Tuesday, March 31, 2015


For the first three weeks in July 2015, the Standard, East Village will provide a room free of charge to a writer who has a book under contract and needs three weeks of solitude in downtown New York City. Applications will be judged by the editors of The Paris Review and Standard Culture

The residency is open to writers of prose or poetry, fiction or nonfiction. All submissions are due April 8 and must be in English or include an English translation. Continental breakfast (and unlimited coffee) will be provided daily free of charge; all additional incidental charges (room service, etc.) will be incurred by the guest. All rooms are nonsmoking. The Standard, East Village and The Paris Review will be pleased to hold a small reception in the writer’s honor at the conclusion of the stay. It is expected that the writer will stay alone, within reason.

For more information regarding our Writer-in-Residence program, visit our Web site here.

Monday, March 30, 2015


I ran into "Art-Man" James Phillips on the Howard campus today. During our brief chat he asked if I had seen the Faculty Art exhibit. It's something I try not to miss each spring. I guess it's like pledging on a black campus. If you visit the Blackburn Center during the next few weeks, take a right after you enter the building. There you will find the Gallery Lounge.  On the walls - the 45th Presidential Faculty Exhibit. The work I was attracted to was created by David Smedley, Ronald Beverly, Miriam Ahmed, Michelle Taylor and Reginald Yazid Pointer. Phillips had the art work with the best title -
Before Ferguson and Beyond: 
Hold Your Fire - MEN
Don't Shoot Until You See
The Whites of Their Eyes

The Gallery Lounge is opened Monday-Friday from 9:00 AM - 10:00 PM.
Closed on the Weekends.


On the Maury Wills Field today kids were playing baseball. After hoops and touchdowns it obvious one might have to teach this young generation the fundamentals of the game. I watched how some of the players stood at their positions or threw the ball. Praise songs for Frazier O'Leary who has been coaching the team at Cardozo High School for maybe as long as I've been writing. The man has nothing but love for young people. I took a picture of the Purple Skipper looking like it was a championship game and not the first inning of the first game of the season.

Five 2 - Line Poems Inspired by Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes knew rivers
I keep learning how to swim

Mother and child sitting together
Light in a Harlem window


No job but the weary blues
Pays my  rent


Dreams on a bookshelf
I Too need protection from the dust

Goodbye Christ
But every goodbye ain’t gone
E. Ethelbert Miller

Sunday, March 29, 2015





My March 17, 1978 interview with Yosef Ben-Jochannan can be found in my archives at Emory and Henry College in Emory, Virginia.



Was that E on ESPN?  I sat about 4 rows behind the bench of the Wizards this afternoon. Thanks to the kindness of my friend Dave (one of my HU Work/study students from the 1980s), I was able to see the team close-up. I must confess my primary attraction to the NBA these days is watching Curry and Golden State games. The Wizards lost to Houston today. At times it looked like the bearded Harden was shaving the Wizards at will. Otto Porter got some playing time which might have been linked to his presence on the cover of the program guide. Porter had a decent game. I wish the young guy well. At times the NBA game looked a little too fast for him. Too often he was playing tag with the player he was trying to cover.

I'm curious as to how far this team can go in the playoffs this year.

Below you will find me checking the scoreboard before the fans arrive.
Looking at the Verizon Horizon. Praying and waiting for believers.

         MARCH 2015   
karren at AWP booth
is now accepting nominations of poets who belong in our wonderful Hilary Tham Capital Collection, an imprint open only to poets who donate their time to nonprofits that have a literary component in their mission. 

Request our nomination form today fromeditor@wordworksbooks.org or
Each year we invite all poets nominated to us in March and April to submit a book manuscript for consideration. After the May 1 deadline, an outside judge picks two titles for publication. This year's judge will be Kimiko Hahn.
Past judges have been Denise  Duhamel, Gray Jacobik, Cornelius Eady, and Michael Klein. 
Both of Klein 's selections, published in the spring of 2015, will debut at the AWP conference in Minneapolis.  Barbara Ungar's fourth book, Immortal Medusa, and Joe Zealberg's first,Covalence, look forward to meeting you.
If you volunteer for a nonprofit organization, do take note of our guidelines below. Any nonprofit can send us the names of poets who have donated their labor to help keep quality literature alive in America. If you have a poetry manuscript and your literary nonprofit organization will nominate you to us, The Word Works will include you in our spring 2015 invitation to submit to the HTCC for possible publication.
But hurry--we're in our nomination season right now! Nominations are good for two years, so if you were nominated in 2014, you can simply submit again this year. If you or someone you know would like to be included, just send for the easy nomination form. 

We Want YOU!
April 15, 2015
Literary nonprofits nominate poet volunteers up till this date, and invitations are issued. All invited may submit book manuscripts to be judged for possible inclusion in the 2016 Word Works publications.
May 1, 2015
Invited poets submit book manuscripts of 48-80 pages to the Hilary Tham Capital Collection, either on paper or through our online submission manager.
In June the judge selects two books for 2016 publication.
A nomination form will be available via email upon request to editor@WordWorksBooks.org.

The $25 reading fee can be paid by either the organization or the poet. Nominations can be accepted for volunteers only; no staff paid by the nominating organization may submit work.



  • Go to wordworksbooks.org/submissions.
  • Create an account if you don't already have one.
  • Choose HTCC as the genre.
  • Pay the $25 reading fee if your organization has not done it for you.
  • Upload your 48-80 page manuscript.
  • Please don't include any identifying information or acknowledgments page in the file.
  • Use the NOTES box to share bio, acknowledgments, etc.

    • Send your 48-80 page manuscript                              c/o Nancy White, 1337 Route 59, Cambridge, NY 12816.
    • Include two title pages, one with and one without author information, including email and phone. 
    • Include a SASE for results. 
    • Include a check payable to The Word Works for the $25 reading fee if your organization has not done it for you. 

    The Word Works is a 501c-3 nonprofit and member of CLMP.
    In This Issue
    Join Our Mailing List
    Has Your Address Changed?
    If your mailing address changes, do let us know at:karren@wordworksbooks.org.
    While we are trying to use paper media less, there are still times when nothing else will do... 
     A nonprofit literary and educational organization dedicated to the support and perpetuation of contemporary poetry and literature.
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    Breaking from Newsmax.com
    O’Malley: Presidency Not Some Crown Waiting for Hillary
    Potential Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley said Sunday that the country needs fresh perspectives for confronting its problems and criticized the prospects of the Clinton and Bush families yet again seeking the White House.
    "The presidency of the United States is not some crown to be passed between two families," the former Maryland governor told ABC's "This Week."

    Read More Here

    is the delete

    we keep
    while trying

    to write.

      - E. Ethelbert Miller

    Saturday, March 28, 2015


    Shopping in Silver Spring today. I got measured for the tux I need to wear in a few weeks.
    Also decided to pick-up some happy socks. I got fun assistance from public relations friend Beverly Hunt. She picked out a hat that made me think of Bonnie and Clyde.



    Friday was a busy day. A good Library Development Advisory Council meeting at George Washington University. I love being a part of this group.Much going on with the development of Special Collections and fundraising. I'm going to miss the talented Jennifer Broome. Yesterday was her last day.It was Broome who recruited me to join the Council. She is moving on to a new job but I'm certain we will continue to stay in touch.

    Yesterday was K-Day too. A meeting with Kate Damon to discuss plans for our podcast that will soon be out there in the world. The tentative title of our program is "Kate & Ethelbert: Re-Imagining The Colors of Change." Our target date is the end of June.

    Late afternoon provided the opportunity to go by the Smith Center for Healing + The Arts. Finally a chance to give Shanti Norris a hug. We've known each other for years - corresponded by email. Shanti invited me (a few months ago ) to write an essay for the 2015 Alchemical Vessels exhibition. It will be up until the Artists' closing reception on Friday, May 22. The exhibit features the work of 125 artists hand-selected by 20 prominent curators. The creation of the work is done with the hope of creating community dialogue around healing and transformation. Each artist works to transform a ceramic bowl into a beautiful vessel.


    Below a picture of Shanti Norris and Kate Damon

    Thursday, March 26, 2015

    Literary Activist E. Ethelbert Miller on the Innovative E-Channel and His Web-Based Conversations with Dr. Johnson—A Groundbreaking Feat of Cultural History
    By Robin Lindley

                Renowned literary activist and poet E. Ethelbert Miller is recognized for his creative approaches to bringing art and literature to new audiences, for preserving intellectual and literary history that might otherwise be lost, and for mentoring and encouraging committed artists and writers, especially promising black creators.

                In a unique effort that employs new technology to enlarge the literary landscape, Mr. Miller has assembled a groundbreaking new work of cultural and intellectual history with The Words and Wisdom of Charles Johnson (Dzanc Books). This magisterial book collects a year-long exchange of emails between Mr. Miller and literary icon Dr. Charles Johnson on topics as varied as philosophy, African American literature, history, Seattle, education, Buddhism, the craft of writing, politics, Dr. Martin Luther King, fatherhood, martial arts, cartooning, dogs, and much more.

                Mr. Miller called his electronic media project the E-Channel, a platform for thoughtful and inventive exchange of ideas and exploration. He launched the project with the multifaceted and celebrated Dr. Johnson, a fellow “black, male, boomer writer,” to bring his “cavernous and selfless intellect” to the world.

                Dr. Charles Johnson is perhaps best known as the author of four novels including Dreamer and the National Book Award-winning Middle Passage, as well as numerous essays, short stories, and screenplays. He is also recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship and is recognized as a public intellectual, philosopher, and even an accomplished cartoonist. Dr. Johnson earned a doctorate in philosophy (emphasizing phenomenology and literary aesthetics). He then worked for more than 30 years as a professor of English at the University of Washington in Seattle where he taught literature and creative writing, directed the creative writing program, and held an endowed chair, the S. Wilson and Grace M. Pollack Professorship for Excellence in English. He is now a professor emeritus and has just published a second volume of his children’s book series Emery Jones, Boy Science Wonder with co-author, his daughter Elisheba, and a book of essays on Buddhism, race, and culture, Taming the Ox.

                Over the course of a year, Mr. Miller emailed Dr. Johnson more than 400 questions and Dr. Johnson answered 218 on a wide range of topics.

                In a recent interview with Peter Kelley, Dr. Johnson stressed the immediacy of his writing in for E-Channel and recognized Mr. Miller’s work: “For me, it was a real brain dump. There's no book like this anywhere in world literature — a very candid, detailed look into a writer's mind and heart and journey through this life. It was a fascinating challenge for both of us. Ethelbert had to read all my novels, stories, essays, book prefaces and introductions, and because he is an arts advocate and chairs a liberal think tank in Washington, D.C., the Institute for Policy Studies, many of his questions have a political flavor. Really, the 672-page "Words and Wisdom" is as much his book as it is mine.”

                Writers, teachers, and professors have praised the Miller-Johnson project, and many of Dr. Johnson’s responses have been shared widely. Mr. Miller’s project serves as a model for future explorations of renowned thinkers and creative minds.

                A poet, writer and literary advocate, Mr. Miller has served as director of the African American Studies Resource Center at Howard University since 1974. He also chairs the board of the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive multi-issue think tank, and is a board member of The Writer's Center and editor of Poet Lore magazine. Mr. Miller has taught at UNLV, American University, George Mason University, and Emory and Henry College. He is the former chair of the Humanities Council of Washington, D.C., a former core faculty member of the Bennington Writing Seminars at Bennington College, Further, he often contributes to National Public Radio. 
                Mr. Miller is also an acclaimed poet whose collections of poetry include Andromeda (1974), The Land of Smiles and the Land of No Smiles (1974), Season of Hunger / Cry of Rain (1982), Where Are the Love Poems for Dictators? (1986), Whispers, Secrets and Promises (1998), and How We Sleep on the Nights We Don’t Make Love (2004). He is the editor of the anthologies Women Surviving Massacres and Men (1977); In Search of Color Everywhere (1994), which won the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award and was a Book of the Month Club selection; and Beyond the Frontier (2002). He also wrote two memoirs Fathering Words: The Making of an African American Writer and The 5th Inning.
                Mr. Miller recently talked about his work and his unique web-based exchanges with Dr. Johnson that led to the impressive new volume The Words and Wisdom of Charles Johnson.        

                Robin Lindley: Congratulations on your wide-ranging and innovative new book The Words and Wisdom of Charles Johnson.

                E. Ethelbert Miller: It was a major project, and he deserves a lot of credit for taking the time to do it.

                Robin Lindley: And you too. It’s a book that’s impossible to skim—each entry is so compelling.

                E. Ethelbert Miller: I think you could take, for example, just the entries on the craft of writing and use them to teach a number of creative writing workshops.

                Robin Lindley: What inspired the E-Channel and then your year of interviews with Dr. Johnson?
                E. Ethelbert Miller: It may not have happened if I didn’t live in Washington and Charles (didn’t live) in Seattle. We both stay up late and, over the years, we sent a lot of emails back and forth late in the evening. So we were in contact that way.

                And he had to be retired to undertake this project so he’d have time to do it.

                The E-Channel is really an outgrowth of social media.

                The idea came when I was reading the newspaper and saw that Oprah [Winfrey] decided to develop her new Oprah Channel, the O-Channel. And I thought if Oprah can do it, I can create my own channel, the E-Channel.  Then I thought who could I focus on that would be interesting—and then Charles was the obvious choice because I was in touch him all of the time. It was just a question of creating an outlet for his voice.

                I should note that the beginning entries are short, but after a couple months went by, Charles really got into it. There are a lot of questions he didn’t want to answer, which I thought was funny. I had to sometimes send him clusters of questions like five or six questions before he would take one. We developed a relationship so that some questions he didn’t answer in January or February he might answer later.

                Charles is a very private person, but after a while I could get him to write about his daughter. I knew he liked dogs, so I put in things like that. And I tried to mix up the questions. I didn’t want him to get in a comfortable position where say he knew I was asking about Middle Passage. I always wanted to have surprising questions.

                Robin Lindley: You’re a masterful interviewer and the questions brought out many different aspects of Dr. Johnson.

                E. Ethelbert Miller: Near the end of the year, I stumbled on something that I thought might make the collection really important. Near the end of the book, I pulled out quotes from African American history and literature and had Charles respond to those quotes. I think that anyone teaching African American studies would have come by these quotes from Du Bois, from Fanon, and here is somebody who has taken the time to explain what this means.

                It was also a way to get Charles to comment on poetry. I’d ask what he thought about a famous poem by Dunbar.

                Robin Lindley: The book is organized chronologically rather than by topic.

                E. Ethelbert Miller: Right. As a casual reader, you can go through it at your leisure. If it was more structured, it could be used differently.

                Robin Lindley: How did you get to know Dr. Johnson?

                E. Ethelbert Miller: I got to know him through his work. His first novel, Faith and the Good Thing, became one of my favorite books. I read it and shared it with people.
                Then Charles came to DC for the 1987 PEN/Faulkner Award. I remember going to the Folger Shakespeare Library and meeting Charles and Richard Wiley who won the award. That’s when our relationship started.  

                Robin Lindley: This project is such an innovative use of the Internet. As the book makes clear, you and Dr. Johnson are both open to new technology.

                E. Ethelbert Miller: Yes. My project now, which is not as big as the Johnson project, is called “The Aldon Nielsen Project 2015.” He’s one of the important critics in African American literature. I’m going to explore and get in the mind of a critic and chart how a critic develops.  We really don’t know how a critic develops, and I think it will be interesting to see this project alongside the E-Channel. 

                Robin Lindley: You have a great interest in history, and your book on Charles Johnson is an impressive book of cultural history. 
                E. Ethelbert Miller: Yes, I think so. If someone asked about my dream for the book, my dream would be that this book would put Charles on a shortlist for a Nobel Prize by showing the length and breadth of his work. As others talk about Joyce Carol Oates or Philip Roth, we can talk about Charles Johnson.

                Robin Lindley: And readers can go to this comprehensive work and pick out sections that relate to so many fascinating and timeless topics.

                E. Ethelbert Miller: Yes, especially at this particular time. It’s so key in looking at Martin Luther King with the fiftieth anniversary of Selma. Some of the best stuff on King is in the book.

                Robin Lindley: Dr. King’s last year is largely forgotten but it’s critical time when had turned his attention to militarism, poverty and economic injustice.

                E. Ethelbert Miller: That goes back to Vincent Harding who died last year. He had a significant influence on King in the last years. He helped King write the Riverside Church speech [April 4, 1967] where King came out against the Vietnam War.   

    Robin Lindley: Dr. Johnson spoke of a Buddhist trend in Dr. King’s actions. Do you remember how he expressed that?

                E. Ethelbert Miller: There was considerable eastern thought that came to King through people like Howard Thurman who made trips to India and influenced practically every black minister in the United States.

                Looking at eastern religious connections to Christianity is no different than what Thomas Merton did later by going from being a Trappist monk to embracing the east. Charles looks at those paths.

                We need to consider what people are reading and doing, and look at the possible influence of Langston Hughes on Martin Luther King and the dream motif in his speeches. King, like many people, looked to the poetry of Langston Hughes. People need to go back and look at Hughes’ influence on King. The same way, you can go back to the March on Washington and look at Mahalia Jackson who some say got Martin Luther King to speak [about the Dream] when she said in the middle of the speech: “Tell us about the dream Martin. Tell us about the dream.” And all of a sudden the cadence of King’s speech changed and it was like two different speeches. That was an interesting connection that needs to be pursued like a moment of microhistory to fill in the gaps.

                Robin Lindley: Were there a couple of moments in the course of your interviews with Dr. Johnson when you were surprised by what he said?

                E. Ethelbert Miller: When you look at the E-Channel as a blog and at blogs in general, and blogs are sloppy and are not journalism. But the key thing that came out is that Charles is a perfectionist. Nothing is posted with misspellings, with punctuation mistakes. Many bloggers get by with that because they want to post quickly. Nothing upset Charles more than a spelling error or whatever. After a while, that affected me in my own work. If I put anything out there and work with someone like Charles Johnson, I proofread tighter.  I’m not going to let something go out with a typo.

                That gives you a sense of Charles and the craft of doing revision and getting it right.
                And when he got the book, it knocked him out. He was overwhelmed by the size of it. It gives you a sense of why the book is so powerful. We can have things on line, but when you can hold something in your hand and see how big it is, I think that makes a difference. This was a lot of work.

                Robin Lindley: You both did a great job. Dr. Johnson has an expansive view of his role as a writer and he’s seen as a transitional writer. He sees that African American writers may deal with the history of slavery and injustice, but he wants to get beyond the boundaries of race and class and culture.

                E. Ethelbert Miller: I don’t know if it’s getting beyond. I think what it comes back to is that Charles is a philosopher. If we’re undergraduates, we’re going to take some philosophy classes. And if those classes are taught well and do their job well, they are going take you and me and make sure we confront the big questions. Who we are. Why we’re here. Those big questions.

                Robin Lindley: When Dr. Johnson talks about creative writing he encourages all writers to get beyond their own experiences and to imagine the lives of other people.

                E. Ethelbert Miller: Yes. No selfies. With social media we don’t take the time. Look what happens now. Everybody has a story to tell but nobody listens.

                Robin Lindley: Marc Conner, a professor of English, wrote an introduction for the book on Dr. Johnson’s influence.

                E. Ethelbert Miller: Marc Conner deserves a lot of credit. He began to see as a critic how important this project was. This book could change even how we teach literature.

                Now we can teach Charles Johnson to a new generation of writers, and they’re going to write differently. They’re going to write philosophical novels. That’s a completely different breed.

                Robin Lindley: And Charles Johnson is open to new projects. He has a new book for kids that he illustrated and wrote with his daughter Elisheba, Emery Jones, Boy Science Wonder. He’s still exploring so many areas.

                E. Ethelbert Miller: You could see that coming. In reading the E-Channel, you see his first love was cartooning. And other things come in. All of a sudden you learn about his daughter, about his cartoons, about becoming a grandfather. I think the personal questions opened the door for him to collaborate more. He was looking backward and looking forward.

                Robin Lindley: Thanks for mentioning that archive. Would you like to write a biography of Dr. Johnson?

                E. Ethelbert Miller: [Laughter] I’m a literary activist. I work behind the scenes. If you go to the Gelman Library at The George Washington University, you’ll see the scope of my personal archive.        

                Robin Lindley: You make a good point that students will benefit from learning more about Charles Johnson. He rejects a narrow or limited form of thinking.

                E. Ethelbert Miller: You can’t get into Charles unless you come at him from a particular angle. You have a number of people who will love him because they’ll be introduced to Buddhism because of a hunger they have. He has a growing audience for that. But in conferences or in graduate schools people to do more work on Charles Johnson. 

                I was looking at every single angle in viewing Charles. I looked back at texts. I looked at every single interview with Charles Johnson and what they didn’t touch on. 
                Robin Lindley: Charles Johnson has certainly influenced hundreds of students, writers, artists, and he’s touched people in so many ways with everything from fiction and philosophy to cartooning.

                E. Ethelbert Miller: More people are discovering his books. That has a lot to do with our society. Many individuals are being promoted who don’t even come close to Charles Johnson.

                Because he’s in Seattle and not in New York City and he’s not marketing himself like cornflakes, we won’t see him with his wife at the Academy Awards or some celebrity event. Unless he does an album with Lady Gaga, some people won’t know about him. And that’s our loss as a society. And it’s our loss if Charles is not acknowledged by a new generation.

                Robin Lindley: Thank you so much for sharing your insights. It’s been a pleasure.
    Robin Lindley is a Seattle-based writer and attorney, and the features editor of the History News Network (hnn.us). His articles also have appeared in Crosscut, Real Change, Documentary, Writer’s Chronicle, and others. His email: robinlindley@gmail.com.

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    Howard University Library System/Moorland-Spingarn Research Center
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    Yesterday I got to spend time laughing with historian Douglas Brinkley and his wonderful wife. Brinkley was in town to be honored. See link below...
    He is among the top 5 people I admire and try to keep up with.



    So glad you are here and near.
    Love you now and then.
    Love you then and now.
    Love you all the time.
    So glad you are here -- not there.
    Wherever you are I long to be -
    Close to you and not far.
    Very near to you my dear.

    Always and forever not now and then.
    It never ends - this love for you.
    There was a time when time began.
    My first thought was loving you. 
    But time stopped and moved too slow.
    The days without you passed too fast.

          - E. Ethelbert Miller


    The House that "Jass" Built

    Walking Tour with Food Stops

    Date: SUNDAY, 4/19/2015
    Time: 11 AM - 3 PM
    Price: $56/person
    Includes Brunch and Beer Tasting

    Portion of ticket sales benefits the 
    Duke Ellington School of the Arts

    “Jass” - That's how the young E.K. Ellington aka “Duke” Ellington promoted his small band of DC musicians in the Washington phone directory -- available for school dances, embassy socials, country clubs, cabarets and house parties. 

    Ellington, Shaw & U takes you on a journey via the people, places and communities -- “jass” built from Ragtime and the Blues to Swing, Bebop and Latin Jazz. Thanks to a social network of performers of all music genres, teachers, promoters and venues, jazz made its mark on the capital city within a one mile radius from 14th, U Street, and Shaw. By the end of the tour, you’ll have more music to add to your play lists, and places to revisit again.

    • 11 AM Meet Up at Ben’s Next Door for Brunch and an Introduction (1211 U Street, NW, next door to Ben’s Chili Bowl). Closest Metro: U Street Staion, Green and Yellow line.  Take 13th Street exit). Be sure to select your brunch preference from the walking tour selections with your ticket order.

    • 12:15 (approx.) Walking Tour – U Street, 14th Street and Shaw 

    • 2 PM  (approx.) Beer tasting at Right Proper Brewing Company  at 624 T Street at (site of Frank Holliday’s Pool Room aka the “school of jazz”). Right Proper makes beers named for jazz giants on the premises. Right Proper is close to the Shaw/Howard U Metro station, Green and Yellow Lines.

    A production of Michon Boston Group LTD, bringing creative cultural strategies and experiences to build strong and vibrant community. ( michonbostongroup.com, @michonbostongrp). For information, email  events@michonbostongroup.com or call  202-939-0794.
    In a 1934 letter to Amy Spingarn, Langston Hughes wrote the following:

    Krishnamurti is at Carmel now, and I have attended two interesting groups with whom he has held discussions. His talks are like clear running water - a great deal goes by that nobody seems to understand - but ever so often there is a glimpse of something beautiful and sound beneath - like a lovely and solid rock at the bottom of the stream. I am interested in hearing a further development of his ideas of non-acquisitiveness, which seem to be one of the bases of his way of life - but, so far, unexplained in terms of our physical world.

    Wednesday, March 25, 2015




    What I love about March Madness are the surprises. Last week my son was in the area recruiting basketball players for Delaware Valley - he stopped by the house bringing back old times. We sat around the table talking about the future and new career plans. I was happy to hear about my son's interest in working with youth - maybe even at the high school level. It was nice to hear about his compassion for helping others. Looks like my son will soon be coaching me. I need to work on my turnovers and learn to listen more. But hey - it was nice to hear my son say he liked the last poem I wrote and placed on Facebook. Dads always need a pat on the head now and then. The joys of fatherhood often comes with a big smile.

    Tuesday, March 24, 2015


    Many years ago James Baldwin and I did a program together at the Howard University Law School. It was one of the more memorable moments of my literary career. I think it might have been the last time he spoke on the Howard campus. Baldwin was gracious to autograph my copy of Time magazine (May 17, 1963) that had him on the cover.

    Before I left work this afternoon I stopped by the Howard Museum on the ground floor of Founders Library. Since becoming the director of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Dr. Howard Dodson has been using the small space to present some nice cultural exhibits. The one you don't want to miss is up right now. Take your butt to see Baldwin if you don't do nothing else during the next several weeks. Sit for about 40 minutes and enjoy "Remembering James Baldwin" a multimedia production by Hank Willis Thomas. This is a very creative presentation of Baldwin's voice and images. It's an amazing tribute on 4 screens to a writer who was actually a prophet. Baraka said "he was man, spirit, voice - old and black and terrible as that first ancestor."

    Monday, March 23, 2015



    Baby, let's Cruz -let's get far away...

    Do you really think Ted Cruz is going to be our next president?  Look for this guy to simply add color to the Republican primary debates - nothing else. He might be able to position himself into the VP slot because he's from Texas. Yes, we still have that Electoral College. How much is tuition these days? Cruz of course will have to "cruz" without making some silly remark at a press conference or talk show. Look for this guy to spend his allowance in a few months. If Cruz is the extreme - who is going to be the moderate in the Republican race?  So far, Jeb Bush is not the burning bush everyone wants to turn to. I'm still keeping an eye on Mike Pence. When is the media going to fall in love with him?  Meanwhile - look for Lady Clinton to keep getting hit in the head with paper scandals. I have no idea what people find so exciting about her. I do love her laugh - but what does she believe in? Remember when we immediately associated her with healthcare?  Look for someone (not Warren) to throw their hat into the ring and bring drama back to the Democrats. Politics is 99% entertainment until you turn the channel.
    The Nation Magazine
    Dear Friend of the Nation,

    150th_issue_cover_otu_img_email.jpgThe year 2015 marks The Nation's 150th anniversary. This week, to celebrate the occasion, we're publishing a tremendous and tremendously exciting special anniversary issue.

    This 268-page issue, which I co-edited with D.D. Guttenplan, our London correspondent, weaves together voices from The Nation’s rich history with a stunning collection of contemporary contributors writing about the current cultural and political moment. In three sections of archival excerpts, each representing five decades of the magazine’s history, we reprint some of the best that was thought and said in our pages—much of it inspiring and eerily prescient, some of it shocking. We have also included a few selections that turned out to be less than prophetic—testimony to the magazine's willingness to take intellectual risks.

    Interspersed with these archival excerpts are three sections of entirely new material. In the first, The Nation and the Nation,” writers explore the magazine’s outsized influence on everything from poetry to feminism, radicalism to right-wing conservatism, Cuba to coverage of the arts. In “Fierce Urgencies,” contributors consider topics like the politics of fear, from anticommunism in the 1950s to Islamophobia today, and the relationship of the left to power—in movements, in electoral politics and in government. Finally, in “Radical Futures,” writers and activists map out new strategies for radicals, progressives and liberals seeking to expand the terms of our public discussion and look beyond the present moment.

    Change is inevitable, but the one constant in The Nation’s history has been a faith—not in political parties or policies, but in what can happen when you tell people the truth. This belief has sustained The Nation since its founding: that and the idea that there are always alternatives—in history, in politics, in life—that would make our country and the world a more humane, just and secure place.

    Our very first issue described “the conflict of the ages, the great strife between the few and the many, between privilege and equality, between law and power, between opinion and the sword.” This anniversary issue is a record of the last 150 years of that conflict—and a promise to the future that as long as The Nation is around, that fight will go on. With your help, we'll be fighting for another 150 years and beyond!


    Katrina vanden Heuvel


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