pace coach class, and as I head into the bathroom for the fifteenth time in ten hours, I catch a glimpse of myself and have an irresistible urge to reach out and hide the concern in the mirror. My lips underneath knit brows silently mouth the questions that scurry and repeat in my mind: Why Japan? Why an entire year? What on gods green earth have you gone and done this time? It’s suddenly too hot in the bathroom. Too hot on the plane, period, and why are the backs of my ears beginning to itch?

To give myself courage to leave the bathroom, appear calm, and reclaim my cramped blue Northwest window seat, I repeat a little mantra I’ve been saying for years now: “you can, you will, you must.” It’s stupid, really, just a little something I thought of one morning a few days post 911 when I was living in Brooklyn, working in Manhattan, and we were being encouraged once more to use subways and come back to work. It was a small gesture of the mind that helped me get out of bed on those mornings when I couldn’t really see the point, and it stuck.

The real question, I think as I once again shuffle past the increasingly grouchy gentleman who sits on our row’s aisle and is getting a bit tired of me popping up like toast every hour or so, is not why Japan, per se, it’s why am I going anywhere and why so far away, period? And the lack of an answer leaves me utterly lost, tossed, groundless, completely disoriented, and craving comfort, so as we circle over Japan, our touchdown at Narita inevitable, I am ready for one thing and one thing only. I am completely ready to head for the ticket agent, buy another ticket and go home.

But I can’t.

I’ve signed a contract. In Japan I am already employed and have an apartment, somewhere. People are expecting me, and my expectations are . . . what, exactly?

It takes no time at all to collect my bags and head to customs and I’m disappointed because I need to think, to remember how all of this was so clear when I said goodbye to my Mother at the airport in Richmond, VA just the day before. I need to go back in time and reassure myself with the answers I had then.

My mom was so gentle with me, waking up at 2:00 a.m. to drive me to the airport by 4:00, then waiting with me for my flight to arrive, and my namesake met us there to be with my mom during the time just after I’d gone. It had seemed so needless then, silly, but at this moment, when I’ve just put over 6,000 miles and a day of travel between myself and everything I’d ever known, I’d give anything to still be with them.

After a restless night in a small hotel room in The Presso, in Shinjuku, I traveled to Fukushima-Ken, first to Koriyama, by Shinkansen, then to the rural area of Aizu-wakamatsu by bus. Rural here though is 125,000 people where rural at home was maybe 25,000. I had expected, I realized later in the day, to see things—objects, cars, homes, and countrysides—that looked Japanese, but so far, other than the rice fields, a mixture in palates of a pale shade of sage and bright shiny greens, that nothing was really standing out. I’d seen a few handfuls of homes on my train ride into Tokyo that were distinctly Japanese in style, the kind I always thought of: two-storied, at least, with peaked black metal or burnt red tile rooftops, with pointy tops that look like pinched pie crusts running first the length of the roof and then gently sloping down to the four corners into triangular tips, creating generous eaves that hover over balconies with sliding doors, which invite the outer-world in. I’d seen a few dozen from the train car’s window but wanted more. There seemed to be more power lines than anything else so far. But I’d also seen a few cemeteries from the Shinkansen and unlike the muted flat or hard to read gravestones back home Stateside in the South, these markers were made to stand out. Large chunks of gray stone beneath a highly polished black marble or granite, the grey laying flat, the black standing tall on top, the writing in unmistakable and stunning strokes of Kanji.

Bio Note:
Susan Stinson teaches at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. She is known as Scout to everyone who loves her, including the editor of The E-MAG.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Information from Shyree:



Larry neal award winner for drama

Prison poetry@ thearc theatre
1901 mississippi ave., se Wdc

September 22nd for two shows!
3pm matinee $15
7pm evening $20
funded in part by DC commission of Arts and Humanities.
From John Edwards Campaign for President of the US.

Dear Ethelbert,

On Friday, September 7, Elizabeth Edwards will be appearing at the Alliance for Retired Americans annual conference in Washington DC at the Washington Hilton on Connecticut Avenue, NW. For the week of this event we are turning to the power of our One Corps and grassroots supporters to help with two volunteer opportunities.

First, we will have an exhibition table set aside for us on Tuesday, September 4 and we are in search of two volunteers to staff it from 10 AM to 1:30 PM. We'll send sign up sheets, signs, bumper stickers and issue papers so that the table will be well stocked. If you are able to staff this table, please RSVP to this link:

Secondly, we will be organizing a public visibility event to show support for John and Elizabeth Edwards. We'll send signs so that you can be sure to show your support for the Edwards campaign to all those who are passing by. We encourage you to design and create your own homemade signs for Elizabeth as well.

This event will run from 10:00 to 11:30 AM. If you are able to be a part of our visibility team, please RSVP to this link: we have built our two teams, we will be in contact with you to let you know the exact meeting location for both organizing activities.

Thanks for your participation in these events and for everything you do each day to help the campaign.

Daren Berringer, National Field Director
John Edwards for President

It was fun talking with the poet Sam Cornish yesterday. I hadn't spoken to him in many years. I'm looking forward to hooking up with him tomorrow after work.

Books by Cornish:

People Beneath the Window, Sacco Publishers, 1962 (reprinted 1987).

Generations, Beanbag Press, 1964; enlarged edition, Beacon Press, 1971.
(Editor, with Hugh Fox, and contributor) The Living Underground: An Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry, Ghost Dance Press, 1969.

Winters, Sans Souci Press, 1968.

Sometimes: Ten Poems, Pym-Randall Press, 1973.

Sam's World: Poems, Decatur House, 1978.

Songs of Jubilee: New and Selected Poems, 1969-1983, Unicorn Press, 1986.

1935: A Memoir, Ploughshares, 1990.

Folks Like Me, Zoland Books, 1993.

Cross a Parted Sea: Poems, Zoland Books
The new issue of The American Poetry Review (Sept/Oct 2007) is out. It features a new column by Major Jackson.
Fly Jefferson Airplane?

James Surowiecki has written a very good article about the airplane industry in The New Yorker (September 3 & 10). He writes about how the industry has cut employees and the number of planes they fly. "Over the past six years, airlines have laid off more than a hundred thousand workers, around a sixth of their workforce, and six major carriers have shrunk their fleets- planes are expensive not only to acquire but to maintain - by twenty per cent."
According to Surowiecki's article the airlines lost 30 billion after the years following 9/11. Some went bankrupt. Today's planes are slim and that's why things are so crowded. We are getting used to bad conditions in the airports as if it was traffic on the beltway.
Quote of the Day:

Sagging began in prison, where oversized uniforms were issued without belts to prevent suicide and their use as weapons. The style spread through rappers and music videos, from the ghetto to the suburbs and around the world. Efforts to outlaw sagging in Virginia and statewide Louisiana in 2004, failed, usually when opponents invoked a right to self-expression. But the latest legislative efforts have been taken a different tack, drawing on indecency laws, and their success is inspiring lawmakers in other states.

NY Times (August 30th, 2007)

Ban those pants and your booty too. Heh Heh
"The focus of the entire city needs to be on education."

- Mayor Adrian Fenty (The Northwest Current/August 29, 2007)

When I read the above quote I chuckled. Fenty sounds like Fidel. Let's all get out there and cut that sugarcane. What do you think about when you think about education? Sounds like a Raymond Carver story -right? If everyone needs to be thinking about education in DC then I'm going to push for more attention to be given to public libraries. Education is not just about schools. It's about libraries, museums, rec centers and public parks too. The entire city is a classroom. But how come folks are not talking about a new main library for DC the way we talk about the Washington Redskins? If we are about education then when is the mayor going to talk about the last book he read? If the entire city needs to focus on education let's talk about the arts too. When I look around the DC the key focus seems to be bikes and dogs. Lately, I have noticed less homeless black men in the downtown area - have they become invisible? Displaced? While all the focus is on education look for affordable housing to disappear like parking in front of a historical black church.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Quote of the Day

Everyone has a purpose in life, a unique gift or special talent to give to others. When we blend this unique talent with service to others, we experience the ectasy and exultation of our own spirit, which is the ultimate goal of all goals. Your unique destiny, your place in the cosmic plan, is known as dharma. Dharma implies more than seeking work that you love. Dharma is a shift in consciousness that begins by aligning yourself with your highest vision and then becoming the manifestation of that vision.

- Deepak Chopra

Bo is sick:

Bo Diddley recently had a heart attack. Diddley the legendary singer/guitarist is 78 years old.
He is in stable condition at a hospital in Gainesville, Florida.
Some good news:
Taliban will release 19 hostages.
So how many home runs has Bonds hit since breaking Aaron's record?
Funny how the media disappears like a baseball over a fence sometimes.

The AL batting title race is heating up. Will Ichiro win?
Amy Winehouse's father-in-law urged her fans to boycott her music until she seeks treatment for drug addiction. I would boycott her music just for the sound of it.
Katie Goes To Iraq. Katie Meets the Troops. Katie in Warland. Couric on the road. This means "serious" news. Look for Katie to be seen wearing her flak jacket and helmet. Traditional dress for interviews with Iraqi leaders. A chow line shot with troops. Eat and run? With low ratings Katie has to do well on this trip. She has to elevate herself. I'm certain this woman will be packing her glasses. She has a tendency to wear them (or use them as props) when doing "serious" news. Oh say, I can't wait to see you Katie.
Literary All-Star Kim Roberts has a new site:
Culture Wars? Education Chancellor Rhee wants to have power to fire folks in the DC school system. Remember my E-Note about her interview? Rhee wants to change the "culture" of the school system. Look for resistance as a "colonization" model is implemented. It will be like the replacement of African rulers with a new colonial government from Europe. New educational managers will be hired over the next 2-3 years. Maybe they will come from Lisbon. The size of the educational force will be reduced. Members of the black middle class will lose jobs. This is going to make them angry and become nationalists. More Red, Black and Green. No kente for warfare. It's going to be Rhee and Race in a few months. It will probably raise it's head at a community meeting and then flood the newspapers and make DC look like Kansas. Rhee might be the hurricane that knocks down more things than Katrina. Is it necessary? Ask FEMA.
How will DC rebuild or reconstruct its new educational system? Rhee will come to represent either reform or revolution. Either way - look for many angry "Negroes" to turn ugly and then attack the Mayor for appointing Rhee. Look for folks to question her experience and yes - folks will keep talking about how she's not black and then it will spill over to the mayor not being black (or black enough) and then we have an "Obama" of a problem right here in DC. But if we can look beyond race and ask ourselves what's coming or what needs to be done - maybe then we can reach that promise land where our children can read and write well. Unfortunately, the ugliness of city politics might not let this happen. If Rhee fails to do her job - then Fenty gets an F in being the educational mayor. Though days ahead. No wonder Bush is packing and planning to leave soon.
Yesterday my friend Shyree gave me a copy of THE FOUR LOVES by C.S. Lewis. What a wonderful gift. I decided to read the chapter on friendship first.

In the mail yesterday was a copy of Pembroke Magazine # 39. This is a special African American issue edited by the poet Lenard D. Moore. Moore built an ark of a journal by getting submissions from Michael Harper, Devorah Major, Jerry Ward, Opal Moore, Kendra Hamilton,
Gerald Barrax, Afaa Michael Weaver, and many others.
Pembroke comes out of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. I often forget what poems I send out to magazines. Below is one of my poems that Moore selected. There are more in the mag.

On meeting Eve a second time

You forget
about everything
and the garden
when her blouse
falls open.

God knows
you love
nipples more


- Leon Damas




Being in Bangkok. I'm here essentially for my teeth, New York dentists being now beyond me. I stay in a small guesthouse on a small soi, a little one way lane, that charges 15 US a night providing me with clean sheets every day, a clean towel every day, hot water in my own bathroom, air conditioning and a free breakfast.

To get to the the dentist I walk down the soi, passing along the way the woman who charcoal barbecues fish twisted around a wooden stick so that they look as though they are climbing it, the man who does noodle soup with pork meat balls and various other ingredients you can chose by pointing, the man who sells slices of sweet pink watermelon and orange slices of papaya.

In the midst of all this is the woman who in a shining wok sizzles up slices of pork or chicken with various vegetables and chilis to be served over rice. Around her cart are tables. She will also give you tea, or soda or bottled water. Escaping from these temptations I go on to the big street, Rama I.

Here I catch the Sky Train, an elevated train that whisks you through Bangkok at about third story level. I get to look out over the roofs of Bangkok at the race course, golf course and Lumphini Park with a bronze statue of a Thai King. The train is composed of three exquisitely clean cars. The stations are washed down every day, at least once a day, by uniformed women with buckets of soapy and clear water, not just the floor, everything, railings, stantions, ledges, walls, turnstiles. Everything shines. Coming down to street level at the Saladang station I get to look down at lemon and raspberry sherbet colored taxis in the street below. The walk to the Bangkok Nursing Home Hospital is gauntlet of food stalls on the left and restaurants on the right.

The truth is that the slender Thais eat 24 hours a day, a bite here, a bite there. On Convent Road there is a French Restaurant, a Japanese, an Eastern Thai, a Mexican, an Irish bar, a Starbucks, of course, a Thai fast food chain called Bua that has heavenly clams in chili sauce. But on the sidewalk edge where most Thais eat at tables that are taken down late each evening, a bunch of robust women in white aprons and caps cook up whatever can be made from rice, noodles, onions, garlic, chilies, chicken, beef, pork, eggs and vegetables.

There are also desert carts with little pancakes, or dumplings of coconut. I have seen these women bring in rice dishes to the servers at Starbucks and exit with a frappachino.

The Bangkok Nursing Home Hospital is an oasis of non-food calm full of bustling, well starched nurses, who wey at you. A wey, pronounced Y, is a little bow performed with hands held together in front of you at the level of the status required by the person receiving the wey. I wey the receptionist at chest level. She weys me at lip level. The doctor is ready for me, her dark eyes glinting with humor between her mask and her paper cap. She weys me at lip level. I wey her back at the same level. We start discussing crowns.

Bio Note: Karen Swenson is bi-continental, living in Manhattan and spending two to three months a year in Asia. Her poetry has been published by The New Yorker, The Saturday Review, Prairie Schooner, Georgia Review and other literary publications. Her travel articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. She is presently teaching at Barnard.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Music -Sweet Music-step right in:

On Saturdays I Santana with You
There is a very interesting article in The Wall Street Journal today about "Africa's New Car Dealer: China." I didn't know how much Africa was spending on "used" cars from Europe. Geez.
One wonders about how the new cars from China will run. China (lately) has been having so many problems with the products they export. Then there are the cultural questions no one seems to want to raise. Will the China cars be for Chinese- size people? I find that too often products from the East don't leave room for those "hips" Lucille Clifton writes about. Just like when I went to the Sleep clinic and they tried to fit a "Euro" mask over my nose. Heh Heh
Former President Bill Clinton will appear on Oprah's television show on September 4th.
He will be promoting his new book which is about philanthropy and civic action.
Between a Rock and a----,0,2169939,print.story

I just pulled out one of those CDs that Liam Rector always gave all the graduates and faculty at Bennington graduations. So here I am singing along with Gerry and the Pacemakers - yes- don't let the sun catch you crying. Funny how these CDs are filled with all the crazy music that crazy guy loved. The music never ends.

Do you know the way to New Orleans?

E1 - is a covergirl. Don't miss! Edwidge Danticat is on the cover of Poets & Writers (Sept/Oct 2007) Her memoir BROTHER, I'M DYING will be the book to look for this fall. Danticat will always have a special place in my heart. No other writer has her grace and talent.

Vick's vapor rub?

So the man says he has to grow up and be an adult.

Does this means that killing dogs is what you do when you're young? I must be missing something here.

Help me Jesus.

Monday, August 27, 2007

I watched the Vick press conference (see video) and felt the QB had read the playbook. He touched on all the points he needed to touch. However,the reference to Jesus near the end punched the air out of the tire for me. And I have no car - go figure.It's like leaving Washington and the Bush Administration because you want to spend more time with the kids. Really? How old are they and do you know their names?
The Jesus reference is only incorporated so that the listener thinks about forgiveness. Which comes back to the old Peanut cartoon about - Did Jesus have a Dog?
News Alert!
Oh, Oh, Gonzales is gone. Does that leave only Rice on the stove?
John Ashbery has been selected to be the poet laureate for mtvU. You can access some of his poems by going to:
There is also a link to the Slate essay on how to read Ashbery that was written by Meghan O'Rourke back on March 9, 2005.
Either you dig it or you don't.

HU back is session. What needs to be done? Serious maintenance improvement. A serious upgrading of infrastructure. How come some schools never look in the mirror before they dress? How's Howard's hair these days? Process- straight - or afro? When will HU be black and beautiful again? If you're not a myth - whose reality are you? Sounds like Sun Ra to me.

I accepted the invitation to join the board of The Emergence Community Arts Collective (ECAC) and work with Sylvia Robinson. ECAC is right across the street from HU.
Check them out:

Last week I met Neil Irvin. He was conducting a meeting in Founders Library (HU). Irvin works with the Men Can Stop Rape organization.

Quote of the Day

Every man has his own patch of earth to cultivate. What's important is that he dig deep.
- Jose Saramago, Portuguese novelist.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A people day. Morning meeting with poet Judith Harris; her husband visual artist Walter Kravitz came by later. In the afternoon poet Lady Di.

I'll spend the rest of the day reading the Ellison biography. Yes, it's still on my desk. Judith left me a book about Kravitz's drawings and paintings. I want to read that tonight too. Did you see the NY Times article about making a life list? I'm thinking about what I would like to do before I turn 60. Any suggestions? Manager the Nationals? Poor Chad would never get called from the bullpen.

So it's 2009 and you're a historian now. What was the best thing about the Bush Administration? That's easy - The National Book Festival hosted by First Lady Laura Bush.
The first one was right before 9/11. If you don't want to miss history you might want to attend the 7th National Book Festival on the National Mall, September 29th.
Check link:
This is a cool event. I was honored at the 1st and 3rd gathering of the authors. In the shadows of The Library of Congress Americans gather to honor writers and books. This is not about politics but the freedom of expression. The celebration of reading. The power of the book which is more powerful than the power of one. Be wise and free. READ! Make love to a poet you know. Touch a book. Place words on your tongue. Kiss a metaphor. Undress yourself with language. What is knowledge without nakedness?

Percival Everett is back with a new novel - THE WATER CURE. The publisher is Graywolf Press. I'll pack this book for my upcoming trip to Norway. Nothing worst than flying without the wings of a good book.

Yesterday I spent the afternoon with a few Bennies out at Cilla's home in Kenneydyville, Maryland. Beautiful country. We sat around with wine and Liam stories that were fun to tell.
Death is not a hole in the earth. Things continue to grow. The memories of friends is rain to grass. It's what we need after the dryness of hurt.

Sunday and I'm looking at a big box of NEA proposals to read. I have the Katrina lecture to finish and remarks to draft for my introduction of Martin Espada in Norway. 2 board reports to do- The Writer's Center and IPS. A week of meetings and HU back to school tomorrow. The last week of August and what did you do during your summer vacation?

Upcoming events: November 2, 2007
Sixth Annual Hurston /Wright Ceremony
National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
Program at 7PM
Reception at 6PM

24th Annual Celebration of Black Writing Festival
Art Sanctuary in Philadelphia
Lifetime achievement award to Haki Madhubuti in May 2008
Catch the 2007-2008 Season:

I'm going to try and catch the opening night of Fugard's mY cHILDREN! mY aFRICA!

7pm on SEPTEMBER 9TH. The Studio Theatre/1501 14th Street, NW.

Friday, August 24, 2007


- Liam Rector
Is that a fly in my news?
Have you ever noticed how folks keep you thinking right and not left? It's very subtle but then it explains why very few populists get any media traction. Check this paragraph from yesterday's OP-ED essay on Obama by David Ignatius:

"The vets certainly aren't cheering widly when Obama is done, but to judge from the dozens who rush up to meet him, he seems to have reassured this conservative audience that he's not a left-wing devil. When a local reporter asks him if he's surprised by the "warm response" he go, Obama displays the almost eerie self-confidence that has maked his rise as a candidate."

Is it possible to ever be a left-wing angel? Would the media dare call someone that?
Now you know I need to hear me some Willie Colon. Yes, Bert needs to get his groove back.

Inez Saki-Tay Anthony Gittens
Endy Ink Communications DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities
202.674.7023 / 202.724.5613 /


Washington- D.C. Grooves is back! The D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities announces the return of Washington's much anticipated evening outdoor concert series. This year's line-up features three internationally renowned performers: MC Hammer, Willie Colón and Little Richard. The shows run from 7pm to 9pm on Thursday, September 6th and 20th, and on Friday, September 14th. The Arts Commission invites the public to come out to dance, sing and enjoy a spectacular evening in Washington, D.C.

Thursday, September 6 “Hip-Hop Super Star” MC Hammer brings his distinct style to DC Grooves with his hits “Too legit to Quit,” “Pray” and “U Can't Touch This.”

The following week, on Friday September 14th, Willie Colón, “The Architect of Urban Salsa” hits the stage. In his only U.S. tour date in summer 2007, Colón performs favorites like “Oh, Que Sera?,” “Che Che Cole” and “Murga.” Opening for Colón is Washington's own Cuban salsa band, Orquesta Ashe.

DC Grooves grand finale presents D.C.'s own glamorous doo-wop divas The Jewels, opening for “The Emancipator of Rock and Roll”. Little Richard takes the stage on September 20th with a full ensemble performing oldie but goodie favorites like "Tutti Fruiti”, “Long Tall Sally” and "Good Golly, Miss Molly.”

DC Grooves concerts will add to the vitality of our already thriving downtown”, said Arts Commission Executive Director Tony Gittens. “We invite all of our residents and visitors to enjoy the diverse cultural activities Washington has to offer.”

DC Grooves precedes the city's 4th annual Dance DC Festival, which is sponsored by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. The festival features a splendid array of dance performances and workshops from September 28th to 30th.

For more information on DC Grooves or the 4th annual Dance DC Festival contact the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) at 202.724.5613 or visit The DCCAH presents the concerts with support from the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. The concerts are produced by DESHO Productions.

Directions: The Woodrow Wilson Plaza is located at the Ronald Reagan building and International Trade Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, and is easily accessible via Metro (Federal Triangle or Metro Center).

Treve de blues
- Leon Damas

WELCOME TO THE E MAG. An invitation into the words of others.


I can remember well when I was a very young writer and would meet “published” authors, something which seemed magical to me at the time. If I happened to be familiar with the writer’s work, my questions would often veer towards which of their books they valued the most. I wanted them to love the works that I loved; to validate my opinion that this book, or the other one, was the best.

Invariably, though, the answer was always the book they had just finished writing. In many cases, the book was not even available to the public yet. Sometimes it was a work-in-progress, the book they were still daily struggling to finish. This mystified me, since, as a reader, I felt so attached to the work that they had published.

Fast forward to today, and I’m lucky enough to have produced a half-dozen books of my own. As I look up to take stock, I find that my favorite book is not the one that garnered the most reviews, or the one that remains in print and sells nicely ten years after first light, but the one that is coming out next year. It will be published by a University Press, which means I’m unlikely to retire on my earnings, and it is experimental – an attempt to stretch the memoir form – so readers may be left scratching their heads by certain chapters. But the book tickles the hell out of me. I am so proud.

Maybe every author would say this. I’m not sure.

It pleases me greatly to talk about this ubiquitous “new book rapture” on Ethelbert’s blog today, since he figures into my newest effort. Though I have known Ethelbert for many years, we haven’t spent that much time together. More often, we pass in hallways at literary conferences, express joy to see one another, trade a few tidbits of life information, and hurry off to our next meeting or panel. Once, though, I had the honor of spending an entire day with Ethelbert, and sadly, significantly, that day was September 11, 2001.

Here then is an excerpt from Chapter 17, of my new book, Between Panic and Desire (University Of Nebraska Press, 2008):

I leave the Wyndham, locate my car, and drive a mile north to pick up my friend, Ethelbert Miller. Miller will be reading and talking to my students back in central Pennsylvania, and I am his chauffeur for the day.

We head north on Georgia Avenue about the time that two commercial airliners take off from Boston; we leave the District and enter rural Maryland at around the moment the first of those planes slams into the World Trade Center in New York. A third plane hits the Pentagon as we pass Hagerstown.

We are just crossing over into Pennsylvania when the last plane is forced to the ground, perhaps by heroic passengers, only about fifty miles from where we are driving.
But we don’t know any of this.

My car radio is switched off because Ethelbert and I are busy talking. We are both worried about the situation in the Middle East, where Israeli defense forces and Palestinian police have been trading gunfire, and now missile fire, back and forth for weeks. Ethelbert experienced missile attacks in Baghdad some years previously, when he was there as a guest poet, during the Iraq-Iran War.

He tells me just how frightening an experience it was for him. “Americans are not used to bombs.” With the rapidly escalating tensions on the West Bank, Ethelbert is concerned that terrorism will escalate worldwide.

“What you have to watch for is a change in the profile of the terrorists,” he tells me. “If the faces of the terrorists change, that will tell you something. If the extent of the terrorism goes beyond where it is now, that will tell you something too.”

Only later, when we stop for lunch in a small Greek restaurant, do we get a hint of how prescient Ethelbert’s comments have been.

It was a sad, powerful day for sure. But at least I got to spend it with someone big-hearted, clear-headed, and filled with hope.

Thanks, Ethelbert.


Dinty W. Moore’s other books include The Accidental Buddhist, Toothpick Men, The Emperor’s Virtual Clothes, and the writing guide, The Truth of the Matter: Art and Craft in Creative Nonfiction. He has published essays and stories in The Southern Review, The Georgia Review, Harpers, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Utne Reader, and Crazyhorse, and he edits BREVITY, the on-line journal of concise creative nonfiction.


Listening to Alice Coltrane's TRANSLINEAR LIGHT.
It was produced by Ravi Coltrane.

I kept thinking there's bound to be something else. I could hear it sometimes, but I couldn't play it.

- Charlie Parker

Grace Paley 1922-2007
Memorial for Liam Rector
1949 - 2007

Saturday, September 22, 2007
2 p.m.

St. Marks Church In-the-Bowery
131 East 10th St.
New York, New York 10003

(for Liam)

This is what it sounds like
when doves cry.

- Prince

The poets sat on the roofs
of their homes speechless
and not a poem in sight.
Floods sweeping away
every word they could imagine.

There was no dry earth,
no memory of land.
Only the water was endless.
It was as if history was drowning
and man was struggling to invent air.

- E. Ethelbert Miller

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Bryant talk or Bush talk?

" We believe this sport is ours to dominate. We want to claim back what we believe is rightfully ours. It's not going to be easy at all. I'm sure there are plenty of countries that are going to have something to say about that."
- Kobe Bryant getting ready for the FIBA Americas Championship
More cultural notes this morning:

I watched "Anchorwoman" which aired on Fox last night. I found the show to be so funny.
It really captures what's wrong with the media these days. I wonder what Rather thought about all this...
Lauren Jones has a 1 day hit.

Talking Texas - those Texas Rangers were shooting Orioles like Dick Cheney yesterday.
That's more offense than the Redskins can find on any given Sunday.

Good news - Don Zimmer coming back to baseball next year for his 60th season. The Zim.
How many times did he get hit in the head while playing?
Earlier this year the Devil Rays honored Zimmer with a Zimmer bobblehead doll. Wish I had one to go with my Lincoln Bobblehead. Nothing like a Zim. Remember the fight with Pedro?

Ichiro is at .349. Three points behind Ordonez.
Where is my NAAC P?
So the head of the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP urged the NFL to allow Vick to play in the league after he serves his sentence.
Oh- here is R.L.White's statement:

"We further ask the NFL, Falcons and the sponsors not to permanently ban Mr. Vick from his ability to bring hours of enjoyment to fans all over this country."

Did DuBois ever own a dog?
More Rhee. I think she seems to be doing well. Her interview is fresh and you just want to support her and get the schools on track. But turn the page of today's District Extra (Post) and there is Allen Lew (The Fix-it man) overwhelmed with just making repairs. Maintenance is crucial but we don't focus on it. We often cut maintenance staff. We don't pay them. Talk about teachers not making any money- what about maintenance folks? Which brings me back to my work area at the Captstone. Any new president who runs this place (next year) better place maintenance and repair at the top of the list. Every time I come to work I'm reminded that HU is a DC school too. Hey - but I got new lights this summer!! Come see.
It's all about the culture?

Here is what Education Chancellor Michelle Rhee says in today's Washington Post about the DC school system:

Q. How will your leadership on the issues that you just outlined make a difference?

A. I think they're going to make a tremendous difference, because if you look at some of the things that are the reasons why the district is in the state that it is, it's because there is not the right culture and not the right orientation from the people who are working within the district.

Now let's stop right there. How is the word culture being used in this statement/remark?
Run the same statement back at a different speed and add race to it. Stop the statment and now run it again and add geography to it. Is Rhee talking about Africa or Haiti?
Ok- let's do one final test - run the statement again but this time, run it backwards through time. Hmmm. The word culture now seems to be very colonial. What do you think?

So maybe the problem is that for all these years black people have not been running the DC school system - and maybe even the government well. The failure not to raise racial issues can create problems down the road. So now we're back to those Post-Katrina remarks - maybe this is a third world nation. Now what? Do we dial 911- Europe?
So I'm leaving the HU campus yesterday and I walk down Georgia Avenue. Right before I get to Florida Avenue there is a brother selling books like in the old days - Paul Coates before there was a Black Classic and Bro. Yao before there was a Karibu. I stop and look at the book titles.
Ugh. Nothing but nothing. If this is what "street lit" is all about then I need a dog to curb. Who says you can't judge a book by its cover? Oh, and this stuff was too close to the Capstone of Negro Education. Instead of walking I should have been driving a "Woodson" - someone needed to knock over this stand and let the books spill like spoiled fruit. So not too many of us are reading these days?? This could be a good thing if we look at what we're consuming. OK - let's talk class and race. Let's talk about standards and good lit, etc. Let's have the discussion because we need to get in shape and these books are putting too much sugar in our blood. Diabookish? On another level with all the violence around us these days - these books can also be responsible for" head "wounds. Yes, reading bad books is like pulling the trigger. Bang. Bang. So you say - you just read the books for the sex and the romance? Geez -this makes my "DuBois" shrink. Who will protect my James Weldon Johnson?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Rumor has it that Ethelbert is on the big screen tonight:

Film showing - A WEIGH WITH WORDS: An inside look at how words create conflict or compassion.
This film is created by DC public high school students.

Regal Gallery Place Cinemas
Gallery Place/Downtown DC
August 22 - 7:30 PM

Admission is $15
Newseum and the National Archives present:

50 Years After Little Rock: The Media and the Movement
6:30 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 23

In September 1957, nine black students walked into Little Rock’s all-white Central High School, striking down a key barrier to integration. As the efforts of the “Little Rock Nine” helped define the civil rights era, the media played a crucial role in calling the public’s attention to the issue. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of these historic events, the Newseum and the National Archives Experience present “50 Years After Little Rock: The Media and the Movement.” The program will include a clip from the Newseum’s documentary on the civil rights movement and the media. It is produced by the Newseum’s Frank Bond, former anchor and reporter at WUSA-TV. Bond will then moderate a discussion on the media’s coverage of Little Rock and the civil rights movement then and now.

Dorothy Gilliam, former columnist, The Washington Post, who covered the Little Rock events for the Tri-State Defender

Gene Roberts, Pulitzer Prize-winning editor and author of The Race Beat

William G. McGowan Theater
National Archives
7th and 9th Streets, N.W. (Constitution Avenue entrance)
Washington, D.C.
Reservations are not required

I can't believe Nook Logan got 5 hits yesterday.
Nook is hitting .349 since the All-Star break.
I just can't believe it. This kid looked so lost several weeks ago. Now he is finding a hit in every nook...

All the sports writers are coming down on Vick. But remember all those dogs players around the league had -go back and check the posters. you don't want to blame the Hip Hop image.
But I do recall everyone calling folks" dog" and Pitbulls being cool if you had one. Remember? Was that back in the day? Folks were training dogs for fighting and folks were looking the other way. Now all the barking is biting someone's NFL butt. The media never talks about things until the media starts talking about things. Sounds so Orwell doesn't it?

It's all about hype and image. Look at Kobe back in the light leading the U.S.A. team.
The catch with the Kick the Vick these days is that he was going down the Barry Bonds road anyway. Falcons were expected to fly high the last two years. But it never happened. Vick makes the highlights but the team ain't playoff bound. So in the end Vick looked like Barry Sanders playing for the Lions. Sweet moves - but the same record - no wins and folks will try to find a door for you. Vick leaves the Falcons right where they were going- without expectations. But what if this team could get to the playoffs? Vick who? Who's the dog biscuit now?
Jon Lucien - Singer. Dead at the age of 65.
So much romance in this man's voice.
You made love on the days he sang.
Quote of the Day:

This is the third time I've lost my house in the rains. This year the rains were worse, and the waters are deeper. But in the end it's the same. I have nothing left.

- Shankar, a landless laborer in Malinagar, India.
So many things going on in the world - Prayers for Peru (and the earthquake survivors).
So many people without water and shelter.
The International Slavery Museum opens in Liverpool, England tomorrow.
The museum director is Richard Benjamin.
This is the Bicentenary of the 1807 British law that banned the slave trade.
The sun never sets on the children of Africa.
My friend Mary Carroll-Hackett just started her blog. Here is a link:

Mary is the editor of THE DOS PASSOS REVIEW.
A publication of Longwood University.
Liam Rector was on the editorial board.
Quote of the Day:

The arts and sciences are connected. Scientists have to have a metaphor. All scientists start with imagination.

- Ray Bradbury
Some pictures just make you turn away and then look again. Some pictures make you think about life and then you're angry and wonder why only angels have wings. Take a look at Nina Berman's photograph - MARINE WEDDING in The New York Times today. (Section B5)
It's included in Nina Berman: Purple Hearts exhibit at the Jen Bekman Gallery, 6 Spring Street, between the Bowery and Elizabeth Street. 212 219 -0166.
Good News: Haleh Esfandiari was freed on bail in Iran. She had been jailed in Iran since May.
Today is Sekou Sundiata's birthday. We celebrate the memories - we sing praises.
Note from the President and Provost of Bennington College:
for Liam Rector

To the Writing Seminars Community,

We write to express our deepest shock and sadness about the death of Liam Rector.
13 years ago Liam began what has become a remarkable program--renown across the country and indeed, across the world.

The Bennington Writing Seminars and its community of writers is a major part of Liam's legacy as an educator.

We know we will celebrate Liam's life and work together during the January residency and will keep you informed as plans take shape.

--Liz Coleman and Elissa Tenny

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

So who will bus the poets to the new Busboys and Poets? Pam? AndyMan?
Here is the address:

4251 S. Campbell Avenue
Arlington, VA 22206

Oh, can't you see all those poets leaving 14th & V Street, NW and heading to the river? Oh Karintha can't you see it?Just like Langston. Oh -throw those old poems into the Potomac. Please throw them. The women sitting outside the new Busboys will have skin like dusk on the eastern horizon...when the sun goes down. Oh, I can't wait to see them. Karintha?

A new Busboys and Poets will need new poetry.

Is there Peace on the otherside of the river? Who will save the District if folks flock to Virginia?
Marion blow your horn.

Oh, don't let the butcher cut you down.

British Airways has lost the bags of more than 555,000 customers in the first half of this year.
See the article "Welcome to London: Your Luggage Is Missing" in The Wall Street Journal today.

Tea anyone?
How long will Maliki be head of the Iraqi Government? What's the next stage?
Maliki seems to be trapped like Michael Vick but without the dogs. This guy might need a lawyer soon too. How can he explain the political situation in his country? Without a surge in political movement a successful military surge won't mean much. This must be Pentagon 001.
Or is that the class where we learn Arabic?
Rep.Tom Tancredo might need to be watched if his campaign gets votes. TnT? The guy is speaking out against immigration the way he also wanted to bomb Mecca. How can this guy be a serious candidate for president? Can you imagine if this guy is on the ticket in 2008??? This is a Pat Buchanan space shuttle back in the air. Sometimes colorful language is nothing but dirty language and it divides and hurts the political sphere. The more airtime Tancredo gets, the more he will try to wrap himself inside the American flag. If folks buy into this stuff, brownshirts will begin to show up in the laundry and dry cleaners.
The case of Elvira Arellano is a very important one. More discussion is needed on the status of illegal immigrants. Meanwhile, we need to look beyond the concepts of geographical borders.
Are they outdated? The growth of nationalism and sectarian strife is linked to identity problems being created by a shrinking world. If you want everyone to speak the same language use a computer.
Not even Fidel did this:
Hugo Chavez has decided to move the clocks forward by half an hour at the start of 2008.
He claims it will help the metabolism and productivity.
The nation is also planning to move to a six-hour workday.

Maybe I'm an Oilhead but what's going to happen next?
Question for the Day:

Where is Nicky Parsons?
John Koblin in The New York Observer (August 20, 2007) tells some funny Phil Rizzuto stories.
Here is an excerpt:

"He was famous for leaving early sometimes," said Mr. Appel, talking about Rizzuto. "Sometimes he would get up in the seventh inning and he'd say, ' White, can I get you a cup of coffee?' Then we wouldn't see him until the next day and he'd walk in holding a cup of coffee and say, 'Here's your cup of coffee, White."' "You know, you have these people who keep these precious and immaculate scorecards," he continued. "Then you'd look at Phil's and it would be filled with the initials 'WW,' which stood for 'wasn't watching.'"

Ah Scooter - we miss you.
I can still hear you calling Roger Maris hitting that 61st homerun.
The Queen of Busboys (Pam) is back from Africa. It was good to see her glow yesterday. Ginger G and I listened to her talk about her trip. I had a tuna salad sandwich and those lovely home fries that I like. In early afternoon G dropped me off at Howard. I'm still on vacation but it's good to see what the Talented Tenth is doing now and then. I looked for a few DuBois jackets but didn't see any. What are the Souls of Black Folks wearing these days?

In the mail was a copy of Eugene Redmond's Drumvoices Revue. I read this magazine for its pictures. Redmond has a Gordon Parks personality. Funny how the guy with the best smile is always looking through the camera. Anyway, this latest issue has an interview with Quincy Troupe that I plan to read today. Back in the old days, I did one of my first poetry readings with Eugene Redmond and Lance Jeffers. This was over on 18th Street at Dingane's Den. Bob Stokes was putting cultural programs together without a band. Redmond is a long distance runner. Many of the writers in Drumvoices wear their kente well. They remind me of the 1970s, when we were all black and said Pan African things with our tongues. Now it's hard to find an afro in the crowd and the N word is in the graveyard. What happened to all the pretty N---? Why are the poets in Drumvoices still smiling? The revolution is always funny when it's over.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Dear Ernie Banks,
The Cubs are in 1st place. Please come to the ticket counter.
“My poem can see/My poem can read/My poem isn’t food
But it does fill a need.”
Krystal White, WritersCorps middle school participant

Dear Friend;

DC WritersCorps again needs your help to ensure that DC public school students like Krystal have the opportunity to strengthen their literacy skills in our weekly writing workshops and improve their opportunities for higher education in our youth development programs.

DC WritersCorps lost nearly a third of our expected budget when long-time funder, the Fannie Mae Foundation dissolved in 2007. Our board is working diligently to provide long-term solutions and other funders will be stepping up in 2008. However, we need your help now in the short term to ensure that we can provide a 13th year of academic and youth development support through our mentoring and writing workshops.

Since 1994, we have established ourselves as a local, regional, and national resource for teen writing programs. In 2005, we received the Jacob and Charlotte Lehrman “Impact Award” for our innovative service to DC youth. In 2005-2006 our collaborations with other community-based partners, allowed us to reach nearly 1,000 students with workshops and performances. Our 2kNation Youth Radio Project has sent over 90% of its participants on to college to major in mass communications and is the nation’s only live, primetime, youth-run radio program.

We hope that you will support us with a fully tax-deductible donation to DC WritersCorps. Your support will allow us to serve over 500 middle, junior, and high school students this upcoming school year in our free weekly writing workshops. Yes, you can make a difference through your generosity.

Below are suggested donation levels; however, whatever amount you decide to give will provide direct support for our writing workshops and will, as Krystal White states in her poem, “fill a need.” You can go to the following sites to donate or

We greatly appreciate your contributions and your support.


Timothea Howard
Board President

Your generous gift to the DC WritersCorps supports the programs and resources for students in the District of Columbia. Help us continue to transform young lives through the power of the written word.

What Your Giving Supports
$5,000 supports a year-long WritersCorps residency by our accomplished writing professionals at a DC public middle school. We serve, on average, 50 students per school and we provide them with journals, transportation, and a writing mentor for the school year.

$1,000 supports our After-School writing clubs and Youth Poetry Slam League programs. Our writing instructors help students find positive outlets for their creative and intellectual talents through monthly poetry readings which culminate in the Youth Poetry Slam League Championship at the Kennedy Center.

$500 supports older students in our Youth Apprentice Program who accompany our adult writers into the middle school to teach peer writing workshops and to give back to their community as they learn.

$250 supports our 2kNation radio journalism project where students get hands on experience in journalism, production, and mass communications by producing public affair shows that focus on youth and families. In its 3rd year, 2kNation has graduated over a dozen students who have gone on to major in mass communications at colleges and universities across America.

$100 supports publication of anthologies that feature the poetry of students from every DC public middle school. The powerful writing and expressions of our students are highlighted in these poignant and powerful anthologies, which are provided free of charge to parents, students and school personnel.

Donate via Website:
Please go to
Click on the "Ways to Help" button
Scroll down and click on the "Donate Now" button
or, go to
Howard University
by Patricia Smith.
Hip Hop:

International Association for Hip Hop Education Conference
"Rebuilding Hip Hop Culture Brick by Brick'' Starting with our Youth

Date: Friday, September 28th, 2007
Time: 8:30 am- 3:30 pm
Location: National Music Center
Historic Carnegie Library
801 K Street NW

After Party: Bohemian Caverns 2001 11th Street NW For more information contact:IAHHE: 202-261-6690Email: Thanks
Upcoming poetry readings:
G- DAY. A day with Ginger G.
"So good to be alive when the eulogy is read."
- Phil Ochs

Charlie Parker looked like Buddha
- Jack Kerouac

Talking with Cilla Hodgkins last night about Liam. Somewhere someone placed a Max Roach tune on and said listen to this. Music and memories like peanut butter and jelly. Your Mom making the sandwich in the kitchen. You don't have a care in the world. You haven't lived beyond your home. If you knew how many things were falling down and collapsing from wars and natural disasters - you would start crying all over again. Peru and Jamaica replacing Hawaii
and the land does the shimmy in Japan. Nothing makes sense anymore and it all does. You could be sitting in a shelter next week trying to get way from a storm. Your head in your hands as if you were be bop player waiting for a solo. Where did all this music in your head come from? The pain and joy pushing against the walls of your heart. Oh, Jericho- Parker was a prophet. After the rain you will need prayers to plant on earth as if this was heaven. Consider this to be a grace period. What's coming next? The wind tears you away from your mother's dress. Too much heat in the kitchen and the butcher sends his best. Is that jelly on your hands or the reminder that you once loved a woman somewhere out west? She flooded your life and told you the levees broke. Now every woman you meet sings like Katrina. I'm sitting here this morning writing on a roof. The water is rising but like sex I can't swim.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Funny how you can walk around with something and it would bite you if it was a snake. Do you remember when your Mom said that? Well -inside my copy of American Prodigal I found an interview Julia Galbus did with Liam Rector. Galbus was working on a paper about my work - "What Does the E Stand For?

Liam talked about our differences:

"Ethelbert has inherently communitarian values, while my values tend to be more focused on the individual and individual rights. While Ethelbert characterizes himself as a "literary activist," I characterize myself as a "cultural warrior," intent on the preservatioon of individual rights. Within our differences there's great rapport, and I think people partake of that rapport and those different orientations and definitions at Bennington."
Quote of the Day:

Though we have our own fundamentalists, we find it incomprehensible that theological ideas still stir up messianic passions, leaving societies in ruin. We had assumed this was no longer possible, that human beings had learned to separate religious questions from political ones, that fanaticism was dead. We were wrong.

- Mark Lilla "The Politics of God" in The New York Times Magazine (August 19, 2007)

Is this the 16th Century again? Where is thy maiden? Thy Queen?
Serfs UP. Everyone back into the castle.
It was fun being out at RFK yesterday and watching the Nats play the Mets. The fan base is becoming more diverse. When I went to some previous games I thought I was in Fenway Park. No colored people. Many Met fans in the stands Saturday- immigrants from Shea? It seems folks can only afford Reyes and Wright shirts. You know I had to represent my man at the game. So there I was in the middle of of all those Nats and Mets and I'm wearing my Ichiro jersey. Yeah baby. The Nats still need to obtain a few more key players. A leadoff hitter that can get on base. A quality CF. I don't see Nook Logan being the guy. He reminds me of a Kwame Brown on a baseball field. He swung at a few pitches yesterday and I wished someone had a tennis ball to throw at him. Meanwhile the double plays the Nats pull off are so sweet. Slick and sweet. You have to love this club and the Zim man at third. Oh, and they gave out those Abe Lincoln Bobbleheads yesterday. You know I had to get mine. I asked ABe if he was happy with how Emancipation had gone. His head moved both ways at once. It seems as if Lincoln hasn't changed.

I'm listening to Prince's Planet Earth CD. A gift from my friend Lorrie in Milwaukee. Thanks L.
Turn the year back to 1999 and call Mr. Goodnight.

I pulled Liam Rector's books off the shelf. Yes, the work is always what survives and it keeps us from feeling so alone. Nets. The words catch us even as we keep falling sorrow after sorrow.

AMERICAN PRODIGAL, THE SORROW OF ARCHITECTURE THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE FALLEN WORLD, these are the books Liam left us. Our hearts filled with memories.
It was Liam who gave me the nickname "the Gandhi of Washington" back in 1984. Peace be Still - rest well my freind. We shall continue the walk to the sea.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Quote of the Day:

Any great writer faces demons: artistic roadblocks, performance anxieties, the jazz vibrations suddenly pitching so low that silence seems to be taking the place of music.

- Wil Haygood
If I had to pick an MVP writer it would be Wil Haygood who writes for The Washington Post. Check his piece on Ralph Ellison in tomorrow's Washington Post Magazine. This guy can take the words to the basket like Wade on the Heat. You know it's coming but you didn't know it would look so good. Here's 2 pts you can judge for yourself:

"But Ellison hardly seemed to be measuring volume. The sword that he lay against was one of exactitude, flawlessness, grandness. The man in the apartment on Riverside Drive in Manhattan wrote as the leaves were falling, the snow was piling up, the wind was blowing, inflation was rising, night was falling, friends were dying."

So the new Ellison novel will be out next year - THREE DAYS BEFORE THE SHOOTING.

I'm heading out this evening to see the Nationals play the Mets. I'm gonna run now and get my shadow and act together. I feel so invisible these days. Where are my lightbulbs?
(G)ood News:
The Amazing Ginger G returns to town this weekend.
Who didn't let the dogs out?
Vick goes to jail for 2 years?Out in 18 months? That's my take on the matter. Look for the NFL to suspend him for a year too. So where will he play after all of this? Only one place - Oakland.
Fans won't forgive this no matter what type of spin you put on it. Sacked again. OJ Club.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Be Bop Be Bop
Max Roach dead at 83.
Who will go out and look for a drum now?
Bird, Monk and I'm Dizzy for Max.
Dear Abby - we miss him.

I've been talking and corresponding with Bennies around the country. Liam was loved by many.
So what happens to Bennington after LR? If this was the NBA draft I would go with April Bernard to run the Seminars.

Quote of the Day:

In "The Invasion," it's not Nicole Kidman's body that seems to have been snatched. It's her face.

- Sally Kline Examiner Movie Critic 8/17/07

Bob Dylan In Show and Concert - September 28th. Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD.

Need another war? THE WAR - A Ken Burns Film premieres September 23, 2007 on PBS.
SEven Episodes looking at WWII. The soundtrack to this film includes work by Norah Jones, Wynton Marsalis and Yo-Yo Ma. Can you imagine Burns giving us the war in Iraq? Music by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and James Brown? We All Live in A Yellow Submarine?

Don't forget Haleh Esfandiari.
She has been in an Iranian prison for 100 days. Esfandiari is the director of Middle East programs at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in DC.

Hey - The Byblos Deli on 3414 Conncticut Avenue, NW (DC)has great baklava.
I saw Ethelbert over there last week eating the Falafel Special. The boy looked Phoenician.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

What's Dan Moldea doing?
Remember your ABCs: Always Be Closing.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Save the date: October 13th

F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference
William Kennedy author of Ironweed will be honored.
Site: Rockville Campus of Montgomery College, Rockville MD.

Words for Liam Rector:

One friend less and you wonder why it's dark outside. Now you understand why you're still afraid of the dark. Hard to accept Liam's death. He was always right there to laugh and talk with. Email too. We met when he was working in a bookstore on Connecticut Avenue (DC)- it must have been one of those years in the 1970s -the Oakland As had those colorful uniforms. Liam and I talked about books and then he told me he wrote. I was working with the Washington Review - as a guest poetry editor - right after Lally left. I published one of Liam's long poems. It was also the beginning of a long friendship which seems so short tonight. Black Box days, NEA, The Folger Shakespeare Library, AWP, Bennington - I guess one could call them literary tours of duty. Liam was the type of writer who fought the good battles with knowledge, beer and something to smoke. Now and then we saw things from different perspectives but we were always on the same page - like pitchers and catchers. Liam throwing a perfect game in a literary World Series -call me Yogi - jumping into a friend's arms. Miss you Liam. Miss you too much for words.
LIAM RECTOR 1949 -2007.
Beloved friend, beloved literary comrade.
A person who touched my life in so many ways.

The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to:

Liam Rector Scholarship Fund
The Writing Seminars
Bennington College
One College Drive
Bennington, Vermont 05201
Rizzuto gone.
Holy Cow!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Quote of the Day:

At the same time that we're diligently confiscating water and toothpaste from air travelers, we're handling over guns and bullets by the trainload to yahoos bent on blowing others into eternity in armed robberies, drug-dealing, gang violence, domestic assaults and other criminal acts.

- Bob Herbert (NY Times, 8/14/07)


Charlie Parker Jazz Festival
August 25th at Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem and on Augsut 26th at Tompkins Square Park in the East Village. Both events are from 3 P.M. to 8 P.M.


Ford Foundation will have a new president - Luis A. Ubinas. He will succeed Susan V. Berresford in January. Ubinas grew up in the South Bronx. I guess there is still hope for me.

I'm taking a few days off. Resting and thinking about the future.
I went and saw Rush Hour 3 last night (Silver Spring, MD). Why did I do that?
Tucker and Chan should know better by now. You can't use the same jokes and antics in 3 films. You go to prison in some states for less. Go see Rush Hour 3 only for the bloopers and extra takes that were made during the making of the film. This is the best stuff. It's funny and shows that Tucker and Chan enjoy working together. Can we find these guys a new script before we get stuck in Rush Hour 4? If you see a film crew on the Beltway call 911.

Good move by Rice. Nice to see Cal Ripken being selected to be a Goodwill Ambassador. He should have been considered as a replacement for Rove. Not too late.

Talking Bush. Someone needs to raise in the Republican and Democratic debates a discussion about the Bush Doctrine. Do all the candidates running for the presidency endorse the idea of premptive strikes?
Who is feeling Rovian these days?

Halle B is 41 today. That's enough years to keep from doing another Cat Woman. How many movies left before she stops taking her clothes off and really acts?


The most visible joy can only reveal itself to us when we've transformed it, within.
- Rilke

Monday, August 13, 2007


Karl Rove has no college degree. Who will hire him now?
Abdul Ali's interview with E. Ethelbert Miller:

Sunday, August 12, 2007

I learned from his example to try to turn out the best work I'm capable of at that given moment, never giving in to the foolish world of hits and flops or succumbing to playing the glitzy role of the film director, but making a movie and moving on to the next one. Bergman made about 60 films in his lifetime, I have made 38. At least if I can't rise to his quality maybe I can approach his quantity.

- Woody Allen
Everywhere one looks, the results of decades of public neglect and underinvestment are clear: not only collapsing bridges and exploding steam pipes but traffic-choked streets, clogged ports, corroded drinking-water systems and power brownouts. From 1950 to 1970 the government spent more than 3 percent of GDP on infrastructure. After 1980, that figure dropped by more than a third.

Editorial (THE NATION) August 27/September3, 2007
Two worlds meet constantly in my head:
Everything is love and loss.

- A. Van Jordan
It's nothing but straw and it's Iowa. So what did Rom win? The Republican field of candidates is very weak. Can any of these guys develop a constructive foreign policy? They can't even deal with immigration issues. Strange to see no diversity in the Republican Party in 2007. No woman or even a strange colored conservative in the ring. Is this the Party of old white men?
American literature doesn't even look like this anymore. The Republicans need a new textbook.
Oh- and what about the war? Do these guy s have an exit plan? Or is it just Win -Win. Which brings me to the Washington Redskins. I watched the 1st quarter of the preseason game and please - one must admit that Campbell is not a great QB. Average at best. For every two mistakes he will give you one good play. That means the club is an 8-8 team. Which brings me back to the Republicans. Who can you trade these guys for? Poor Rudy- what would he do if there was another terrorist attack? Wear a New York Yankee cap?

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Hi Holiness The Dalai Lama will be in New York City on October 12/13/14.
Radio City Music Hall
or call 212 307 5554.
BusinessWeek magazine is good this week (August 20&27). Checkout the special double issue that examines the Future of Work.
There is also an article in this issue about what might happen if the levees in California fail.
The levees run east from the San Francisco Bay area up to Sacramento. That's 2,600 miles.
The levees could be damaged by an earthquake. The US needs to repair so many things that are aging. Look for I-35W to become as important as 9/11. Face the numbers now or face the music later. What's going to collapse next? Is that the stock market falling? We might be singing the "China Blues" and have to recall everything. Where was my black skin made? Let me check the label. Oh, no! It says made in------.
Bringing back the draft?
Not a good idea. For a generation of young people who have cell phones, this is not the right call.
A draft would really divide the country. Look for more protests. One would have to draft women as well as men. Might a draft also pull the military into remedial education? How much will that cost? Why draft people when so much money is being placed into robotics? Flights to Canada again? The draft will make people question how the war started in the first place. One also has to look at how we are treating our military right now. The absence of good health treatment after injuries, unemployment after service, etc. Right now we are hearing complaints from people who wanted to serve in the military. Imagine talking to young people who lost an arm or leg and were drafted. No nice smiles for the press. No the draft is a bad idea. It might be easier to pass a National Service bill. Have young people help repair old bridges and levees. That might be a better call to make.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Quote of the Day:

In New York, hip hop has become a business pretending to be a culture.

- Greg Tate, Cultural Critic.
It must be a Red Cross indeed.

Sad to read about Katrina survivors fighting with the American Red Cross over funds.
The Cross says it wants to be protected from the fraud and abuse that marred the distribution of money after the storm. But why give people a 20 page application to fill out?? That sounds like an old trick to prevent voter registration. Did you know the Cross typically addresses the immediate needs of disaster victims and leaves long-term recovery to other organizations?
I guess that's like someone throwing you a bottle of water while you're on a rooftop and not giving you anything to drink when you get down.
Or better yet meet with your caseworker in 2009.

Highway accidents are the most common cause of job-related fatalities.
Another mine accident in Indiana.
It's getting to dark to see...
News from Nimah Ismail Nawwab:
Quote of the Day:

When Mr. Booker took office 13 months ago there were high hopes - in Newark and nationally - that he would bring the city together and turn it around. The killings have dimmed those hopes and further divided the city. A group of protesters outside City Hall early this week called for Mr. Booker's resignation.

NY Times Editorial (8-10-07)

Where will Mayor Fenty (DC) be in 13 months?
The Other Election:

Cindy Sheehan is going to run against Pelosi. How many votes will she get. Not many.
I thought she was going to retire.
The next thing you know Reggie Miller will be playing basketball for the Celtics.
Not a pretty picture:

In the New York Times today there is a picture of Taslima Nasreen being attacked. She is the exiled Bangladeshi author and feminist. Nasreen had a chair, leather case, bunches of flowers thrown at her in Hyderabad, India at a publication party. Seems like 1994 all over again.
I heard Nasreen speak once at Vertigo in College Parks. She's tough and outspoken. I gave her a copy of a poem I had written in her voice. I had no idea one day I would meet her.


Where is my voice?
I can no longer write
without a veil over my words.
This silence is not prayer.
Is my talent gift or curse?
How do I celebrate my sex
without offending my God?
Inside the garden of my country
I am Eve afraid of Adam.
Ichiro Watch:

At .350 Ichiro is back to leading the AL in batting.
So I'm reading the latest VIBE. This is what happens when you have too many frequent flyer miles and you have to select some magazines. Jeff Chang has an article on Barack Obama - worth reading. Unfortunately the first thing I read was some comment by Russell Simmons. It made me like Oprah. One of the major things missing when folks open their mouths is that they have no ideology. They have no way of looking at the world except trying to keep it real - which is the problem in the first place. Hey - even Hugo in South America is trying to invent a new socialism. Other parts of the world want 5 pillars and prayers. I can understand that...but what do we want here in America? What is our vision of a better society? One where someone is dropping pain in my air and ear or Coltrane playing "A Love Supreme?" It's your choice but if you can't tell the "higher" music find a cameo in the new Caveman series. It's not about what you're against - it's what are you for? What will be our values in the new society? No, you just can't do what you want without understanding how it might impact on others. Nuff said. We need to be honest and look at our ass more - and see ourselves.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Writers on the MOVE:

There is a Washington DC African-American Writer's Guild Planning Meeting on Saturday, August 11, 2007 from 5:00-6:30 pm at Starbuck's on 14th St (700 14th Street NW. Washington, DC 20005) near the Columbia Heights Metro (Green Line).

The Agenda will be distributed at the meeting.
Poetry with Cool Kenny C:

Friday, August 10, 7:00 PM
Anacostia Museum, 1901 Fort Place, SE
Washington, DC 20020

For Poets and Poetry Lovers of Every Shape and Size!

For the 2nd year, DC WritersCorps will lead a poetry slam and open mic poetry session as part of the Anacostia Museum’s summer programming.

The readings lead by Isaac Colon and Kenny Carroll are open to youth and adults and will feature other young poets from DC WritersCorps.

This event is free and open to the public.

For more information call 202 633-4866

This event will be repeated on Friday, August 24, 2007 at 7:00 PM
Karibu Schedule:

September Celebrate Literacy!

What We are Reading Now!
Book of the Month
An Unbroken Agony: Haiti, from Revolution to the Kidnapping of a President by Randall Robinson

Conversation with Randall Robinson presented by CEO/Owner of Karibu Books Simba Sana
Monday, September 17
6:30 p.m. The Mall at Prince Georges
Join CEO/Owner of Karibu Books, Simba Sana for a special one one with Randall Robinson for a discussion, Q&A and signing of his new book An Unbroken Agony: Haiti, from Revolution to the Kidnapping of a President

Interested in Writing a Book?
Friday, September 21
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. The Mall at Prince Georges
Karibu Presents "Write NOW" Inde Pen Series
Presented by Sandra Mizell Chaney author of Give it to Her The Gift of Healing and Restoration

Saturday, September 22
2:00 p.m. The Mall at Prince Georges
Edwidge Dandicat will discuss and sign her new book Brother I’m Dying

Friday, September 28
7:00 p.m. The Mall at Prince Georges
Join Eddie Levert & Lyah LeFlore will sign their new book I Got Your Back: A Father and Son Keep it Real About Love, Fatherhood, Family, and Friendship

Dwayne Betts – Karibu’s Poet in Residence Presents!
Saturday, September 29
2:00 p.m. The Mall at Prince Georges
2005 Cave Canem Prize winner Constance Quarterman Bridges reads from and signs her new collection of poetry Lions Don’t Eat Us

Saturday, September 29
5:00 p.m. The Mall at Prince Georges
Join Percy Miller a.k.a. Master P for a meet, greet and book signing his new book Guaranteed Success

Saturday, September 8
5:00 p.m. Bowie Town Center
Black Writer’s Guild presents
Topic: Where Do I Go From HereYou have a manuscript, and want to know how to get it into print. Learn how to set realistic goals, establish a support network and believe in yourself.

Saturday, September 15
We’re Celebrating Literacy
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Bowie Town Center
Hey KaribuKIDS! Gather around for story time, play games, win prizes, enjoy performances and meet special guests. Staff reading Afro-Bet Book of Black Heroes from A to Z: An Introduction to Important Black Achievers for Young Readers

Saturday, September 29
2:00 p.m. Bowie Town Center
Leroy McKenzie will sign his new book Young and Gifted The new Generation of Entrepreneurship

Interested in Writing a Book?
Saturday, September 22
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Iverson Mall
Karibu Presents "Write NOW" Inde Pen Series
Facilitated by Ryan C. Greene author of Success is in Your Hands 19 Keys To Unlocking The Successful Person You Were Were Designed To Be

Featured authors…
Marcus A. White - Time Served: An Excerpt of a Prisoner's Life
Lindsay S. Marsh, MD - The Best Sex of My LIfe: a guide to purity
Caarne L. Elliotte – The Gospel According to My Hair: Spiritual Growth on the Waves of New Growth
S.F. Powell - Like Sweet Buttermilk
James A. Jimason - Dante's Destiny Nothing is What it Seems

Saturday, September 8
2:00 p.m. Pentagon City Mall
Kelvin Lassiter will sign his new book The Interview, How To Discover Your Untapped Potential

Wednesday, September 266:30 p.m. Pentagon City MallJoin Stacey Patton for meet, greet and book signing for her new book That Mean Old Yesterday

BOOK RELEASE CELEBRATION!Saturday, September 292:00 p.m. Pentagon City MallJoin Charmine Waldon for a meet, greet and book signing celebrating the release of her new book Renewed Mind Let It Begin With Me Enjoy light appetizers and promotional giveaways!

Saturday, September 8
2:00 p.m. Security Square Mall
Join Rev. Burgess for a meet, greet and book signing Understanding the Ways of God

Saturday, September 22
2:00 p.m. Security Square Mall
George R. Monroe, Jr. will read from and sign Release me to be a Blessing.
New film from Chelly Lewis:

New Growth: The Natural Progression (a film about hair) on You Tube:

Please let me know if you have a program that would support my efforts. I can send you more info about myself and the film- just let me know.

Michelle Lewis
The poetry of ARACELIS GIRMAY:

visit the Bill Moyers Journal web site at:

or visit, Wisconsin Public Radio's "Here on Earth" with Jean Feraca