Thursday, September 30, 2004

My son and I watched the Bush/Kerry debate together. We both thought Kerry won. The problem is what happens after these debates when the television stations go back to their studios. Many of the folks given the first opportunity to talk about the debate were Republicans. There is also a simplistic way of reducing 90 minutes to a sound bite for tomorrow headlines.
I thought Jim Lehrer did a good job.

Time to pack and catch a flight tomorrow.

I spent most of the day talking with Walter Rodney's sister in the African American Resource Center.

I did complete the reading of Kevin Young's MOST WAY HOME. I'll slip Major Jackson's LEAVING SATURN into my travel bag.

I should arrive in Vermont around Noon. My next E-note should be on Monday.

Ichiro got 1 hit today. 2 more to make history. Checkout the article on him in the latest issue of Sports Illustrated.

Time to fly.
The new issue of Poet Lore magazine is out. This is the literary journal I edit with Rick Cannon and Jody Bolz. In this issue Contributing Editor David Wagoner introduces the work of Derek Sheffield. Derek serves as creative non fiction editor at Seattle Review and teaches at Wenatchee Valley College. Poet Lore is known for publishing exceptional poetry as well as reviews of poetry books. In the lateist issue Sarah Kanning reviews GRANTED by Mary Szybist.

Yesterday while using public transportation I read most of Kevin Young's MOST WAY HOME.
The second section of this book can be a tasty treat. " The Escape Artist" is my favorite poem.

Yesterday was also a day of talking to students, corresponding with folks I met at Cave Canem and writing letters of recommendation.

I also decided to accept the position of Board chair for IPS. I guess this is where my politics and poetry will find common ground.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

DC is getting a baseball team. I can't wait for the games to begin. 1 person on the Expos. Hmmm. Well, I will get to see Barry Bonds play. Baseball is back.
I'm getting ready for the visit of Dr. Yuri Stulov. He will be a Fulbright Visiting Scholar from Belarus. I've known Yuri for a number of years. It will be good to see him again.

I accepted the invitation from the Fine Arts Work Center to teach a class there next summer.
My title for the class is "Writing the Political Poem: A workshop in poetry not politics."

I spoke with James Early today about IPS. It's my turn to accept the responsibilities of board chair. Whew...this is going to mean mucho work.

I came home and took a nap using the sleep machine. Not bad. I feel good and ready to go...

OK...Ichiro is down to 5 hits. It would be nice to have one more 5 for 5 game. I hope he gets 3 hits tonight. This will keep the pressure off.
He should break the record by Friday. The online Sporting News had a nice article. If Ichiro had a better April he would be hitting .400 right now.
Help for Haiti and Grenada. The collecting of relief supplies for victims of the recent hurricanes will begin tomorrow at Greater Southeast Community Hospital (1310 Southern Ave, SE) in DC.
From 6AM - 8PM. Until Sunday. Try and donate the following items: Clothes, bottled water, canned food and school supplies. The public is asked to drop these items in the bin near the guard's desk at the front of the hospital.
I had difficulty with the mask last night. It removes what I call the "joy of sleeping." I'll try again. I might just put it on and read first...then fall asleep.

I just received a package of PR material for the film THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES. It's the next movie I want to see. So Che is back. I love the following statement by Ariel Dorfman:

'The powerful of the earth should take heed: deep inside that T-shirt where we have tried to trap him, the eyes of Che Guevara are still burning with impatience'

Other news...

Rita Dove is reading from her new book AMERICAN SMOOTH at the Library of Congress on Thursday, September 30th. The Montpelier Room, Madison Building. 6:45 P.M.

Monday, September 27, 2004

I spent much of yesterday reading KITE RUNNER by Hosseini. Once you start reading this book it's difficult to put down.

Quite a number of things to mail this morning.

Today folks will bring THE MASK. It should help me sleep better.

Good news. My son's team DC Warriors won the Weber Tournament held on the campus of the University of Maryland. It was the last run for the Warriors. Many of these kids will be heading off to college to play basketball. My son has been contacted by a number of colleges as well as the Navy. The last few weeks he has been talking about attending a black college. It's important for children to make their own decisions and obtain support from their parents. Could there be a Howard or Hampton in my son's future?

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Today I'll try and get back on track. I'll even have to miss my son's basketball games at the University of Maryland. :-( Look for us tomorrow night to be in front of the television watching the Redskins/Cowboys game.

I expect Ichiro to break the hit record by Thursday. I think he needs 7 more hits.

Here are poetry books I purchased at the Furious Flower Conference. You might want to add them to your reading list too:

...HERE...NEW AND SELECTED POEMS by Everett Hoagland
ANTEBELLUM DREAM BOOK by Elizabeth Alexander
LEAVING SATURN by Major Jackson
MOST WAY HOME by Kevin Young

Two poets game me books as gifts:

SMELLS I SEE by F. Geoffrey Johnson
PAUT NETERU by Men Maa Aim Ra

The new Richard Wright Newsletter is out. Folks interested in the Richard Wright Circle should write to : James A. Miller at The George Washington University, Department of English, 801 22nd Street, NW, Washington, DC 20052

Well, I have to start reading THE KITE RUNNER by Hosseini. NPR book discussion coming up.

I made the trip to Furious Flower with Carolyn Joyner. We arrived on the campus of James Madison around 6PM on the 23rd. A bus was leaving for the Blackfriars Playhouse for the production of "The Bard Meets Black and Unknown Bards." There was no way I was going to sit in a theater after coming off the road. I was looking for the Hampton Inn and a bed. Black poets need their sleep. There is no metaphor.

The next day I went to registration and made the opening of the FF conference. Joanne Gabbin was in good spirits and welcoming everyone. A nice visual documentary of the 1994 conference was shown in the College Center Ballroom.

I attended a morning Critics' RT with Trudier Harris, Tony Bolden, Maryemma Graham and Hilary Holladay. Houston Baker, Jr give the keynote address. in the afternoon. This was followed by a poetry reading with Thomas Sayers Elllis, Major Jackson, Yusef Komunyakaa, Tony Medina, Opal Moore and Sharan Strange. I thought Ellis gave one of his best readings. Look for his new book next year.

FF had many concurrent sessions. This made it difficult to decide where to go, still it was good to see so much criticism of poetry being done by new scholars.

I read my poems on Thursday night. Also on the program were Brenda Marie Osbey, Kevin Young, LucilleClifton, Nikki Giovanni, and Haki Mahdubuti.

On Friday, Julia Galbus gave a paper on my work- "What Does The E Stand For?
I went to another Critics RT with Daryl Dance, Velma Pollard, Mark Sanders, Eleanor Traylor and Omekongo Dibinga.

FF was a time for readings. A big one took place on Friday afternoon with Amiri Baraka, Rita Dove, Dolores Kendrick, Eugene Redmond, Sonia Sanchez and Askia Toure.

I took shelter in my room and chilled on Friday night. I watched the Yankees beat the RedSox.

On Saturday I joined a panel chaired by Opal Moore. We discussed the lack of creative writing programs at black colleges. Don't get me started...

Saturday, September 25, 2004

I just got back from the Furious Flower Conference. It was a nice event; a chance to see folks I hadn't seen in many years. The last FF Conference was 10 years ago. After I unpack my bags I'll do an E-Note about the event.

Right now I'm heading off to the University of MD to see my son play in a basketball tournament. I need a game after all the poetry readings and talks.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

I'm off to Furious Flower today. I exchanged a couple of emails with Charles Rowell. He's excited about his next Callaloo magazine. He is highlighting several "emerging" African American writers. It should be interesting.

I packed and shipped all of my June Jordan letters and poems to the Givens Collection at the University of Minnesota. I think they can protect them better than I can.
Ichiro - 5 for 5 baby. Yeah!

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

I have an upcoming NPR book discussion to prepare for. The book up for discussion is THE KITE RUNNER by Khaled Hosseini. I'll have to read the book by October 20th.
What a wonderful day full of surprises. My dear beloved friend Judy called after a 2 year absence...she swears it hasn't been that long. It was great connecting again. The other surprise was Walter Rodney's sister walking into the African American Resource Center. I loved Rodney. I still consider him to be one of the major thinkers in the world. His book HOW EUROPE UNDERDEVELOPED AFRICA is a classic. When he was assassinated the entire Black world lost its favorite son. Rodney's scholarship and political vision touched Africa and black people throughout the diaspora. I keep a poster of Rodney in my office.

I also spent the morning talking with development consultant Nancy Withbroe about the future of IPS.

I completed reading Barbara Berman's manuscript...will ship this afternoon.

Monday, September 20, 2004

A trip to the dentist this morning. I'm still having problems with my jaw and ear.

I got a few letters of recommendation out for folks. I went over and took a look at the Faculty Art Exhibit at Howard. A couple of pieces I want to take another look at. I think the most talented department on the HU campus is the Art Department. The school needs a much larger gallery as well as new studio space for students.

I like the Savory cafe that opened across the street from the Takoma Metro Station. So far it's nice and quiet. I can sit there after work and have a smoothie. I can also see when the bus I take home is coming. I told the woman behind the counter they should have poetry readings in the evening. I left a card.

I completed the reading of Kemp's book. We exchanged a couple of emails today. I think it's cool that he named one of his children Mingus.

I have to read and write a blurb for STANDING IN THE WHIRLWIND: The Riveting Story of a Priest and the Congregations Who Tormented Her by Nancy James. I received the manuscript from The Pilgrim Press.

On my desk are manuscripts to return to Barbara Berman (SF), Venus (DC) and Sanderia (FL).

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Good reporting about Sudan by Dora Muhammad in The Final Call newspaper. See the issue for September 21, 2004.
My mom's birthday today. She is 85 and doing well after a rough 2003. I watched the Redskins fall from grace. No QB debate in this town. Was that guy throwing the interceptions the starter last year? It figures. Poor Gibbs. Anyway many teams will be 1-1 after 2 weeks. Good for the league. And what about those Mystics? They are going to the playoffs.

Ichiro got no hits today. :-( He needs a couple of 3 hit games this week if he is going to break the hit record. Not impossible. He can't afford a slump right now...

I just read Julia's Furious Flower paper. She did a wonderful job writing about my work. So many things I can't remember...I'm grateful for her research. It's good for my memory and gives me the motivation to do new things.

I'm knocking out some letters of recommendations. I'll look at a couple of manuscripts folks have sent to me before the night ends.

Dentist tomorrow.

Oh...I love the Dylan reggae tape. Get your copy of IS IT ROLLING BOB?

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Today I also ran into Fred Strothers. I love the guy. One of the best actors in the area. He was the first guy who told me about the television series Homicide. Fred was in it as well as a couple of other friends. Fred and I stood on a corner laughing like two Black men before the slave ships arrived.

Oh, I had a meal at Spices on Connecticut Avenue. It's an Asian Restaurant and Sushi Bar. I might have to go back for the sushi. The meal I had was one step away from carryout. In other words it might have tasted better if I was eating it in my own home. Go figure. I had sweet/sour soup and Thai Chicken Fried rice. I also had a Thai ice tea that was weak and not made well.
What's the daily?
After jogging I went downtown to DuPont Circle and met with Ed Perlman who teaches creative writing at John Hopkins. I'll be an outside reader for one of his students working on an M.A. Ed and I met at Cosi (North of the Circle) and then walked over to Provisions Library. Checkout their Native American display as well as the art work of Roxanne Swentzell. She has beautiful bronze figures that you just want to hug and talk to.

I sat in the DuPontCircle area for over an hour moving from Cosi to Starbucks...trying to find a good spot to read my Poet Lore submissions. I completed work on 3 packets.

I went into the new Krispy Kreme donut place...what's all the fuss about these donuts? I don't get it. I purchased two and not a box.

Today was also a music day. I'm getting ready to listen to Eternal. Branford Marsalis quartet playing ballads. I also purchased Reggae Gold. Why is Alicia Keys on this? If this woman is not careful she is going to be packaged into doing stuff that is silly. Folks will try to make her sexy and sell her looks, etc. I think she's the most talented young singer and musician out there. I would tie her hands to the piano and not have her dancing around playing Janet Jackson. OK...and what's with the hats? Is is Michael Jackson or Monk? I hope it's Monk since he played piano. Anyway I love Alicia Keys...that's why I purchased the Reggae Gold. Just call me a sucker for this woman.

I'm still reading Kemp Powers THE SHOOTING.

So Bonds hits number 700. Poor guy...he will be remembered the way folks think about Hank Aaron. Do they? It's still the Babe. Folks are chasing a myth more than a record. Aaron is the home run king and folks still believe Babe is a better player. Now you know there is still that "rumor" about Ruth being Black. He He The Alexander Hamilton of baseball? Ah...such crazy stuff let me stop.

Friday, September 17, 2004

I thought I would do something new.
I'll list the poems I will read at my next reading. I will be reading at the Furious Flower Conference (James Madison University) on Thursday 23, 2004. 8 PM in Wilson Hall. I will be reading with Lucille Clifton, Nikki Giovanni, Naomi Long Madgett, Haki Madhubuti and Kevin Young.

I will read the following poems:

Emmett Till Looks At A Photo Album From Iraq (unpublished)
Boxing With Your Mom (on website)
The Equator (How We Sleep On The Nights We Don't Make Love)
The Fifth Inning (Crux Magazine, Catholic University)
Freedom ( Whispers, Secrets & Promises)

So what's the daily?
I enjoyed talking this morning with Zahra from Sudan. She gave me good info and insight into what's going on in her country. She is the woman I met yesterday at the Sudan forum.

I Xeroxed and sent to Julia Galbus copies of all the interviews I did years ago for the Washington Review. I see this perhaps being the core of a future book. I have interviews with Haki Madhubuti, Amiri Baraka, Larry Neal, Michelle Parkerson and several other writers.

Michon dropped off the Miguel Pinero & James Early tape. She converted the reel tape to video cassette. We might air this program on DCTV.

I finally obtained a copy of IS IT ROLLING BOB? A REGGAE TRIBUTE TO BOB DYLAN. A must buy. I love what folks have done to the lyrics. BobDylanBobMarley...I & I. I'm listening to it right now and I feel like I'm Knockin on Zion's Door.

Kemp Powers' uncorrected proof was waiting for me when I got home. Kemp attended Howard a number of year ago. The guy was mucho talented. Writer and artist. His new book is THE SHOOTING. I read the excerpt that was published in Esquire Magazine a few years back. It knocked me down. It's a memoir. Kemp accidentally shot and killed his best friend when he was a young kid growing up in Brooklyn. The story won't let you sleep without telling someone about it. Pub date is January 2005. Thunder's Mouth Press (Imprint of Avalon Publishing Group).
ISBN 1-56858-3320-6

Yesterday went by so fast. Now it's Friday. I had a long conversation yesterday with Ada Diaz a graduate student in Howard's English Department. She is looking at the concept of healing in literature. Before leaving campus I went over to the Ceramics Department and met with Adrienne Bailey. She is another graduate student whose thesis committee I'm serving on. While in the building I saw a number of people in the Art Department I hadn't seen in many years. It felt like homecoming. The place is filled with so much fantastic creative talent.

Sandy my editor at Curbstone sent me a copy of T H E Magazine published in Santa Fe, New Mexico. They reprinted (with the cover design of the book) my poem "Rebecca lets down her hair." The poem is included in HOW WE SLEEP ON THE NIGHTS WE DON'T MAKE LOVE.
It's part of a series of Rebecca poems I wrote about a woman fighting breast cancer.

I just got a note back from Alexs Pate. He plans to give me feedback today on the intro draft I wrote for the new publication of LOSING ABSALOM.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

HU Forum on Sudan this morning. I attended the first session. Speakers were Sulayman Nyang, Kojo Nnamdi and Walter Fauntroy. They were suppose to provide a rationale and historical context for what's going on in Darfur. I met a very lovely woman from Sudan who is doing graduate work at HU. The nice thing about this institution is the international presence of so many people. Nyang's talk was good. I consider him to be one of the best scholars at HU. When Fauntroy started quoting Frances Cress Welsing I looked for my Twins baseball cap and left.

Lucille Clifton has a new collection of poems out from BOA. The title is MERCY.

Jessica Hagedorn is coming to town on September 29th. She will be at the Hirshhorn at 6:30 PM. Jessica is the author of DOGEATERS and CHARLIE CHAN IS DEAD.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

It was fun talking today to students in Richard McCann's class at American University. I spent most of the period answering questions about my memoir. Very good ones too.

I made arrangements to get my CPAP machine. This should help me sleep better. Air in the head. Proper sleep for the Muse.

Many phone calls today. Job references for folks, etc. I have 2 more Bennington packets to complete tonight.

The next major project deadline is a Windows & Mirrors program at the DC Jewish Community Center. I have to introduce Steve Oney. He is the author of AND THE DEAD SHALL RISE: THE MURDER OF MARY PHAGAN AND THE LYNCHING OF LEO FRANK. The program is going to be on October 4th at 7PM.
First Gibbs and now Barry is Back. What does this mean? Back to the future? What year is it?
Where's my afro?
So what's the daily?

I'm heading over to American University to visit Richard McCann's class this afternoon. Richard has been teaching FATHERING WORDS the last few years. It should be fun.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

So I'm listening to the new Jill Scott CD and she reminds me of a female Issac Hayes rapping her way through a song. Can I do this? I like Jill. I want to like the CD. I'll walk around with it for a few more days.

Interview with E-1 (Danticat) in the latest issue of The Bloomsbury Review. She makes a couple of good comments. One is about home:

"Home shifts a lot when you migrate from one country to another. Then home is not a place anymore but an idea, an attitude, an ideal."

I had Thai food again tonight. This time in the DuPont Circle area of town. Eggplant and shrimp. :-)

Excellent article on Ichiro in the New York Times today. Checkout "An Artist Who Makes The Field His Canvas" by Lee Jenkins.
I voted. Democratic Primary today. I did my interview with historian Ira Berlin. Berlin is the author of SLAVES WITHOUT MASTERS and MANY THOUSANDS GONE: THE FIRST 2 CENTURIES OF SLAVERY IN NORTH AMERICA. The taping today was made possible because of NEH funds for their WE THE PEOPLE project. Berlin and I discussed the Emancipation Proclamation. I felt the interview went very well. I hope we can use the show in some of the intro courses in African American Studies at Howard. The interview with air on DCTV in February. Many thanks to my producer Michon Boston.

I received a letter from Lit buddy Afaa Michael Weaver. He is putting together The Simmons Chinese Poetry Conference at Simmons College in Boston. Here is the website:

The dates for the conference are October 8th -9th.

I received in the mail a copy of TRUST: Reaching the 100 Million Missing Voters by Farai Chideya. This is a Soft Skull Press book. I plan to give it to my daughter. It looks like something she might enjoy reading.

The new MultiCultural Review is out. Vol. 13, No. 3, Fall 2004. At the back of the journal are words written by Marjorie Agosin and directed to Pablo Neruda.
In this issue is a review of my last collection of poems (HOW WE SLEEP...) by Gail Hall Howard.
She is the first person to make reference to my poem for Alexander Calder. Thanks Gail. :-)
She writes:

"Miller's eighth collection is about love, and about the vacuum of violence here and around the world that occurs when love fails."

Gail also writes that "teachers should be aware of his playful, tender work about lovemaking."


Listening to The Essential Miles Davis at work. What are you listening to? Miles Ahead or Miles Behind?

Monday, September 13, 2004

For beauty is nothing/but the beginning of terror...
- Rilke
HU is having a special forum on the Sudanese Crisis. September 16th in the Blackburn Center East Ballroom. Things begin at 9AM. Speakers include:
Imira Woods, Dr. Sulayman Nyang, Kojo Nnamdi, Walter Fauntroy, Imam Johari Abdul-Malik and others. An invitation was extended to me several years ago to visit Sudan.
I declined because of the lack of knowledge I had about the region. I always want to know where I'm going and who I'm talking to. I plan to listen to some of the morning presentations on the 16th and take a few notes.
Early morning. I dropped by Naomi's apartment and gave her a Chicago Cub's cap. Now she looks like Sosa. :-) Trip to the barber and bank. I'm getting ready for my interview with Ira Berlin tomorrow. We will tape at his home. I think I have a good working outline to discuss the Emancipation Proclamation. I'll begin the program with an overview of US history during the 1850s. This will provide a framework for what unfolds during the 1860s and the Civil War.
I want to talk not only about Lincoln but also Sumner and Stevens who were in Congress during this time. I've developed 7 specific questions that will focus on the text of the EP.

I received document information and instructions for donating materials to the University of Minnesota. I hope to ship my June Jordan letters to them before the end of the month. I think this will be a good home for them. The Jordan letters consist of over 200 items from 1975-1999.

I spent time reviewing a poem by an HU student enrolled in Tony Medina's poetry class.
Medina is a new edition to the HU faculty and a popular professor on campus. Students seem to be enjoying his class. It's good that historical black colleges are moving forward in offering more creative writing classes. Hopefully before the end of the century there will be some MFA programs existing somewhere.
Ichiro watch:
2 hits yesterday. For him to hit .400 he would have to hit .563 for the rest of the season. That would mean 54 hits in 96 at-bats.
He has 231 hits. The George Sisler record is 257.

DuBois once talked about the problem of the color line. This century the key issue might just be religious tolerance.

There was a full-page ad in the NY Times yesterday in support of the Baha'i community. They have been under attack in Iran. For more information visit

The poet Robert Hayden was a member of this faith.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

My son and I spent the afternoon watching football. Skins won. I like Gibbs as a coach. Basic football. The defense looks good. What's with Philadelphia? Are they that good? Not really. I'm not serious about any team until about the 7th game of the season. I wait for key injuries to take place. I also look for a squad that is going to have one of those magical years. I really think I should play QB for the Ravens.

Back to reading Bennington packets.

I found a folder with all the articles and interviews I did for the Washington Review. I'm going to ship it to E&H College and have them include it with my papers.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

September 11th and the airports in Chicago and DC were very empty. Folks stayed away from air travel without any government color warnings.

I took departed yesterday and returned this afternoon. A quick trip to Rockford, Illinois. I gave a reading and discussion of my memoir FATHERING WORDS. The program was organized by the Rockford Public Library and held at the Rockford Business College. Many thanks to Fay Muhammad, Valerie Carter and Zoe Norwood. Beautiful souls. After my reading a number of us went to the home of Jeff and Christine Swanberg. They have a wonderful house with an in-house gallery. It's something I thought about doing once.

During the trip I had a chance to review a manuscript by my friend Ken Massey. Ken lives in Zion, Illinois and is interested in attending Bennington. I talked with him while in National Airport on Friday.

On the airplanesI read one of my Bennington packets. I also read THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION by John Hope Franklin and THE DAY I WAS OLDER edited by Liam Rector. Rector's book is about the poetry of Donald Hall. The Franklin book has been helpful in my preparation for the television interview with Ira Berlin next week. I've developed a number of questions and should be ready for Tuesday's shoot.

Curbstone Press sent me another review of my book HOW WE SLEEP ON THE NIGHTS WE DON'T MAKE LOVE. This one was written by Wayne Atherton and appeared in THE CAFE REVIEW in Portland, Maine:

Not since reading Ho Xuan Huong have I encountered such titillating, erotic poetry...

Atherton was not all praise. He didn't like my jazz poems. Maybe I make love better than I listen to music. Hmmm. :-) Still it was a good review. I'm deeply grateful for Atherton's remarks.

I just received the new book AMERICA ZEN: A GATHERING OF POETS edited by Ray McNiece and Larry Smith. The publisher is Bottom Dog Press (POBox 425, Huron, OH 44839). Some of the contributors include: Diane Di Prima, Tess Gallagher, Sam Hamill, Jane Hirshfield, David Ray, Anne Waldman, and others. The book contains a good listing of Zen related books in the back pages. I found my own book BUDDHA WEEPING IN WINTER (Red Dragon Press) listed.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

I had to slip pass construction in Founders Library. Dust. I had a visitor who surprised me. It was the son of a friend I went to college with. A nice young man who said his life was influenced by reading my memoir. Small things like this keep you going when you get lost in the darkness of yourself.

I received Gargoyle # 48. Rick Peabody is always doing great things. In this latest issue he published my short story "Maria." Other contributors in this issue are Nick Carbo, Grace Cavalieri, Anne Becker, Ray Gonzalez, Kim Roberts, Rsoe Solari, Rebecca Villarreal (oh where is my buddy), Afaa M. Weaver and Alan Spears. I love the poem "It's Amazing What You Get Used To" by Spears. Page 113.

I also received today from Kyle Welke six video tapes of my presentations in Italy. Operation Homecoming is also sponsored by Boeing. Welke is the Media Specialist for the company.

Checkout the profile of Donna House (Navajo ethnobotanist) in the New York Times. House helped to create the landscaping outside the new National Museum of the American Indian.
The museum opens on September 21st.

Today I told Liam I needed time away from Bennington after next June. I need to get back to this second memoir.

Well, I'm washing clothes and packing. I leave for Chicago tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

I'm still having problems with my jaw and ear. Maybe this is just old age. Small problems with the parts and then someone is pushing you.

I laughed with my friend Charlie this afternon. She is my connection to HU students. She admitted today that she was named after Charlie Parker by her father. When I heard that I had to loan her my 2 CD set of Yardbird's music. I keep it by my desk to remind myself that I work at a black college. I also told her to see the film Bird that Eastwood did. I think that was the beginning of my decision not to listen to everything Spike said about movies. I liked the film.

I put one Bennington packet in the mail...another almost done.

I purchased a copy of Time magazine. Whew...when was the last time I did that? The cover story is "The Struggle Within Islam." Sometimes it feels as if we're living in the Middle Ages again. Just call me Moor instead of Miller. At my reading last night a woman gave me an article about Muslims becoming Christians.
She thought this was going to be the answer to all "our" problems. Really? Why can't people acknowledge that there are many ways to worship. I can't decide which is worst, the old Cold War with everyone quoting Lenin, or today with the battle between the faiths. So much killing around the world in the name of God. I can see why Morgan Freeman in that movie wanted to take a vacation. Let someone else handle this earth mess. Anyway, if this was my script, the aliens would make their appearance right around now. Our nonsense must be placing the rest of the universe at risk. Hmmm. What would Arthur C. Clarke say about our future? The light at the end of the tunnel looks like a fire heading the wrong way.

Once during the riots in the 1960s James Brown told everyone to go home and listen to his music. Do you remember when it was so simple? That was a long time ago. Now every person with a gun has a brand new bag. They are even willing to shoot their Poppa. All in the name of God(s).
I'm still having problems with my jaw and ear. Maybe this is just old age. Small problems with the parts and then someone is pushing you.

I laughed with my friend Charlie this afternon. She is my connection to HU students. She admitted today that she was named after Charlie Parker by her father. When I heard that I had to loan her my 2 CD set of Yardbird's music. I keep it by my desk to remind myself that I work at a black college. I also told her to see the film Bird that Eastwood did. I think that was the beginning of my decision not to listen to everything Spike said about movies. I liked the film.

I put one Bennington packet in the mail...another almost done.

I purchased a copy of Time magazine. Whew...when was the last time I did that? The cover story is "The Struggle Within Islam." Sometimes it feels as if we're living in the Middle Ages again. Just call me Moor instead of Miller. At my reading last night a woman gave me an article about Muslims becoming Christians.
She thought this was going to be the answer to all "our" problems. Really? Why can't people acknowledge that there are many ways to worship. I can't decide which is worst, the old Cold War with everyone quoting Lenin, or today with the battle between the faiths. So much killing around the world in the name of God. I can see why Morgan Freeman in that movie wanted to take a vacation. Let someone else handle this earth mess. Anyway, if this was my script, the aliens would make their appearance right around now. Our nonsense must be placing the rest of the universe at risk. Hmmm. What would Arthur C. Clarke say about our future? The light at the end of the tunnel looks like a fire heading the wrong way.

Once during the riots in the 1960s James Brown told everyone to go home and listen to his music. Do you remember when it was so simple? That was a long time ago. Now every person with a gun has a brand new bag. They are even willing to shoot their Poppa. All in the name of God.
...and I think it's going to rain today.
Yesterday just slipped away. I had to leave work for emergency dental work. I had my wisdom tooth extracted. So now I'm dumb. My cat had an accident in the basement and cut his tail. I had to rush him to the animal hospital. Cats need insurance. I need to let Kerry and Bush know this.

Oh, stay away from the Metro (Red Line) even if you've been traveling overseas. It took me 2 hours to get from my house to Tenleytown. I should own a donkey. This is no way to operate a subway system. Any low wage worker is going to lose a weekly paycheck by the time they get to work unless they start out 3 hours early.

Last night I participated in the Tenley-Friendship Neighborhood Library local authors series. It was a small gathering of folks. Intimate. I met Margaret Roberts Drucker. She will be reading at the library on September 16th at 7PM. I was invited to do some regular literary programs at the library. I might consider doing that.

Bennington and Poet Lore packets covering the entire desk downstairs. Yipes! I might use my trip to Chicago this Friday to work on my interview questions for historian Ira Berlin. I have a television shoot next week. Our topic is the Emancipation Proclamation. I was thinking about it while riding the Red Line. Go figure. Go figure.

Monday, September 06, 2004

A number of people dropped by the house. It started very early...
I spent time talking with Vige. I met her in Minneapolis a few weeks ago. She just moved to DC.

I've been looking over the draft I did on the Pate introduction. It might work.

One Bennington packet almost completed. I'm waiting for 4 more to arrive. I guess that will be tomorrow.

I have a reading at the Tenleytown Library tomorrow at 7 P.M. I'll recite a few new poems.

The National Archives is getting ready to open their new theater that will screen documentary films. Free films and discussions. For more information here is the site to access:

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Easy like Sunday morning. I did work at Borders in Silver Spring. Read a packet of Poet Lore submissions. Reviewed a Bennington packet from one of my students. I had the latest Callaloo with me so I read the interview with M. Nourbese Philip.

I found this poem in Ted Kooser's SURE SIGNS:


The red fence
takes the cold trail
north; no meat
on its ribs,
but neither has it
much to carry.

Arrived home in time to watch the last 3 innings of the Yankee/Baltimore game. 2 intentional walks will always get a manager into trouble. Yankees won this one. Birds had a chance in the top of the 9th. Too much Mariano.

Wind blowing...storm must be coming this way soon.

Ichiro 5 hits last night. 379. One more 5 hit game this month and no slump might put him close to 400. He might shatter the hit record.

Yesterday I listed 10 things I wanted to do. How often do we make these lists? So what did I do? I read all the old newspapers that had collected while I was in Europe. I paid some bills and sent a few items to friends. I read an essay about my poetry written by the scholar Julia Galbus. It will appear in a forthcoming book.

Not on my to do list was a flat tire my son had while driving the car to a football game. The good thing was that he was just a few blocks from the house. It took AAA about 1 1/2 to come and fix things. I don't drive. I don't change tires. I write.

Later in the afternoon I took the bus down to DuPont Circle and sat in Cosi. I looked at some of my Bennington packets that are starting to come in from my students.

Leaving Cosi I bumped into my daughter who had been working at Provisions Library. Yes, she fell in love with the place too. It's a great place to read and relax. A third place. My daughter and I sat in Starbucks (the one near Teasim). It was fun just talking about a ton of topics. While sitting outside I saw a couple of people I hadn't seen since the early 1980s.

My daughter and I walked from DuPont Circle to 1910 18th Street where we ate at new Thai restaurant - The Regent. This place has a very cool decor. Well it's really beautiful. I love the sinks in the bathroom. Oh, the food is good. I had a nice soup.
My daughter decided not to go home so we took the bus back to "the old house" and we watched the movie THE WHALE RIDER. She had watched a few clips from the film in her women studies class at BU. This movie is very good. Every young girl should see it. Well, every man should see it.

Several packets of Poet Lore submissions to read.

On, the Ray Charles CD is not a real winner. You can hear how weak his voice is. Genius needs company sometimes.

OK. Let's do another 10 Things to Do List...

1. Read 2 more short stories in THE STORIES OF RICHARD BAUSCH.
2. Finish reading SURE SIGNS by Ted Kooser
3. Clean the backyard
4. Work on intro for Alexs Pate's novel
5. Work on 1 of my Bennington packets
6. Finish reviewing Barbara Berman's manuscript
7. Read Sunday newspapers
8. Send statement to Boeing representative in Italy for his report
9. Work in basement for 1 hr. File and discard stuff
10.Read a few chapters of AND THE DEAD SHALL RISE by Steve Oney

Friday, September 03, 2004

Prayers for Bill Clinton. I guess this means the program at the Folger on September 28th might not take place. It was going to be a conversation between Clinton and Toni Morrison. You never know what will happen...

I pulled my C.L.R. James file and sent material off to Don Mee Choi in Seattle. I found a couple of letters he had written to me back in 1983.

I spent the day posting annoucements for upcoming literary programs at work. I met with Gina who is doing her MFA at Howard. I am a member of her thesis committee. After a late lunch we walked over to the Studio HU has on Sherman Avenue. I had a chance to look at the mural she is working on. It's looking good. Gina's work has found its wings. A major development since last year.

I met with Ellie Dorie , Ken Carroll and others at the King Library at the end of the day. We sat around discussing ideas for next year's poetry festival (April 2005). A proposal has to be submitted for funding next week.

New CDs for the weekend:
Forever, For Always, For Luther with Kirk Whalum, Paul Jackson, Jr., Boney James, George Benson, et al.
Ray Charles: Genius Loves Company

Jamie Foxx looks good in the RAY movie coming out. Oscar?

Reading Ted Kooser's early work: SURE SIGNS. Kooser is the new poet laureate of the US.
I love his poem "Selecting A Reader."

Ichiro Watch: 3 hits last night. 374 average.
Can he hit 400? I think he might need two 5 hit games this month. He would have to have a 27 game hit streak too. Not impossible. He should break the hit record of George Sisler (257).
Sisler played for the St. Louis Browns and set the record back in 1920.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Back to work tomorrow.
I rested today. I went to Borders in SS where I ran into Bro. Yao. We had a good talk while sitting in the sun. Later it was Thai food on Connecticut Avenue.

I wish I could just sit and read for a few days. This is what came in the mail while I was away:

The New Yorker
The Writer' s Chronicle
Poets & Writers with Rita Dove on the cover. New hair style.
GLACIER LILY by the poet Chungmi Kim

I need to avoid a slump this weekend.

A few notes from my recent trip:

Saturday 28-Sunday 29th

I have an afternoon departure from National Airport to Kennedy in New York. Checked 2 bags. Reading Alexs Pate's LOSING ABSALOM. I have to write an introduction to the new paperback edition Coffeehouse Press is planning to release.
My flight to Venice was delayed by 2 hours in NY. We sat on the plane waiting for new parts to arrive. One woman wanted to lead a revolt. "We are not animals...the only thing they are giving us is warm water." A couple of people got off the plane; others wanted the attendants to bring them wine. I sat next to a funny couple from Tampa. I liked them immediately. We were talking like old friends and soon the time passed and we were in the air.

When I reached Italy Jon Peede, Counselor to the Director of NEA met me at the Marco Polo Airport. We took a Water Taxi (Alilaguna Shuttle) to the Hotel Flora (San Marco, 2283/A).

Venice is stunning! You fall in love with the place because of the water, the buildings the people.
Here is a place where you feel every love poem you've written isn't about love, it's about something else. If the poem is not about Venice it's not a love poem.

Walking to the Hotel Flora I discover I'm in a city without cars. For a guy who can't drive this is heaven. I turn into a small alley and walk into a hotel with a lovely enclosed garden. The rooms are very, very small. I took a quick shower and went out walking.

Piazza San Marco is right there. St. Mark's Basilica will leave you in awe. Hundreds of pigeons.
It's tourist season so the people outnumber them. There are many Africans in the streets selling ugly leather bags. Every guy selling the same one is buying them. The poor merchants of Venice.

I could walk around this city forever...

I go back to my hotel and run into a couple from Atlanta. We talk about Sam Nunn and other things. I check a newspaper and notice that Argentina defeated Italy for the Gold in basketball.

Evening it's dinner with Jon, Maryrose from NEA and Maribeth McGinley, who is a member of the National Council on the Arts.

We talk about our upcoming trip to Vicenza.

Monday 30th.

We took a Water Taxi from the hotel to a car rental. Our party consists of Dan Riley (our US Army Contact), Jon, Maryrose, Maribeth and Richard and Karen Bausch. Richard and I are doing workshops with the soldiers at Cape Ederle.

There is a wonderful evening reception at the Golden Lion. Here is an excerpt from my remarks:

Home is where we find our beginnings. It's where we return to renew our faith in family, friends, as well as country. To say "Welcome Home" is to reaffirm life and to embrace love as we embrace each other.

I am happy to participate in Operation Homecoming because I believe that in this changing world it's the American story that holds us together.

Tell me a fact and I'll learn.
Tell me the truth and I'll believe.
But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.

Tuesday, August 31

I have a 10 AM workshop with a room filled with young men and women. Many of the soldiers are going to Afghanistan; some have not been home in over a year. I talk about being a literary activist, how to write poems as well as a memoir. The response is good. I circulated a sheet with what I called "Equipment for Writing." It consisted of a few reference books as well as contact information for the National Writers Union and Poet Lore magazine.

I donated copies of Poet Lore and my last collection of poems to the Camp Ederle library.

Operation Homecoming is a project that is going to plant a lot of seeds. There are so many stories in the hearts and minds of our troops. See website:

In many ways these young people are defending my freedom to write.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004


All my life
I believe I've
been searching for

- E. Ethelbert Miller