Saturday, August 30, 2014

BOOK WORLD: August Notes

I went downtown this morning to the National Book Festival. This year it was held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center instead of on the National Mall. The Convention Center is a reminder that few other D.C. mayors will have a building named after them. How many members of the Black Sox Scandal are in the Hall of Fame?  I remember the old convention center when I first came to DC. It was a place I avoided. Convention centers around the country are mainly good for trade shows.

Today I felt I was at an auto or boat show. I had to go to the second level of the center before I saw any books. The place was a nice sea of green, with countless volunteers handing out free green bags and posters.

I went straight to the room where the poetry readings were being held. I knew as soon as I opened the door that I was in the middle of a spoken word presentation. The place was filled with young people.

I stood in the back and listened. Here was another example of cultural democracy at work. It was what was filling the entire Washington Center. It seems we want to have events that primarily target young people. We want the family affair to be spinach - something good for us no matter what it tastes like.

I liked the National Book Festival when Laura Bush was here. No, I'm not a closet Republican.  I just miss the tents and the sun. I miss walking around and maybe stopping to listen to a writer I didn't know. By moving the festival indoors it forces one to look at a program and go sit in a room.

This book festival seems to be targeting children. Will all the "play" activities make them better readers or book collectors?  It's hard to say. I did see parents happy that the event was taking place. Many people had that tourist look and it seemed the book festival was a destination more than a book experience.  I did run into a guy who once taught at Howard University years ago and who lost his job during those years of transparency. His eyes still had that "runaway" look, so I kept our conversation cordial.

I was planning on staying around to see Billy Collins and Alberto Rios but I soon felt like a slave hearing about Juneteenth. I took the bus back home. During my ride I sat reading Roger Kahn's Memories of Summer: When Baseball Was an Art, and Writing about It a Game.

The National Book Festival like the great American game of baseball is changing. I find I'm against the instant replay and the speeding up of the game. I dislike dome stadiums and wish book festivals were still outdoors. I fear a future book festival without books. Gone will be our green little bags. We may have to wait for happiness to be downloaded.

 - E. Ethelbert Miller

Friday, August 29, 2014


The Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award was given to R. Flowers Rivera (Mckinney, Texas) for her collection HEATHEN. The book will be published by Lotus Press in 2015.
E. Ethelbert Miller judged the contest.
The annual award is given to an African American writer for a poetry collection.

The E Files: Gwendolyn Brooks

What a surprise today...
I was cleaning my office and found several letters Gwendolyn Brooks had written to me back in the 1980s.




I'm getting ready to begin another season of hosting The Scholars on UDC-TV. My first guest will be Taina Caragol.

Ms. Caragol is the Curator of Latino Art and History at the National Portrait Gallery.
Look for my interview with her in a few weeks.


An article by my beloved friend and fellow poet Naomi Shihab Nye:




I've been telling folks the last few years to keep an eye on Pence. I think this guy will be on the Republican ticket in 2016.


Yes, in my house everyone reads Poet Lore magazine. The 125th Anniversary copy is out. Jody Bolz and I have been editing this publication for 12 years. Along with poetry by Alice Notley, Cornelius Eady, Naomi Ayala, Linda Pastan, Linda McCarriston, in the latest issue - there is also an important essay by Melissa Girard about Paul Laurence Dunbar. You have to love the photograph we have of Dunbar on the cover. He looks so Ellington we could call him Duke.

In her essay Girard writes about the early history of Poet Lore and the people who published in it.

"In 1929, Thomas Millard Henry published a powerful essay on Dunbar, titled "The First Black World Poet." Henry places Dunbar second only to Whitman in the canon of modern American poetry, calling him the most important poet of the last 50 years and citing his global reputation as evidence."

Hopefully, the Cave Canem and Canto Mundo family will pick-up this issue and see American poetry with new eyes. We have a tradition to uphold. May our voices continue to bless our democracy and know no boundaries. We must continue to sing of freedom. Every Cool Cat knows that. Let's continue to dig and be dug in return.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Islam 001?

More homework and things to understand about the world.

Celebrating 125 Years of Literary Discovery 

Please join us on September 15 at 7:30 pm
to celebrate Poet Lore's 125th anniversary with a reading by:
Folger Shakespeare Library
201 East Capitol Street, SE

Tickets at 

Jody Bolz & E. Ethelbert Miller, Editors, POET LORE



This Hourglass Flow is the Art Appreciation Issue. Check out submission calls, new film, artists you should know and more!Is this email not displaying correctly?
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Art Appreciation Month

Everyone’s got their list of favorites – favorite movies, books, restaurants, etc. Inevitably, someone gets left off those lists. This is an on-going list I’m building. In honor of this wonderful commemorative month, I’m highlighting artists I’ve profiled on my blog.Learn more

The Poet and The Poem

Grace Cavalieri's series includes new interviews with Abdul Ali and Le Hinton. Ali is the author of Trouble Sleeping, which won the 2014 New Issues Poetry Prize. Hinton is the author of five poetry collection including, most recently, The Language of Moisture and Light (Iris G. Press, 2014). Learn more


Submission Call for Fjords' Black Issue

My Cave Canem brethren Geffrey Davis is guest editing for Fjords' Black American edition. Davis is author of the A. Poulin Jr. Poetry Prize winning-collection, Revising the Storm (BOA Editions, 2014). Learn more

The Rewards of Mentoring

In her post for the Stonecoast Faculty Blog, Jeanne Marie Beaumont is proud of the MFA program alums' achievements. So much so that she includes a list of alums' books and chapbooks. "Keep me informed about your activities," she wrote in an email to her alums. "I mean it; it keeps me going." Learn more

More Than Meets the Eye

Costumes. Casting. Lighting. Editing. Music. Set design. It all happens behind-the-scenes. On August 20, the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement (AFFRM) is going behind the camera to give their AFFRM Rebels an exclusive opportunity to talk with behind-the-scenes film folks who help make beautiful images. Not a Rebel? Take action + join atwww.affrmaction.comLearn more

Writing Prompt

Tapped out of ideas? Your inspiration well so dry that it's cracking? Well, The Writermagazine has a prompt: "Eat This." Learn more

Got Any Art-Related News?

Maybe you have a new book you want help promoting. Or there's a cool art project you want highlighted. The Hourglass Flow is happy to help spread the word. Contact me with your art news.

Poetry Special Sale!

There are about 120 poems between Derrick Weston Brown's Wisdom Teeth and myDRIFT. Get them for a grand bargain of 17 cents a poem.Learn More
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free tickets

One pair of free concert tickets to An Exceptional Evening with Philip Glass and Tim Fain!

email us HERE by noon September 16 to enter for a chance to win.

This chamber music concert is a rare opportunity to hear Philip Glass with the exceptional violinist Tim Fain. 


hello smart culturally
curious friends!

Philippa's picks for this week...

Wednesday, August 27
Little Salon

Screen Print Exhibition: 7pm
Performances: 8pm
1461 Swann St. NW, DC

Unleashing creativity on the District. More information.
Samuel Prather; music
Melissa Girard; insights
Sandra Beasley; poems
Fawna Xiao; screen prints
Lucas Southworth; fiction

Wednesday, August 27 and Thursday, August 28; 7:30pm
Wu Promotions presents:
Peking Opera -- 120th Anniversary of Mei Lanfang

Tickets: $25-$89 Purchase here!

In recognition of the 120th anniversary of one of the most outstanding Peking Opera performers of all time Mei Lanfang, who was the first actor ever to present Beijing Opera in foreign countries, Mei Lanfang's son Mei Baojiu together with other outstanding stars of the Jingju Theater Company of Beijing, Mei Lanfang Jingju Troupe present two different programs--Classic Plays of the Mei School(Wednesday) and Lady Mu Guiying Takes Command (Thursday).

Opens Thursday, August 28 at 7:30pm
and running through September 14

NextStop Theatre and Forum Theatre present: 
Gideon's Knot

A powerful 80-minute work, Gidion’s Knot depicts a parent/teacherconference with a grieving mother and an emotionally overwhelmed primary school teacher’s conversation about the tragic suicide of the mother’s son, Gidion. As the story of Gidion’s suicide is slowly uncovered, the women try to reconstruct a satisfying explanation for Gidion’s act and come to terms with excruciating feelings of guilt. 

TICKETS: $28*, General Admission available at  or by calling OvationTix at 866-811-4111.
269 Sunset Park Dr. Herndon, VA 20170

Saturday, August 30 at 8:30pm
Uncle Woody Sullender/ Eames Armstrong/ Cain/Scheible Duo

This Saturday August 30 the Back Alley Theater presents a night of performance art, ecstatic sound, modular audible architecture. Mysteries abound.
Back Alley Theater/ 1365 Kennedy St NW DC
$5-10 sliding scale


Reception: Thursday, August 28 5:30-7:30pm, Artist Talk: 6pm

The Rice Gallery in Peterson Hall
McDaniel College, Westminster, MD
Through icons, images, and artifacts, Treviño explores his own identity as an under-represented minority in a post-Warhol society. The role of celebrity, the weight of history, and the waning influence of religious artifacts are all fair game for his contemplative subject matter.


Saturday, August 30 at 9:30pm
Jonny Grave & the Tombstones, Wanted Man, and Ballad’ve @ DC9.
Tickets $8 day of sale only.

If you’re around for Labor Day weekend, you’ve got a few great concert options to choose from. Roots ‘n’ rock artist Jonny Grave will headline DC9 with his full band, in addition to Americana outfit Ballad’ve and avant-garde rockers Wanted Man.
-brought to you by DC Music Download
See more suggestions here.


Saturday, August 30
Paisley Rekdal and Alberto Rios: National Book Festival
Washington Convention Center, 801 Mt. Vernon Sq.
The National Book Festival is an all-day thing, with a full schedule of writers and celebrity authors. Two delights tucked into Saturday's events are poets Paisley Rekdal and Alberto Rios. Drop in for an hour, either early to see Rekdal (12:45pm), or later for Rios (4:25pm).

-brought to you by Buck Downs.
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The Pink Line Project
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WashingtonDC 20009
Nidal al-Mughrabi and Luke Baker
August 27, 2014
Israel and the Palestinians agreed Tuesday to a plan to end the fighting in Gaza after 50 days of combat in which more than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, 64 Israeli soldiers and five civilians in Israel were killed. In addition to a cessation of hostilities, other immediate steps include the opening of some of the Gaza border crossings closed by Israel and Egypt. Further indirect discussions are to take place within a month.

Six-year-old Nader Obu Odeh gathers wood from destroyed Gaza houses to make a fire. , Basel Yazouri/,
 Israel and the Palestinians agreed on Tuesday to an Egyptian-brokered plan to end the fighting in Gaza after 50 days of combat in which more than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, 64 Israeli soldiers and five civilians in Israel were killed.

Following are the broad parameters of the agreement, which Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have been working on through indirect talks in Cairo over recent weeks.

As part of the deal, both sides have agreed to address more complex issues dividing them - including the release of Palestinian prisoners and Gaza's demands for a sea port - via further indirect talks starting within a month.

* Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza agree to halt all rocket and mortar fire into Israel.

* Israel will stop all military action including air strikes and ground operations.

* Israel agrees to open more of its border crossings with Gaza to allow the easier flow of goods, including humanitarian aid and reconstruction equipment, into the coastal enclave.

* In a separate, bilateral agreement, Egypt will agree to open its 14 km (8 mile) border with Gaza at Rafah.

* The Palestinian Authority, headed by President Mahmoud Abbas, is expected to take over responsibility for administering Gaza's borders from Hamas. Israel and Egypt hope it will ensure weapons, ammunition and any "dual-use" goods are prevented from flowing into Gaza.

* The Palestinian Authority will lead in coordinating the reconstruction effort in Gaza with international donors, including the European Union.

* Israel is expected to narrow the security buffer along the inside of the Gaza border, reducing it from 300 metres to 100 meters if the truce holds. The move will allow Palestinians more access to farm land close to the border.

* Israel will extend the fishing limit off Gaza's coast to six miles from three miles, with the possibility of widening it gradually if the truce holds. Ultimately, the Palestinians want to return to a full 12-mile international allowance.

* Hamas wants Israel to release hundreds of Palestinian prisoners rounded up in the West Bank following the abduction and killing of three Jewish seminary students in June, an attack that led to the war. Hamas initially denied involvement in the killings, but a senior Hamas official in exile in Turkey last week admitted the group did carry out the attack.

* President Abbas, who heads the Fatah party, wants freedom for long-serving Palestinian prisoners whose release was dropped after the collapse of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

* Israel wants Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza to hand over all body parts and personal effects of Israeli soldiers killed during the war.

* Hamas wants a sea port built in Gaza, allowing goods and people to be ferried in and out of the enclave. Israel has long rejected the plans, but it is possible that progress towards it could be made if there are absolute security guarantees.

* Hamas wants the un-freezing of funds to allow it to pay 40,000 police, government workers and other administrative staff who have largely been without salaries since late last year.

* The Palestinians also want the airport in Gaza - Yasser Arafat International, which opened in 1998 but was shut down in 2000 after it was bombed by Israel - to be rebuilt.

[Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi; writing by Luke Baker; editing by Larry King for Reuters]

More than a game...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Century of Disaster: Riddles, Lies and Lives -- from Muhammad Ali to Barbie

A Century of Disaster: Riddles, Lies and Lives -- from Muhammad Ali to Barbie

What some of last century's cast of characters -- and the lives they led -- tell us about humanity. By Eduardo Galeano


The summer is ending but look for another exciting episode of the "Bert & Bev Show."
Bev returns from California this week. Much laughter at the house in a few days. So excited about seeing her again. My next book of poems coming out in a few weeks is dedicated to B.


Back from 2 days in New York. I enjoyed my reading at the Cornelia Street Cafe. A chance to meet Angelo Verga who keeps the place going. He gave me a collection of his poems - A HURRICANE IS which was published by Jane Street Press.

Monday night was a wonderful Bennington Night. I read with Elaine Fletcher Chapman, Miriam O'Neal and Joseph Tobias. V Hansmann coordinated the event.

Many thanks for beloved friends who came out to support me:  Grace A. Ali, Susann Thomas, Russell Dillon, Kathy Engel and Sandra Levinson This New York reading also gave me a chance to meet for the first time the writer Cliff Thompson.

Earlier in the day Sandra gave me a tour of her Center for Cuban Studies located on 29th Street.
It's an amazing place. Here is a website link:

Sandra Levinson photo by Ethelbert

Monday, August 25, 2014

Reading - Memories of Summer: When Baseball Was an Art, and writing about It a Game by Roget Kahn.
Cornelia Street Cafe reading in Greenwich Village at 6pm.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

It might be time to be honest with ourselves. Many of the conflicts around the world will probably last for another 10 years or more. What will be the death toll of people killed in wars by the year 2020?  Here in the US income equality and racial problems will continue to dominant our news headlines. We will have to survive natural disasters, future acts of terrorism and random acts of violence committed by people who looked and acted very normal the day before. It seems like a sad state of affairs - but the sad truth is that this is the history of our earth. We suffer because we still cannot find ways to live together. Religion at times seems to be more a veil to hide our hatred and a cross too heavy for us to bear. Many of us continue to struggle to be good human beings. Prejudice and fear continue to remind us that the task is not easy. Even in our personal lives there are moments and days when we give up on love. If life was a game we could hit the pause button and maybe start all over again. We don't live in a age of superheroes or even great leaders - so there is much despair
to share. What are we doing wrong?  Each day I try to answer this question. If this was a math problem I would have to use my fingers and toes. Too many days I look around only to discover that everything adds up to zero. Yet, as the South African poet Dennis Brutus once wrote, "somehow we survive." And maybe this is the miracle - after all the blood on our hands we can still touch and comfort. Hopefully our wounds will heal and the scars will remind us of out history and the future we must avoid. The scars should remind us of the lessons learned and the possibility of peace. Our world does not have to be a dangerous place to live. If we claim to have a faith in God - then we must have a faith in man. Our work begins today which is now.