Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Price of The Ticket

Waiting for the year to end without a ticket in my hand. Where is destination 2016?
Who will I meet? What will I see?
So often I wish there were two trains running.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Writing Life

HoCoPoLitSo's "The Writing Life"

Taylor Branch Hosts Timothy Jenkins

Historian Taylor Branch, author of the award-winning trilogy about Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement, speaks with writer and public interest lawyer Timothy Jenkins about Branch’s work. At the time of this show’s recording, Branch had written two of the trilogy, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-1963, and the award-winning Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years 1963-1965. Branch says that these stories are “quintessentially American,” and though King is the main figure, many of the leaders and foot soldiers of the Civil Rights movement are portrayed in his books. Branch had planned to become a doctor, but watching the students in Birmingham in 1963, he was “awestruck,” and determined to tell their tale. Branch talks about the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (of which Jenkins was founder), Malcolm X, the flaws and strengths of King, the paranoia in the FBI and the role of women in the movement. Branch says that King’s having “one foot in the Constitution and one in the Scriptures” produced a more powerful case for integration and equality.  Recorded in 2000.  For more information on HoCoPoLitSo's live or recorded programs, visit www.hocopolitso.org.
The Writing Life airs Tuesdays at 11am, 4pm and 7pm, Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 3pm.
Visit www.hocopolitso.org for more information.

My book of the year is THE WORDS AND WISDOM OF CHARLES JOHNSON published by Dzanc Books. 

This 672 page book is an outgrowth of my 2011 year long project of interviewing the novelist Charles Johnson. Inside this tome one will find Johnson's view on Buddhism, the craft of writing, and so much more.

See Link:

Movement of Jah People

Along with religion being the defining issue of the 21st century, the next few decades should see a movement of large numbers of people and the redefining of borders between nations. Wars, natural disasters and climate change should cause people to move to new locations. This could create pockets of cultural conflicts and possible genocide in some regions. Migrants will always be cast as the "other" when there are too many strangers suddenly appearing on a corner, or speaking a different language. Poverty too often is naked and has not even a blanket for warmth. Look for countries to suffer political instability and seek quick solutions. Much rhetoric and hate talk helps to build walls. Walls are just another way of explaining blindness. If we keep going steady with fear- all homecomings will be difficult. Exodus is just another way of looking into a mirror.

Monday, December 21, 2015


Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here DC
January - March 2016

Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here DC 2016 is a book arts and cultural festival planned for January through March 2016, throughout the Washington, DC area. Exhibits, programs, and events will commemorate the 2007 bombing of Baghdad's historic bookselling street and celebrate the free exchange of ideas and knowledge. Join us as we stand in solidarity with the people of Iraq who have endured so much and with people at home and abroad who are unable to make their voices heard. 

Featured poets, translators, and critics will be: Kareem James Abu-Zeid, Amal al-Jubouri, Hala Alyan, Beau Beausoleil, Safia Elhillo, Fady Joudah, Amal Kassir, Philip Metres, Dunya Mikhail, M Lynx Qualey, and Sholeh WolpĂ©.

More information is available on the festival website.

2015 was a good year to transition out of Howard University.  2016 will hopefully be one of transformation. New horizons and projects. Time to push ahead in the last quarter of my life.
The Two Freedoms
Whatever your difficulties—a devastated heart, financial loss, feeling assaulted by the conflicts around you, or a seemingly hopeless illness—you can always remember that you are free in every moment to set the compass of your heart to your highest intentions. In fact, the two things that you are always free to do—despite your circumstances—are to be present and to be willing to love.
—Jack Kornfield, "Set the Compass of Your Heart"

Saturday, December 19, 2015


I had big fun talking with novelist Bruce Duffy yesterday. I ran into him at the Starbucks near DuPont Circle. Duffy wrote THE WORLD AS I FOUND IT. This was the book everyone was talking about back in 1987. Some critics consider it a classic. At the center of the novel is the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Duffy just completed work on a new novel. I guess we all have something to look forward to. I can't wait to cut the cake and read.

Photo by Ethelbert

Friday, December 18, 2015


2015 found many people around the world on the move. Sadly it was because of wars and natural disasters. Some moves are done without farewells or goodbyes. For those of us involved with social and political movements we embrace the motion of history, we try to keep moving in a progressive direction. It was Paul Simon who once proclaimed these are the days of miracles and wonder.

IPS is moving and yes- we are moving on up. IPS is not just a workplace, it's a home for ideas, a place where people can share intellectual fellowship, a home where a weary activist can find sustenance and support and the encouragement to keep on keepin on.

It's amazing seeing this organization moving to a new location next February. Special thanks to Tiffany Williams for her work and leadership in finding us a new location.

We leave a place where many people sat in this conference room. Here we talked about the world - the one we dreamed about and the one we wanted to change.

Now comes the time for us to renew our efforts to improve our economic conditions, our environment, our protection of human rights. Now comes the time to renew our commitment to helping new leaders emerge, helping voices celebrate and sing new spirituals.

IPS is a home and not a workplace. As the poet June Jordan once wrote - we are always moving towards home; a place where love resides, a place where there is shelter from the storm.

There has been much talk about what will become of the mural in our conference room. A mural created by Andy Shallal that documents the early IPS history.

Well, if there is a little Buddha in each of us, then we know nothing is permanent. This should remind us about what life and struggle is all about. It is constant - it never ends.

We are moving next year to a space with many windows, perhaps a Paradise of Light.
A place where we can work to perfect our vision.

Near DuPont Circle let us create our own circle - one of happiness and joy.
May we work together so that others will have more and know more.

We look forward to our new days in our new space.

We will soon celebrate Spring again after surviving another winter in America.

And this is why I continue to hold fast to hope and the glitter of poems that have the potential to become starlight.

 - E. Ethelbert Miller
   IPS Board Chair
   December 16, 2015

New Location:

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Today's Daily Dharma: Teach by Example
Teach by Example
It is not by preaching or expounding the sutras (scriptures) that you fulfill the task of awakening others to self-realization; it is rather by the way you walk, the way you stand, the way you sit and the way you see things.
—Thich Nhat Hanh, "Walking: Meditation on the Move"


Carolyn Supinka has a new book out.

STRAY GODS is being published by Finishing Line Press.


Photo by Ethelbert


Yesterday at the IPS holiday party I had a chance to talk with Lynn Raskin.
Below is a link to what she is doing. You might want to support her.


Raskin photo by Ethelbert

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Michon Boston to present an after-show discussion on


following the performance of Marcus Gardley's play 
directed by Jennifer L. Nelson
Tuesday, December 29, 2015
Mosaic Theater Company of Washington, DC
Atlas Theater, 1333 H Street, NE

show time and ticket information
2015 engages through the end of the year--

Mosaic Theater Company begins the conversation from the stage coupled with a calendar of community engagement events to delve deeper into the themes of the play that resonate with the concerns and challenges of today.

The Gospel According to Ida B. Wells explores the life, activism and legacy of Ida B. Wells. What makes her resonate with young activists today? The 1892 events that compelled Wells, the Memphis newspaper woman, to launch her anti-lynching campaign, was the subject of my first full-length play, Iola's Letter. Ida B. Wells makes an appearance in The Gospel of Lovingkindess.
Engage with Mosaic!
Michon Boston

Enjoy the IL Pop-Up themed food for this event from the Busboys and Poets menuWings Inferno, Vegan Beef Sliders

In Football We Trust
Indie Lens Pop-Up DC at Busboys and Poets
(14th & V Streets, NW)

Sunday, January 24 at 5 PM

In Football We Trust is an insightful and moving documentary that transports viewers deep inside the tightly-knit and complex Polynesian community in Salt Lake City, Utah, one of the chief sources for the NFL’s influx of Pacific Islander players. Shot over a four-year period with unprecedented access, the film follows four young Polynesian men striving to overcome gang violence and near poverty through the promise of American football. Directed by first time feature filmmakers Tony Vainuku and Erika Cohn.

Join the conversation with special guests:
  • Brad Horn, video journalist for The Washington Post, executive producer for First and 17
  • Brandon Parker, sports reporter, The Washington Post, high school sports
  • Philippe Sanchez, senior, Sidwell Friends School Quakers football team (A Division Champions)
  • Other guests TBA
RESERVATIONS REQUESTED: Go to http://ifwt-dc.eventbrite.com

Watch a Trailer
In Football We Trust premieres on Independent Lens 
Monday, February 1, 2016, 10 - 11:30pm ET on PBS (check local listings)
Special Invitation from PBS
Bring a copy of this announcement/invitation to receive a discount rate on parking at the U.S. Navy Memorial - Navy Heritage Center. More information and instructions are included on the announcement.
AUTISM IN LOVE 's Lindsey Nebeker and Dave Hamrick were guests onWUSA9's GREAT DAY WASHINGTON morning show. It was a great morning with hosts, Chris Leary (pictured below), Markette Shephard (2nd row right), and the Busboys and Poets team that brought the thematic desserts --Flourless Chocolate Cake, and Vegan Parfait -- featured at the Autism in Love Indie Lens Pop-Up. Autism in Love premieres Monday, January 11, 2016 on the PBS series Independent Lens (check local listings).
Watch the WUSA9 interview with Lindsey and Dave
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Monday, December 14, 2015

Conference & Bookfair
ONLINE: Job List | News | Calendar | Guide | WC&C | Conference | Chronicle | Advertise | Donate
Dogear logo with presents.
Don’t Miss Out on Discounted Preregistration Rates!
Happy Holidays! Shopping for an aspiring writer, established author, student, teacher, or lover of literature? Maybe you’re in the market for a little something just for you? Discounted preregistration rates for #AWP16 are available until February 12, 2016. Register yourself, a colleague, friend, or loved one today! Join us in Los Angeles from March 30 – April 2, 2016 at the Los Angeles Convention Center and the JW Marriott Los Angeles for North America’s best-attended and most dynamic literary conference.

Not yet an AWP member? Need to renew your membership? Bundle your registration with a one-year membership to receive the reduced member registration rate, a subscription to the Writer’s Chronicle, and access to members-only features of our website. If you are currently an AWP member, the membership purchased with the bundle will start the day after your current membership is set to expire.

Conference registration must be purchased online by credit card only. We do not accept checks or purchase orders. You will need to be signed in to the AWP website in order to register. If you do not know the password associated with your email address, click on the “Forgot Password?” link in the log-in screen to reset your password.
Featured Presenters, Bookfair Exhibitors, & Conference Events
Learn more about our #AWP16 keynote speaker, Claudia Rankine, and the conference’s exciting lineup of featured presenters. Browse the full conference schedule and the bookfair’s growing list of exhibitors.
Bookfair Exhibitors
If you have an exhibit in the bookfair and have not yet registered your staff, discounted registration rates are still available through February 12. From the registration section of the AWP storefront, select “Bookfair Staff & Student” to purchase your discounted registrations.
Conference App
The #AWP16 mobile app is now available! The app features the most up-to-date conference schedule, maps of the LA Convention Center and surrounding areas, and access to tons of other helpful information. Search for “AWP” in the Android or iTunes app store. If you had used the app for the 2015 conference, you will need to re-download it from the app store to see this year’s details. The app will be updated monthly as we receive new conference information.
Hotel Rooms Still Available at our Overflow Hotels
Hotel rooms are still available in the AWP block at the Omni Los Angeles! Visit our hotel and travel page for the most up-to-date information.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

See you in Los Angeles!

Warm regards,
Kelley McLain

Conference Registration Manager
Association of Writers & Writing Programs
(703) 993-4553
February 12:Preregistration deadline

February 15: Will-call registration opens

March 30: #AWP16 begins!
Trying to begin a good productive week. Responding to correspondence, checking the news and doing morning stuff. I went online and ordered a few books from the public library. I selected the James Merrill biography and the novel Mislaid by Nell Zink.

I wrote and sent Sophy Burnham a blurb for her new book. Here is a link to her website:

I will spend the rest of the day working on my Collected Poems. I received the first half of the manuscript from Willow t and need to help change the formatting. Yesterday I had an hour conversation with the editor Kirsten Porter.

Today's encore selection -- from How Football Explains America by Sal Paolantonio. The football huddle was invented at a college for the deaf -- Gallaudet University in Washington DC -- as a means of hiding signals from other deaf teams. It was then institutionalized at the University of Chicago as a means of bringing control and Christian fellowship to the game:

"When Gallaudet played nondeaf clubs or schools, Hubbard merely used hand signals -- American Sign Language -- to call a play at the line of scrimmage, imitating what was done in football from Harvard to Michigan. Both teams approached the line of scrimmage. The signal caller -- whether it was the left halfback or quarterback -- barked out the plays at the line of scrimmage. Nothing was hidden from the defense. There was no huddle.

"Hand signals against nondeaf schools gave Gallaudet an advantage. But other deaf schools could read [quarterback Paul] Hubbard's sign language. So, beginning in 1894, Hubbard came up with a plan. He decided to conceal the signals by gathering his offensive players in a huddle prior to the snap of the ball. ... Hubbard's innovation in 1894 worked brilliantly. 'From that point on, the huddle became a habit during regular season games,' states a school history of the football program. ...

Gallaudet University Archives

"In 1896, the huddle started showing up on other college campuses, particularly the University of Georgia and the University of Chicago. At Chicago, it was Amos Alonzo Stagg, the man credited with nurturing American football into the modern age and barnstorming across the country to sell the game, who popularized the use of the huddle and made the best case for it. ...

"At the time, coaches were not permitted to send in plays from the sideline. So, while Stagg clearly understood the benefit of concealing the signals from the opposition, he was more interested in the huddle as a way of introducing far more reaching reforms to the game.

"Before becoming a coach, Stagg wanted to be a minister. At Yale, he was a divinity student from 1885 to 1889. ... Thoughtful, pious and righteous, Stagg brought innovations to football as an attempt to bring a Christian fellowship to the game. He wanted his players to play under control, to control the pace, the course, and the conduct of what had been a game of mass movement that often broke out into fisticuffs. Stagg viewed the huddle as a vital aspect of helping to teach sportsmanship. He viewed the huddle as a kind of religious congregation on the field, a place where the players could, if you will, minister to each other, make a plan, and promise to keep faith in that plan and one another."
How Football Explains America
Author: Sal Paolantonio
Publisher: Triumph Books
Copyright 2008 by Sal Palantonio
Pages 38-41


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