Thursday, May 31, 2012


Celebrated Illustrator of Children's Books.


Tricycle Daily Dharma May 31, 2012

Learning to Let Go

In the West, you have the expression that you wouldn’t wish something on your worst enemy. From a spiritual standpoint, we can adopt a similar point of view. If you experience loss, you can pray that your loss may substitute for the loss of others, so that even your worst enemy may not have to suffer. This is a good way of letting go.
- Gehlek Rimpoche, "An Interview with Gehlek Rimpoche"


Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden: Resonate Beauty

We live in a violent world, yet one still filled with warmth and beauty which sometimes is hard to find. For all of the technological achievements and even religious affirmations the human creature, allegedly the most advanced, has not yet figured out how to put an end to military conflict and gratuitous murder. The television and the internet inform us instantaneously of global and local atrocities. Children, I believe, are the hope for a better future, but even they are subjected to heinous behavior. And there is a growing celebration of vulgar and hateful language that accompanies the seemingly endless strife. All of this noise settles in and finds refuge in our psyches. NOISE! Sometimes we don’t even know it’s there.

To those of us sensitive to these problems music is a medium of healing, but it requires a degree of patience to listen and absorb. Keith Jarrett wrote the liner notes to Jasmine, his 2010 release with bassist Charlie Haden. This is the point he makes about music and this album in particular. The beauty and magic of music (art), he adds, is dying “and so is listening” because we are distracted by so much NOISE. Listening, the interpretation of resonance, has become highly underrated and increasingly difficult to do as technology “advances” civilization. Because the ear, Ethelbert assures us, “is an organ made for love” what we hear, be it beautiful or ugly, forms an impression on the heart.

Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden have created a space of resonate beauty that, in the words of late drummer Art Blakey “…washes away the dust of everyday life.” Play this album at night as the jasmine flower blooms. Make time, listen to it and share its beauty with someone you love; share it with anyone in need of healing. It’s what they intended you to do.

Listen to Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden’s 2010 album Jasmine

Keith Jarrett, piano
Charlie Haden, double bass

For All We Know

Where Can I Go Without You

No Moon At All

One Day I’ll Fly Away


I’m Gonna Laugh You Right Out of My Life

Body And Soul


Don’t Ever Leave Me


A stack of books on my desk. Summer reading:

SUMMERTIME by J.M. Coetzee
YEARS OF RED DUST by Qiu Xiaolong
WANTED WOMEN by Deborah Scroggins
WE CAN ALL DO BETTER by Bill Bradley


Hey, is it possible we made it through a couple of weeks without hearing anything about (or from) Sarah Palin?


There is a two page interview with Mitt Romney in the latest issue of Time magazine. The guy says nothing. It's amazing how the nation can consider replacing Obama with him. There is also a race issue that one needs to mention here. I find it interesting that white opponents of the President often talk about how Obama "doesn't understand" something. I can see having a different viewpoint and perspective from the President but don't talk about the guy's inability to grasp an issue. Couldn't Obama make the case that Romney just doesn't "understand" foreign affairs? 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012



Head Coach: Nyere Miller

Miller enters his first season as the Head Men’s Basketball Coach.  Miller brings intercollegiate coaching and playing experience to SCC.  Most recently, he was the assistant men’s basketball coach at NCAA Division III Widener University for three years.  His responsibilities as the assistant men’s basketball coach included: recruiting, player development, student-athlete academic success, scouting reports, and team travel arrangements.

A former Gonzaga College High School basketball standout, Miller then played collegiately at Widener University. The two year captain contributed to his teams’ success with three Commonwealth Conference titles and four appearances in the NCAA Tournament.  Miller currently holds the single season steal record (92) and is second in school history with 256 career steals.

A Crisis Specialist for Resources for Human Development, Miller holds a bachelor's degree in business administration with a concentration in sports management from Widener University.

Quote of the Day

When the artist gets into some sort of disagreement with politics why are the politicians designated to be the ones to tell us, the artists, what to do and we're supposed to follow - otherwise we're not good citizens or we're not good?"

   - Paul Simon


War-crimes court sentences Charles Taylor to 50 years

LEIDSCHENDAM, Netherlands — Judges at an international war crimes court have sentenced former Liberian President Charles Taylor to 50 years in prison following his landmark conviction for supporting rebels in Sierra Leone who murdered and mutilated thousands during their country’s brutal civil war in return for blood diamonds, the Associated Press reported.
Prayers for Italy. Every earthquake is followed by the heavy blues.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012


I had lunch at the Blind Dog Cafe with my friend Lisa Markuson. She's one of the people behind making this a sweet space in the city.  I also met Greer and David - good people who seemed to be blessed with happiness and talent. The food was tasty and the cookie Lisa and I shared was divine. Funny, how many times I passed this place without stopping to go in. This must be a happening spot at night. It has a Cheers feel to it.



    (for Stephen Henderson)

I arrive at work early...
Summer just beginning.

The campus is empty.
I hear red flowers singing

near the Fine Arts building.
Where is the blackness

so many talk about
and try to teach?

What is behind the closed
doors and windows?

Who will speak of the hope
buried beneath this earth?

The trees near Douglass Hall
tremble, then lean into history.

   -  E. Ethelbert Miller


I remember riding a tricycle and crashing into a parked car on Longwood Avenue in the South Bronx.

My little bike left a long scratch on the car door. It was the type of incident that made you rush home and hide under the bed. It was the type of incident that makes people hate kids. I know all this now - many years later. I don't know how to drive a car and I never learned how to ride a bike. I was always attracted to faster ways of reaching my destination. I've always been an advocate of good public transportation. I want trains and buses to run on time. I want the Metro service in the black community to be just as good as everywhere else. Nothing worse than seeing Rosa Parks "waiting" for a bus. Our failure to put money into better public transportation has resulted in the birth of the bike people. Why in the 21st century are we so into bikes?  It seems so Emerson. Didn't the Wright brothers move from a bike business into airplanes?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Thank you Lloyd Peterson 

Douglas Brinkley's New Book!

Available Today!

"...sweeping and masterful biography..."
For decades, Walter Cronkite was known as "the most trusted man in America." Millions across the nation welcomed him into their homes, first as a print reporter for the United Press on the front lines of World War II, and later, in the emerging medium of television, as a host of numerous documentary programs and as anchor of the CBS Evening News, from 1962 until his retirement in 1981. Yet this very public figure, undoubtedly the twentieth century's most revered journalist, was a remarkably private man; few know the full story of his life. Drawing on unprecedented access to Cronkite's private papers as well as interviews with his family and friends, Douglas Brinkley now brings this American icon into focus as never before.
Brinkley traces Cronkite's story from his roots in Missouri and Texas through the Great Depression, during which he began his career, to World War II, when he gained notice reporting with Allied troops from North Africa, D-day, and the Battle of the Bulge. In 1950, Edward R. Murrow recruited him to work for CBS, where he covered presidential elections, the space program, Vietnam, and the first televised broadcasts of the Olympic Games, as both a reporter and later as an anchor for the evening news. Cronkite was also witness to-and the nation's voice for-many of the most profound moments in modern American history, including the Kennedy assassination, Apollos 11 and 13, Watergate, the Vietnam War, and the Iran hostage crisis.
Epic, intimate, and masterfully written, Cronkite is the much-anticipated biography of an extraordinary American life, told by one of our most brilliant and respected historians.

 Douglas Brinkley is an American author and professor of history at Rice University. Brinkley is the history commentator for CBS News and a contributing editor to the magazine Vanity Fair.
"Walter Cronkite exemplified the glorious age of trusted journalism. In this deeply researched and brilliantly analytic biography, Douglas Brinkley captures his essence. He treats Cronkite as not just an icon, but as a real human with passions, loves, and occasional enmities. It's a fascinating and valuable tale."
Walter Isaacson)

"Douglas Brinkley's absorbing and well-researched book recaptures the high solstice of American television journalism and the man who most exemplified that moment. It also illuminates, behind the scenes, a Walter Cronkite that millions of Americans thought they knew, but, as Brinkley's book now shows us, didn't."
Michael Beschloss)

"Exhaustively researched and beautifully written, Cronkite is a classic. Douglas Brinkley has written his best book yet. This is a fascinating story that will be read for years to come." (Debby Applegate)

"In this absorbing and sensitively-written biography, Douglas Brinkley has captured not only the life and momentous decades of a uniquely American legend, but also the heartbeat of a nation in its times of both triumph and tragedy." (Ronald Steel)

"This sweeping narrative of Walter Cronkite's life is irresistibly told, beautifully written, and deeply researched. Douglas Brinkley has produced one trustworthy biography after another, each one commanding widespread respect and admiration. And this is one of the very best." (Doris Kearns Goodwin)

"The personal and professional life of Walter Cronkite is an American treasure - and we should all be grateful to Douglas Brinkley for telling it so well." (Tom Brokaw)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Now there are more artists doing bad work than ever before.

   - Sam Gilliam, painter
Washington Post   5/27/2012

"The Poetics of Place"
Saturday, June 30 at 2:00pm at Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art + Design

NEW BOOK from George Ella Lyon

George Ella Lyon sent me her new collection of poems this week.
The title is SHE LET HERSELF GO.
The book is published by Louisiana State University Press

Lyon is my link to the Appalachian part of America. Our friendship is rooted in the poetry of Lee Howard. Lyon's poem "She Let Herself Go" should be required reading for those who wish to live well and go beyond.


When, for instance, you are painting a landscape, don't leave out the rain just because you've started with the sunshine.

    - Henri Matisse



                                                             Artwork by
Alexandra Dominguez


A friend sent me this link. I wrote back the following:
It's obvious (now) that we are subjects of science experiments.  Now and then things go wrong and a few of us escape from the hidden labs.  How else to explain the hunger?


Saturday, May 26, 2012


See link:

Sam Hamod recently invited me to serve as advisory editor to his publication.



Yep. It's that time of year again. The Miller Classic will be played again at the Bennington Writing Seminars. The game will be held on June 17th. Poets against those long sentence Fiction writers. Winners win a book of poems from the Bennington bookstore. I cover the cost and that's why it's the Miller Classic -  everything else is folklore.

The poet Marianne Moore

The primary distinction of the artist is that he must actively cultivate that state which most men, necessarily, must avoid: the state of being alone.

    - James Baldwin


by Vincent Carretta. The University of Georgia Press.




An artist is somebody who produces things that people don't need to have.
   - Andy Warhol


I recently received this link from Wanda Coleman:

Poet Wanda Coleman

Needed: More movies like this.


You there or over there?

  - E. Ethelbert Miller


Is the DC sky becoming too Gray? Political corruption often starts with small air bubbles of truth coming to the surface. Smell the air and tell me what you smell. Sniff. Sniff.


Can the Nationals take 3 from the Braves?  Are we going to see a hot June for this team?  Can they play championship baseball before the All-Star game? This team can go far if they have a Cy Young winner and a rookie of the year on their roster. Bryce Harper is having a good impact on this club.
Wonderful energy and performance game after game. I'm watching as many games on television as possible. Will head to the park when the Yankees come to town. I might catch those games on June 15th and 16th. What about you?


Daily Buddhist Wisdom

The one who is very attached to the cave of the body, that one finds detachment very difficult. Those who constantly crave for pleasure are hard to liberate and certainly cannot be liberated by others, only by themselves. Sometimes it is only death that brings a realization of endings, and then the sensual person, deeply immersed in the body, will shout: "What will happen to me after death?" The way toward liberation is to train yourself to live in the present without any wanting to become anything. Give up becoming this or that, live without cravings, and experience this present moment with full attention. Then you will not cringe at death nor seek for repeated birth.
- Sutta Nipata

Friday, May 25, 2012


So I'm reading the editorial page of The Final Call (May 15, 2012) and the topic is the upcoming elections.
I can't believe that "still in print" is someone writing about the need to develop a Black United Front. This sounds so retro.How long are Black people going to keep talking about this? What's with the closing of ranks in the 21st century? What are we united against? How do we tell the Front from the Back? Language keeps us not only tongue-tied but our shoes too. It's 2012 and I'm cheering for the Nationals more than the Nationalists. Who has the better record? 


May 21-June 2, 2012

Thursday, May 24, 2012


I received a text from my friend Doug Brinkley this week. His new book CRONKITE will be out this month.

Brinkley is high on the list of writers I admire. I can't wait to read what I'm certain will be another literary gem.


Make a gift to the Institute in Bill O'Reilly's honor.

We will send him a thank you message for every gift we receive!
Here's the back story: The Institute for Policy Studies was honored this week to join the long list of respected individuals and organizations that Bill O'Reilly has attacked on his Fox News show. During the opening segment of his May 22 tirade, O'Reilly attacked us for serving as the Occupy movement's "headquarters."
He even implied that some shady authority figure (like ME!) is making decisions about what color Occupy "agitators" should wear. These are hilarious claims about a movement that defiantly makes decisions through the direct participation of all of its members, not any top-down process.
Of course, O'Reilly and his colleagues cooked up their theories without bothering to contact us. We’re grateful for this opportunity to showcase our proud history.
IPS has provided research and analysis to social movements since our founding in 1963. When Occupy came on the scene last year, we applauded them for raising awareness about extreme inequality and how war spending fuels the economic crisis.
O’Reilly claimed that the Occupy movement is no longer about inequality. He's wrong. Occupy continues to highlight the great divide between the 1 percent and the 99 percent, and it continues to draw attention to how a casino Wall Street has crashed our economy and corrupted our politics.
Starting last fall, IPS conducted workshops with Occupy DC. We let them use our conference room for meetings in bad weather. Recently, IPS offered them space in our offices.
John Cavanagh
The Institute for Policy Studies

Poets Joshua Beckman and Stanley Plumly celebrate the birthday of American poet Walt Whitman by reading selections from his work and discussing his influence on their own writing. This event is free and open to the public. Co-sponsored by the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress.

Date: Thursday, May 31, Noon
Location: Whittall Pavilion, Thomas Jefferson Building
Contact: (202) 707-5394

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


On the front page of The New York Times today is an article about sexual assaults against Native American women. According to the Justice Department one in three Native American women have been raped or have experienced an attempted rape. I shared this newspaper article with my friend and beloved poet Susan Deer Cloud. She wrote back a very moving response and gave me permission to present it in my E-Notes. Here are her words:

Yes, others have told me about it but I've not read the entire article, yet.
I have been aware of Amnesty International statistics on abuse of Native
women going back several years, as well.  I just hope that people are
aware that a lot of rapes of Indian women are non-Indian on Indian ....
and, also, that the tragedy is much more widespread than people know
because the statistics focus on reservation people with cards.  I know
that you will be appreciative of this because of how so many African
American women have been viewed and mistreated (often these women
also have Native in their lineage) ... there are certain types of men who
think that Indian/Black/Asian women are more sexually passive and not
really altogether human and there for their taking. 

        Sadly and very tragically there is increasing abuse on the reservations.
Gangs and methamphetamine and other drug use and alcohol abuse have
proliferated ... along with various forms of violence and violations of other
human beings.

      I and my dearest Native friend, Barbara Mann, have also been shocked
by some of the behavior of younger men who decide to crown themselves
"warriors."  They are actually "big mouths" who don't begin to know what
a real indigenous warrior or any kind of warrior is (real warriors don't attack
women or older women ... and certainly rape did not exist in the Iroquois
Confederacy when this part of Turtle Island was first invaded ... even the
"white man" marveled and wrote about that ... well, let's face it, having
one's balls burned off for rape is not exactly an incentive to other men
to try it).

      My relationship to my indigenous lineage is so different from that
of a lot of reservation Indians.  There have been other assaults occurring
that are of a really vicious nature, and that is of carded Indians on those
of us whose ancestors managed to escape being caught by soldiers and
bounty hunters and who lay low in mountains and swamps and other
sheltering terrains.  Now we have the collateral damage-craziness that
has set in from the Indian Arts and Crafts Act and from the casinos.

        I feel so sad about all of this.  It will take so much to undo over
five centuries of tragedy and colonization, Christianization (and I'm
sure not talking about Jesus who thought/dreamed like an Indian), and
what I have come to call being "collegized" (I'm referring to some of the
"warriors" who have gone to college and are "deconstructed" into arrogant
disrespectful, degree-waving assholes).  I can only hold as much as possible to
what I believe is best for all human beings ... which is simply the path
of love and kindness and gentleness (although I admit I can reach a point
where I'll take up the tomahawk in a manner of speaking).

           I have been going back to the Catskills as much as possible.
A lot of Indians grow up urban now and have no experience of closeness
to Mother Earth.  I hope that I can write about the way I grew up and
about the non-reservation mountain Indians before I die.  I am thinking
about this a lot because I just escaped dying in late January.

        Ethelbert  I hope that we human beings and all of life will be
okay and that we can veer off from all the roads of paving over the sweetness
of life very soon.  You and I are of an age where we have experienced so
much ... and I grieve that our dreams from the 1960s have not come to as
much fruition as we may have hoped.  Even so, I can see that some of those
dreams have been seen through in a good way.



People often want to know what a literary activist does. I place a heavy emphasis on documentation. I think I learned the importance of this when I served as research associate at the Institute for the Arts and Humanities (Howard University) under the leadership of  Dr. Stephen Henderson. I started this cultural work in the 1970s. Today one can access my collections and work at the following sites:



Link to the E. Ethelbert Miller Collection at the University of Minnesota

Link to the E. Ethelbert Miller Collection at the University of Minnesota

Link to June Jordan Letters (over 200) to E. Ethelbert Miller at The Archie Givens Sr. Collection

Link to the E-Channel: A one year interview project with novelist Charles Johnson


After watching the attack on IPS, I sent the note below to John Cavanagh:

Our challenge is twofold -define IPS to the public. Use this opportunity to promote the work of the organization to all Americans. Don't get into a back and forth attack with folks like O'Reilly. In fact we shouldn't even respond to him. Ignoring the Right at times is the best thing to do.

The second thing we have to do is warn folks about this increase of anarchism that is taking place around the world. It's very serious. We have yet to define or examine it. Our failure to define the Left can result in a serious crack in the Left Movement. At the end of day I think we have to present ourselves as a think tank of ideas - ideas linked to peaceful social change. We have to talk about our training of future leaders to embrace non-violence. If we are late on this, we will come early to our own funeral.

E. Ethelbert Miller
Board Chair/ IPS



What joy running into Rebecca Villarreal yesterday. She will always be a special friend. I can still remember the two of us bringing home Rebbe (my cat). Here is Rebecca looking as wonderful as ever:

REBECCA VILLARREAL.  Photo by Ethelbert

Tuesday, May 22, 2012



The Goethe-Institut, The Confucius Institute, and the DC Public Library present
Time Shadows - Music

Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 6:30 PM
Watha T. Daniel / Shaw Library
1630 7th Street NW ( Meeting Room Lower Level)
Washington DC 20001

Join us to celebrate three cultures - Chinese, American, and German - through 
modern poetry and music.  Reading by Fred Joiner and other local poets, 
accompanied by music.


When I was young one of the poets I admired was Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones). I might not even be writing (today) if it wasn't for his work. I loved his passion. The guy read his poetry the way James Brown sang. How many of us sweat when we read?  Baraka was also a political weather vane telling us which way the wind was blowing. But Baraka also had that school yard wit that embraced the dozens. How many times might this guy talk about your mother? Baraka often wrote with sharp elbows. Who can forget his poem attacking Nikki Giovanni because she decided to visit South Africa? So it didn't surprise me when Baraka sent out this email the other day:
After  Corey Booker's traitorous condemnation  (on Meet The Press) of President Obama's ads showing just how  far  from "Job Creator" MItt Romney was with  his Bain Capital. - Closing companies and unemploying thousands. This shd make it clear that Booker was, is and will be a right wing Republican - a Real Public Coon (AS I HAVE SAID SINCE HE FIRST SHOWED UP IN NEWARK)THE DEMOCRATS NEED TO FORMALLY BANISH HIM JUST AS WE NEED TO BANISH HIS toxic looking right wing Negro ass from Newark forever.
Here we see Baraka "joning" again. Attacking the personal because of the political. Do we need this in 2012?
Not really. I can't agree with everything Barack or Baraka says - and that's the way it should be. But what's with this traitor thing? Did I miss the signing of the black oath? Geez- maybe Baraka dislikes Corey Booker because his last name is Booker. Might that be it? All I know is that we have to be careful with how - we sound. Why use language like darts and spears?  It's just tacky. Should we expect more from our elders?  I think we should. I remember being upset with my mother and father from time to time. I disagreed with them but never called them traitors. Maybe Baraka who loves black music should stop beating other black men as if they were a drum. Show some love Baraka. Why do you have to be so black and blue?

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A Tribute to the Life of Piri Thomas
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 6:00 pm
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Bronx, NY – On Wednesday May 23, 2012, at 6:00 pm, an iconic figure of contemporary American literature will be honored when A Tribute to the Life and Times and Works of Piri Thomas is presented at the Hostos Center for the Arts and Culture at 450 Grand Concourse (at 149th Street).  Sponsored by Hostos Community College, and produced and directed by the noted poet and author, José Angel Figueroa and co-produced by Elba Cabrera, this special evening will feature performances of Mr. Thomas’ poetry, as well as works by a broad range of artists, friends, and people that he influenced. The ‘cast’ includes Amiri Baraka, Miriam Colon Valle, Modesto Lacen, Tato Laviera, and Hilda Rivera-Pantojas & Danza Fiesta, and his wife Suzie Dod Thomas, among others. Also included in the program will be a remembrance of Louis Reyes Rivera, another brilliant poet whose voice was stilled earlier this year.

The program itself is designed to reflect his love, not just of words, but of the rainbow-hued people of the urban communities who inspired him. There will be a screening of the documentary film Every Child is Born a Poet: The Life and Work of Piri Thomas directed by Jonathan Meyer Robinson, and a special presentation from the digital archives of master photographer, George Malave.  Each individual performance piece, be it dance, poetry, essay, or personal recollection, will be staged to celebrate the way that he lovingly embraced language as force of nature. One that he wielded with care because of his deep and abiding respect for its power.

Piri Thomas burst onto the scene in 1967 with his memoir Down These Mean Streets. The book’s brutally honest depiction of life as a young Black Puerto Rican growing up in El Barrio was arguably the first to acknowledge the experiences of Latinos in urban America. His follow up books Savior, Savior Hold My Hand, and Seven Long Times helped established him in the literary scene, but his passion for words led him beyond simple autobiographical narrative and into poetry. And this is where his profound influence is still found to this day. 

A photographic exhibition “ Constructing the Legacy of Piri Thomas” will be on display  courtesy  of  Centro Library and Archives , Center for Puerto Rican Studies at  Hunter College.

A Tribute to the Life and Times and Works of Piri Thomas at the Hostos Center for the Arts and Culture promises to be an incredible evening filled with laughter and tears of joy that come from the depths of the soul. Come and see for yourself.  As Piri would say “CHEVEROTE,  PUNTO!”

Monday, May 21, 2012


Marion Barry Hospitalized

Marion Barry has been hospitalized in Las Vegas.

Waiting for more information.