Friday, December 31, 2004

I'm having so much fun getting my office in order that I just might drop myself like a ball in Times Square tonight. Don't look up if you can't count.

Anyway, I found the unpublished manuscript of crazy prose poems Afaa Michael Weaver and I exchanged for a spell. I forgot I had pulled them together under the title THE FICTIONAL LETTERS OF DON MILLO WRITTEN TO THE COLORED POET MICKY AT THE END OF THE 20TH CENTURY.
Boy are they funny and crazy...for example:

What's the difference between a Marlin and a black poet? The poet is the one with the hook in his back.

Yeah...the stuff was satire nonsense but with spice.

Another excerpt:

Dear Micky,
How can you go to the park? Do you remember the colored kid Pumpsie Green? The Red Sox was one of the last clubs to hire your people. I know...I got contacts in both leagues. We had a deal to bring in some Cubans but Fidel spoiled that. Now Micky, stay away from ballgames and the autobiographical essay. So many folks writing them and not hitting their weight. If you just want to go to the game for a beer and a cap - let me know. I try to keep everything cold. Once, Ted Williams kept his bat in my freezer. Kid got three hits the next game. They said he was the greatest hitter but no one ever knew about the icebox. You have to be real cool to hit 400. Now Toni Morrison she has speed just like that boy Jackie Robinson. Beloved, I call both of them. God I can still see him stealing home and Milkman falling back to earth. God Micky, why don't you just read instead of sitting behind third base. Wave the other poets home the next time the World Series hits Boston.

Wow...I made some major changes in my upstairs office. I placed more awards and pictures on walls. That was something I hadn't done. I can now close the top of my desk. CDs are all in one place.
Of course I have piles and piles of books to put in order. But guess what? Tomorrow is January 1st and so I have the entire year to do that -Right?

I went to the bank and post-office this morning. I mailed a stack of bills and a few pieces of correspondence. The city is empty or folks are just sleeping and waiting to party tonight. It's nice and warm.

I had breakfast at Kramers and purchased three books. I'll be packing these items for Bennington:

Mercy by Lucille Clifton
Breath by Philip Levine. Bless Levine for putting a photograph of a young Don Cherry on the cover of his book. I guess that's a pocket trumpet under Cherry's arm.
Moyers On America by Bill Moyers

I did some work this morning on a new collection of poems. It felt good doing some revision on stuff I wrote last year. Many of the poems have a "blues" tint or what I might call the embracement of sadness. Tweny Songs of Depair and a Love Poem. Sorry Neruda.

In The New Yorker (the latest isue) in between the article about Tony Kushner is a poem by Lawrence Raah. One of the lines made me think about the recent tsunami:

"Great poems told us that nature
would never betray us..."

Thursday, December 30, 2004

I've been listening this evening to what I think is just an awesome tape. It's a recording I did back on July 7, 1983 with Sweet Honey In The Rock at George Washington University. Whew...what a night that was. Classic. I have to place this on a CD. The poems about Chile and Haiti made me clap my hands and made me feel good that I wrote them. :-)

Bernice singing:

we got some members in the church that don't act right
so what you gonna do?

put them out
put them out

and let the church roll on.


My son is back home from NC. His team won both their games. They are now 8-3 and could be looking at a City Championship. The season is still young but things keep getting better. Lose early and win Late, that's what I say when a team starts off slow but wins it all in the end.

The HU campus is empty. Around 10AM I was interviewed by a nice group of people from Longwood College (VA). They are working on a project looking at Prince Edward County's decision to close their schools rather than intergrate in 1959. Matthew P. asked me questions about writing and literature and its impact on society. We talked about myths and issues of power. Matt's teacher Susan S. helped with the filming along with another Matt.

My afternoon interview with a radio friend was cancelled. This gave me a chance to get 6 letters of recommendations out for my friend Willa. She is trying to get accepted into a creative writing program.

I made good progress on my "Things to do" list. I pulled a couple of Dick Barnet's books and made a display at the circulation desk in the African American Resource Center.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Nick Kotz has a new book out. JUDGMENT DAYS: Lyndon Baines Johnson, Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Laws Changed America. The book is published by Houghton Mifflin Company. I met Nick several years ago when we both served on the PEN/Faulkner Foundation Board. Nick is having a book party on January 12th at The St. Regis Hotel.

A good day. The weather was very nice. It might be 60 degrees by Saturday. I'm still thinking about folks in many gone and the numbers keep growing. It looks like it might be over 100,000 people dead or lost by the end of the week.

I had a morning meeting with staff at IPS. A good exchange of views and ideas on how to improve our operations.

Around 1PM I took the Metro over to U Street and took Michon to lunch. We ate at the new Sala Thai Restaurant (1301 U Street, NW). Whew...this neighborhood is changing while I type.
New stores opening every week. By next summer the place will feel like Coney Island...or is that just my mind?
Michon and I discussed future television shows for Humanities Profiled. We have a show in production which will be my interview with the historian Ira Berlin. Out topic is the Emancipation Proclamation. Another program in production is an old interview with poet/playwright Miguel Pinero. Depending on our budget we might be able to shoot a few more things in 2005.

After meeting with Michon I walked down to the LoveCafe.'s like its name. Cozy, the type of place where your knees touch the person you're with. I was by myself and felt good too.
I've been looking for a place like this. Not too big...good light. It has a progressive look...
I'll make another trip back and see what folks are reading.

On my way home I bumped into one of the city's "popular" city council members. We had a nice warm chat in the warm air. We exchanged cards and I felt I knew where my electronic ballot went back in November.

I came home and found mail that had a nice jingle. My wife was getting her hair done by a sister who said "Happy Kwanzaa." I felt I was right in the middle of the Boondocks cartoon strip. I mumbled something back...picked up the mail with the good news and asked myself, " Is this the result one of the seven Kwanzaa principles I should be celebrating today? These are the days when we must have more faith in the unseen.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

While in the video store I overheard a young woman talking to her friend. She said she was certain the world was going to end in 2007.

Don't tell anyone...
I went to Hollywood Video this evening. It's going to be a MillerMovie Night:

The United States of Leland (with Don Cheadle)
Zhou Yu's Train
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring

Memories and sadness. Another Obit. This one for Susan Sontag. I served on the board of the PEN American Center when she was President of the organization. She was a major American intellectual and her work should be required reading in our high schools and colleges. The last essay I read by her was about the photographs taken at Abu Ghraib. "The Photographs Are Us" was the cover story for the May 23, 2004 issue of The New York Times Magazine.

" To live is to be photographed, to have a record of one's life, and therefore to go on with one's life oblivious, or claiming to be oblivious, to the camera's nonstop attentions. But to live is also to pose."
- Susan Sontag.
How to help the victims of Tsunami:

Contributions should be sent to International Response Fund, P.O.Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013. For more information about donating, call 800-435-7699.
For information about friends or relatives who may have been affected call 866-438-4636.

You can also contact the Center for International Disaster Information at 703-276-1914.

Monday, December 27, 2004

It was cold out today. I met my friend Willa in Adams Morgan. We had breakfast at Tryst.
I think I've known Willa since she was a little girl. She is a very good fiction writer. We spent the morning laughing. Her parents are dear friends of mine. Willa is interested in attending a creative writing program. I'll be working on her letters of recommendation tomorrow.

I dashed out of Tryst at 10AM and caught the 16th Street bus up to Mayorga in Silver Spring. I met with Susan (another writer). She is working on a novel set in the Sudan.

This evening I had dinner in Chinatown with Dan and Mimi. So how many pounds did I gain today?

Sunday, December 26, 2004

And now a line from a poem by Terrance Hayes:

"Sooner or later I'm going to have to talk about the white house and how the men there don't seem to like big butt women."
Keep an eye on Asimo the walking robot invented by Honda. Honda introduced its first walking robot in 1996. Sony is working on a humanoid robot and a robotic dog called Aibo. Toyota is also making robots.

I suspect within the next 10 years robots might be as common as cellphones and computers.
Writers must always pay attention to language. A new term was introduced today in the Washington Post. What is Post-Ballot Adjustment? How can we talk about the importance of democracy and voting if we plan to change the rules?

From today's Washington Post:

"The Bush administration is talking to Iraqi leaders about guaranteeing Sunni Arabs a certain number of ministries or high-level jobs in the future Iraqi government if, as is widely predicted, Sunni candidates fail to do well in Iraq's elections."

Might we see "Post-Ballot Adjustments" in future American elections? Is this taking place right now in Washington state? The term sounds like something that comes with fries and a song called "Dixie."
How about those Cowboys? What a great game.

My daughter gave me a couple of cool things for Christmas:
2 is the soundtrack from the Ray movie and the other is Timeless Savoy Jazz: Parker, Davis, Coltrane, Garner, Gillespie and Hawkins.
The "Itty Bitty Buddha" that one can pack when taking a trip.
A box ofThe New Yorker Baseball cards/envelopes.

Jazz, Baseball and Buddhism. Now that's the title of a best selling book.

Last night I watched the film Napoleon Dynamite. While at jury duty my friend Ed told me to checkout this movie. I really enjoyed it. I thought it was a funny film. My favorite character was Pedro. I liked how characters are just suddenly introduced in this film. How each person walks and talks is just priceless. My wife and daughter left me to watch it by myself. They didn't care for the pacing or the humor.

Since Richard Barnet's death I've been reading his ROOTS OF WAR. The man was a genius. There is no way you can read this book without nodding your head. It gives you insight into how the Bush Administration is changing the running of the country. Barnet wrote his book in 1972. Once again we are seeing how the military is shaping foreign policy. Putting DaRice in charge of the State Department makes Bush sense and keeping Rums keeps a certain type of diplomacy on the sidelines. We need to pay more attention to military/business relationships. Barnet's book examines how things changed in our world after WWII.

Since becoming board chair of IPS I've been pushing myself to read more things on politics.
So many issues to follow. I recently received a note from Edwidge D. I hope IPS will be able to do some things around Haiti. Edwidge will be coming to DC soon to talk about conditions in that country.

Well my son is packing to leave this morning for a basketball tournament in NC. I'm not missing his next DC game against St. John's on January 4th.

Football today. I hope the Ravens can make it to the playoffs.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas. Where are the toys?

Two good news items in the paper today. In the NY Times there is an article about electronic gun checks in Massachusetts. They are the first state to install an electronic instant-check system complete with a fingerprint scanner for gun licenses and gun purchases.

In The Washinton Post checkout "Rediscovered 'Race Movies' Playing to a New Audience" written by Sylvia Moreno. It's about all the black movies of the 1930. '40s and early '50s that have been saved and placed on DVD by Southern Methodist University. Contact the SMU's Hamon Arts Library which is the home of the G. William Jones Film and Video Collection. The films are part of the Tyler, Texas, Black Film Collection. Back in 1983 thousands of 35mm film canisters were discovered in an old warehouse in Tyler, east of Dallas. These films are now available as a three-DVD box set.

I received a phone call this morning from Reggie, my old college roommate. We talked about music and politics like we were still back in the dorm. Back in the days did we ever go to class? I can still remember Reggie coming back (after Springbreak) from Philly with books on Islam and Eastern religions. Incense starting burning and soon the sound of a pocket flute was heard on our dorm floor. Little did we know that Reggie would one day play with Sun Ra. Around this time I changed my name to Ethelbert and told people I was from another planet. The rest is folklore and things you can't find in the yearbook.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Two quotes from The Paris Review interview with Ernest Hemingway:

"The further you go in writing the more alone you are. Most of your best and oldest friends die. Others move away. You do not see them except rarely, but you write and have much the same contact with them as though you were together at the cafe in the old days. You exchange comic, sometimes cheerfully obscene and irresponsible letters, and it it almost as good as talking. But you are more alone because that is how you must work and the time to work is shorter all the time and if you waste it you feel you have committed a sin for which there is no forgiveness."

" The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof, shit detector."

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Sad news today...
Richard J. Barnet, IPS co-founder died. Barnet left the Kennedy Administration and started the Insitute for Policy Studies with Marc Raskin. At the time he was 33 years old. In 1974 he wrote GLOBAL REACH. This book is considered the seminal work on globalization.

Other important books by Barnet are:

The following is taken from the introduction of ROOTS OF WAR:

"We are the number one nation," President Lyndon B. Johnson told the National Foreign Policy Conference at the State Department at a crucial moment in the Vietnam War, "and we are going to stay the number one nation." There has never been a more succinct definition of the American national interest. This book is an examination of our national interest - who decides how American power is to be used in the world, and why.
Staying number one is a struggle for permanent victory. One failure of will, President Nixon has warned, will expose the United State to the world as a "pitiful helpless giant." In the pursuit of permanent victory the United States has engaged in a form of permanent war."

This is why we have to change the world:

"With the dawn of oil production in 1999, Sudan's Government began collecting $500 million a year in revenue. About 80% went to buy weapons."
-Washington Post, 12.23.04

90 works by the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat will be on exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum from March 11, 2005 - June 5, 2005. Basquiat died in 1988.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Hey...where did Barry Bonds go? The story just vanished from the news.
Dean Hoffmeyer's photos from Iraq were haunting. The picture of the two G.I.'s helping a wounded comrade took my breath away. Images of war we will not forget. The picture makes you wonder where we are going in this conflict. The soldiers are moving away from the lens.
There's no visible exit in the frame - only a cloud of dust.

I spent the morning meeting with Anna Johnson. Anna once owned Open Hand Publishing Company. She republished THE MAKING OF BLACK REVOLUTIONARIES by James Forman. I still think this is one of the best accounts of the Civil Rights Movement. Anna also published my collection of poems WHERE ARE THE LOVE POEMS FOR DICTATORS?
Anna is one of those exceptional people who is committed to social change.

The HU campus is empty. A new academic year will begin in a few weeks.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

I spent most of the day at Howard talking with Doug Calvin. He runs the Youth Leadership Support Network and is working with DC kids ( The organization was started in 1998. They deal with leadership development and raising youth voices in civic engagement and society. Their new place of operation is at St. Stephen's Church (16th and Newton Streets, NW). According to Doug his organization could use community support: chairs, office stuff, etc. If you can help and want to contribute something contact Doug at the following email address:

While Doug was in my office I had a chance to talk to a couple of the workmen who are putting in a sprinkler system. I asked one guy about what might happened to some of the books if the system was activated. Do you know what happens? Anyway we had a good discussion about preserving things. I asked him if he had to make a choice between saving a building and the original copy of the U.S. Constitution what would he do? He said he would save the building.
Hmmm. I think I need to move my files. I love talking to people. It's how I learn what I don't know and what other people think they know.

I received a note from Julia about a possible panel on my work at the upcoming ALA conference
in Boston. That would be nice.

I also received an invitation today to do a reading in March at George Washington University.

I was reading the Paris Review interview with Robert Frost last night. I came across this remark by Frost:

"The father is always a Republican toward his son, and his mother's always a Democrat."

In the same interview Frost talks about his dislike for the translations of things. Tonight I plan to read the Paris Review interview with Ezra Pound.

Scholar Julia Galbus recently published another interview with me. This one was just published in a book that came out in Spain:

Voces de America (American Voices)
Interviews with American Writers

Laura P. Alonso Gallo, ed.

"Enriching the Chorus, A Poetic Vision of the World: E. Ethelbert Miller"

31 interviews with writers from the Americas spanning nearly 700 pages
published by Advana Vieja in Spain, distributed by Ediciones Universal in Miami, FL:
Cost: 25 Euros in Spain

Monday, December 20, 2004

It was cold today. Dorian (IPS) and I looked at some property downtown. It will be good to find a new space for our organization. What we saw today has potential.

I had lunch at B Smith's restaurant (Union Station) with two members of the Norwegian Embassy. A nice opportunity to talk and laugh. We discussed working on some projects together.

I made a number of phone calls this afternoon. One was to Karla Hammond. We are finally back in touch, thanks to someone reading my E-Notes. Many years ago Karla did some wonderful interviews with a number of major writers. I think we might have started corresponding when she was working on an interview with June Jordan. Karla and I never met. We joked about that today. I have a stack of old letters from Karla to put in order.

Today I received a Bennington packet filled with the manuscripts of my new students. It's that time again.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

A good article about blogs in the magazine section of the NY Times today. "Your Blog or Mine? "
by Jeffrey Rosen.

" As blogs expand, people will need to develop new social conventions to resurrect the boundaries between public and private interactions."
I went to brunch with my friend Bev. We took a trip over to the Starfish Cafe (539 8th Street, SE). I like 8th Street, SE. Once you turn the corner off PA Avenue it seems like the people change too.
I try to avoid the Hill unless I'm going to the Folger Library or Library of Congress. In the old days I did a number of readings in the area. The Starfish is a funny place. The waiters are nice. Everyone is not fluent in English, but that's what makes it fun too. You point, look, laugh and eat. Food can bring people together.
Now what is Rumsfeld eating? It looks like folks in the Republican Party want him out of the Administration. With all the changes Bush has made going into his second term, folks might just want to make one more. I can see Bush waiting until he speaks to the nation in January to maybe announce that Rumsfeld is stepping down. I can see him "thanking" the guy for his service during prime time. It's the way out the exit. I can't see a second Bush group going into their first year with leftovers on the table. It's all about food remember?
So what about the Nationals? I saw a friend of mine this morning in the Safeway wearing one of those funny red hats with the W.
Watermelons? It's all about food remember? It's amazing how many racist emails Lady Cropp received. What's with all these monkey jokes again?? Are we trying to bring a soccer team from Europe here? Are the people calling Cropp names the type of people who seem to be attending our games lately? Politics is about compromise and respect. Leadership is about making difficult decisions. Kennedy once called it profiles in courage.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Curbstone Press sent me another review of HOW WE SLEEP ON THE NIGHTS WE DON'T MAKE LOVE. This one was published in the latest issue of Multicultural Review. I like that the reviewer Gail Howard made reference to my poem about Alexander Calder. I wrote that poem a number of years ago and always felt good about it. Howard concludes her review with the following statement:

"All poems read easily, but teachers should be aware of his playful, tender work about lovemaking. This book offers fine poetic craft applied to a wide, troubled world."
There are days when you're in a slump and find yourself chasing curves. Not much to hit today.
A morning Poet Lore meeting and then some Bennington work. I did watch some football. Eli finally looked like a QB. The Steelers look like a team that won't go far in the playoffs. Their rookie QB is OK but not great. The guy still has to take his finals.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Early morning and I was reading nothing but Poet Lore submissions. Around 9AM I went down to the bank. I stopped at Tryst and had breakfast then it was off to IPS.
Netfa Freeman called a SALSA meeting. He is trying to establish an advisory committee. SALSA stands for Social Action & Leadership School for Activists.

Around 3PM I met with Karen Dolan and folks working with the LEO network. Karen runs the Cities for Peace/Progressive Challenge unit at IPS.
We were joined by Malia who will be doing most of the LEO work; targeting 21 cities where she will work with elected officials around a number of important political issues: The War, Walmart, Patriot Act, etc. Malia is in need of a laptop computer, wireless, CD ROM and DVD capabilities.
This is a chance for someone to make a lovely end of the year contribution to a progressive organization. Malia can be contacted at:
Please let folks know...

Thursday, December 16, 2004

This morning you could ride the bus and Metro for free. A nice gimmick to help promote the use of public transporation. I took the Red Line to Judiciary Square. Around 7:45 AM I'm waiting with the other folks who have jury duty. Many were white people and this was one of the first things I noticed. I had a book with me but I was also "reading" race. The city is changing. It's all because of baseball. Hmmm. Now that's gone too.

I went into the waiting area and took a seat near the front of the room. The television was tuned to the Ken Burns jazz documentary. It was the BeBop era. I sat looking up at the monitor- Dizzy, Bird and others just playing away. What happened to the Discovery Channel and the little animals in Australia that will make you sip on sleep in five minutes?

I was torn between watching the jazz film or reading my Poet Lore packets. Before I could decide my friend Ed Darden took the seat beside me. We laughed and talked about family, politics and just about everything. Here we were two black men outside the judicial system
and watching the clock turn. By Noon we were informed that we could go home early. Ed and I walked over to 7th street and had lunch across the street from the MCI arena.

This was a type of day that you put in your pocket and let it dance with your change.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

There was a good article on Khaled Hosseini in the New York Times today. I participated in an NPR book discussion of The Kite Runner back on October 20th with Akbar Ahmed and Haleh Esfandiari. You can access this program by going to the Diane Rehm Show Archives.

This morning Naomi and I had breakfast at the Diner on 18th Street. We are both getting ready for Bennington in January. Naomi agreed to introduce me at the faculty reading I will be giving during the residency. We spent the morning mostly laughing. I had pancakes and sausage. I even had a cup of coffee. That's something I started doing while in Israel. Why? No need to start bad habits.

This afternoon I met with the IPS staff. What a fun bunch. I'm looking forward to my term as chair of the board. I shared with folks information about myself and presented a few of the things I would like to accomplish during the next few months.

Two people I met for the first time were Emily Schwartz Greco and Kerri Sherlock. Greco is the Media Director for the Foreign Policy In Focus (http;// Sherlock is the managing attorney for the Break The Chain Campaign (

I left IPS and went down to Borders on 14th Street. I read a couple of Bennington packets.

I have a couple of days of leave from HU. Tomorrow is Jury Duty. I plan to just take my copy of A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS by Amos Oz to read.

Will Carroll in The New York Times, December 14, 2004. Op-Ed:

Perhaps Hank Aaron said it best: "I know that you can't put something in your body to make you hit a fastball, changeup or curveball." Baseball faces the same challenges as every other sport: the pressure to perform forces some to seek any advantage, legal or illegal. There is no reason to expect more from baseball than we do from society.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Save the Date!
Please join D.C. Poets Against the War as we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King's Legacy of peace and call for an end to the Iraq war. Poets: Camille Dungy, Esther Iverem and E. Ethelbert Miller

Wednesday, January 19, 2005 6:30 PM
Karibu Books, The Mall at Prince George's, 3500 East-West Highway, Hyattsville, MD 20782

Karibu Books is run by wonderful people:

I was at IPS this morning. I met with Emira Woods. She is the C0-Director of Foreign Policy in Focus. Keep an eye out for this woman. We talked about her recent work and general IPS business. I also had a chance to chat with Joy Zarembka. She is dealing with the issue of human trafficking and slavery. Human trafficking is defined as "the recruitment, harboring, transporting, providing or obtaining, by any means, of any person for forced labor, slavery, peonage or servitude in any industry or site such as agriculture, prostitution, domestic service or marriage."

Checkout these websites:

Tomorrow I will meet with the IPS staff and provide them with an outline of the things I plan to do as board chair during the next few months.

I went from downtown to DuPont Circle for lunch with Fran Jordan, Francine Jamin and Robert Giron. We met at the Thai Chef restaurant (1712 Connecticut Ave, NW). We talked about how I could get involved with The Paul Peck Institute for American Culture and Civic Engagement at Montgomery College. The purpose of the Institute is to celebrate and increase knowledge of America's culture, history, principles and poltiical traditions.

We left Thai Chef and walked over to the Provisions Library. I love the place...

OK...sports fans. My son will be on Comcast sports playing basketball on Thursday evening.
The time is either 7:30 PM or 8PM. It's the airing of the recent 16th Annual Gonzaga D.C. Classic Charity Basketball Tournament. It's Gonzaga against DeMatha. What a great game...I have to see it again. There are about five outstanding plays my son made.

The next big game is January 4th against St. John. Now you know you have to get to that game an 1hr before the tip. It's always crowded.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Be sure to read "The Mistress's Daughter" by A.M. Homes in THE NEW YORKER (Dec.20&27.2004). It's very moving...

Campus is becoming quiet. Students taking the last of their exams. Cold weather coming in too.
My black heavy coat is out. I found one glove. Gloves are like socks, one is always disappearing.
I met with my friend Randall. He is moving to Chicago next week where he will pursue his writing career. Deidre came by the office and we went to lunch around Noon. We ate at the 5Guys joint on Georgia Avenue. It was the first time I stuck my head in the place. The Cajun fries are good and are given to you in a brown paper bag. The grease cuts into the paper before you get your change back. If someone placed newspaper on the small tables I would swear that I was in a small town in Mississippi. The burgers come with everything and they spill out of the bun like the ones at Wendy. I don't know who the 5 guys are but for cheap food its not bad. I like hanging with Deidre. We have many mutual friends. Deidre did some work with my Anacostia exhibit.

In the afternoon Paula who teaches at the Ellington school came by for some information about
Blacks and Jews. We talked for about an hour. I pulled material that I thought would be helpful in writing a paper that's due on Friday.

Rebecca Warner's new poetry book is out. Rebecca is a Bennie. She was my student a few years ago. The title of her new book is NORTHWEST PASSAGE. It's published by Orchises Press:
P.O.Box 20602, Alexandria, Virginia 22320-1602. $14.95.
On the back of Warner's book I say the following about her work:

"There's enough variety in this book to open a supermarket. Don't just sample the sweets, read the title poem and watch Warner fasten a flower to the dress of history."

The new Poets & Writers just came in the mail -January/February 2005 issue. John Haskell is on the cover.

Tonight I need to complete work on 2 Bennington packets and read submissions for Poet Lore.
But first I'm going to checkout the The New Yorker.

My reading at the Iota Club and Cafe went well last night. I got a ride to Arlington with Andrea Kerr and her husband. I haven't been to Arlington in a long time. It's amazing how the communties outside DC are developing. The Iota place is nice. They have good food. I had a catfish wrap with fries.
I read with Mike Beyer who lives in Baltimore. He is the author of a very creative chapbook -
NOT A DAMN THING IN MY POCKETS BUT AMERICA. Beyer calls it an escalator chapbook.
It opens like an accordion. Beyer did a print run of 600. If you want to obtain copies of the book write to him at:

Hilary Tham introduced me to the audience. It was good to see her again. Hilary has always been a special member of the local literary community. I began my reading with 2 poems from MEMOIR OF THE HAWK by James Tate. I read about 8 poems from a new collection I'm working on. I concluded with Ahmos Zu-Bolton's poem "Half-Moon Over Poplarville."

After the reading I came back home and watched the Redskins lose to the Eagles. I don't expect the Redskins to win another game this season.

Sunday, December 12, 2004


"Fans who use Viagra and Cialis to improve their "performance" should not be surprised that athletes use steroids to improve their own."
- Kathryn Jay
Washington Post (12/12/04)
Oh the darkness...
What a game last night. What a game. DeMatha defeated Gonzaga. My son's team went into the championship game as the underdog. They lead DeMatha the entire game until the last 2 minutes. Then things just fell apart. My son played an awesome game. I think folks saw his court genius and ability to lead a team. He was elected team captain during the beginning of the season by his teammates. Gonzaga is now 6-3. The way they played last night they might not lose any more games after this one. It's obvious they can defeat any high school basketball team in the area. I think DeMatha learned that last night. Round 2 will be next year.
My son's team upcoming games will be in North Carolina the last week of December. I was one proud Poppa last night.

Today I have to give a poetry reading at the Iota Club and Cafe (2832 Wilson Blvd) in Arlington, Virginia. It's the Potomac Review publication reading. 6 PM. I'll be reading with poets Mike Beyer and Judy Neri.

I judged the 9th Annual Poetry Contest for the Potomac Review. The work I selected is in the new issue. I picked poems by Jenifer Browne Lawrence, Shawna St. Leigh and Nancy Tupper Ling.

Here is a link to the Potomac Review. Folks might want to think about submitting work to this quality journal:

Friday, December 10, 2004

Well my son's team is going to the Show.
Gonzaga will play DeMatha tomorrow night at 8:45 PM for the Gonzaga DC Classic Tournament.
The game will be at American University. It will be shown on Comcast television at a later date.
Gonzaga defeated Jesuit High (from California) this evening to advance to the final game.

Now back to reading Bennington packets and submissions for Poet Lore magazine.
Yet there is another road in the road, and on and on. So where are the questions taking me?
- Mahmoud Darwish
Yesterday was a long day. I didn't get home until about 11PM. It started with having breakfast with Yael at Tryst. Then a dash around the corner to WPFW. The radio show went well. So did the meeting at the King Library to plan the poetry festival for next April.

Much of the day was spent at the DC Classic. I saw several good high school basketball games.
My son's team defeated a school from NC and advanced in the tournament. They will play a school from California today at 6:45PM - American University.

3 Bennington packets arrived in the mail. It means I will have a busy weekend. Charles Johnson sent me the latest copy (January 2005) of SHAMBHALA SUN. He wrote the cover story which is an essay about Martin Luther King, Jr and his message of love and courage.

Today I have a couple of meetings at Howard.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

This evening I gave 3 boxes of books to The Booker T. Washington charter school. They are located at 1346 Florida Avenue, NW. Edward Pinkard is the executive director. I've been trying to make small donations to various schools around the city. I think it's important for every school to have a good library. The library is the heart of the school building.
Tomorrow I have a radio program to do - WPFW at 10:30AM. I'll be talking about books to purchase for the holidays.

I have a Noon meeting at the Martin Luther King Library with the literature division folks. We have been planning a big poetry celebration for National Poetry Month. The date is April 23rd. Wendy Rieger agreed to be the honorary chairperson for the event.

DC Classic tomorrow...

I took a break this evening and watched Bourne Supremacy with my son. How many cities do we visit in this film? Whew...I needed a passport just to watch it. I'm glad I saw this on video. It's an action home movie. You need to see the first Bourne film for #2 to make sense.

Let me get back to reading.
Today I will be speaking at The Thurgood Marshall Center for Service and Heritage located at 1816 12th Street, NW.

"What's the Story? A Deeper Look at the History of Greater Shaw in Washington, DC in the Context of the National African American Experience."

This program is sponosred by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Shaw Community Fund of the Community Foundation of Washington, D.C.

It's a project of Cultural Tourism DC.

My presentation is at 11AM.

Basketball son's team (4-2) won last night in Rockville, Md. He was in double figures for the third straight game. The Gonzaga DC Classic starts on Thursday. Gonzaga will be playing West Forsyth from NC at 5PM. The game is at Gonzaga. Friday and Saturday games are at American University. Show your face in the place and don't be late.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

The power went out in the neighborhood. Boom. It was around 8AM. I took the subway out to Anacostia. Robert Hall, Associate Director for Education at the Anacostia Museum picked me up at the Anacostia metro station.

At the Anacostia Museum I met with high school students from Ballou, Bell and Roosevelt. They had read my memoir FATHERING WORDS. The program was sponsored by the PEN/Faulker Writers in Schools project. Ann Marie Lavorata coordinated everything. It was good to talk about the book and give the young people autographs. Two students gave me letters about how the book affected them.

One student wrote the following:

"I want you to know that FATHERING WORDS is one of the most interesting books that I have ever read. Once I started, it was hard for me to put it down because it was so exciting. "

Comments like this is what keeps me writing.

OK..update on Stevie Wonder. His new album won't be out until next April. The title is TIME 2 LOVE. It will be his first album since 1995. Wonder has future plans to release a jazz album with harmonica, and also a gospel one. I can't wait...

August Wilson's new play GEM OF THE OCEAN is at the Walter Kerr Theater (219 48th Street) in New York. The play was reviewed today in the Washington Post and New York Times.

Happy Hanukkah!

Monday, December 06, 2004

I finished reading a thesis for a student graduating from Bennington in January.

I did some cleaning up in the Center. So much dust left from folks knocking holes in the ceiling...

I had a good talk with my Buddy Bev about Vivian Gornick's work. I've been reading Gornick's APPROACHING EYE LEVEL on the bus and train. I have a few more pages to read. I recently loaned Bev my copy of FIERCE ATTACHMENTS and she couldn't put it down.

After work at HU I met with novelist Susan Burgess-Lent at Mayorga Coffee Factory on Georgia Avenue/Silver Spring. Susan is the author of two novels. Our mutual friend Wendy Rieger thought it would be good for us to meet. So glad we did. Susan and I had fun talking about writing as well as happenings in Africa.

Later I went down to the Folger to hear Harryette Mullen read. A good program. Poets night out. Melissa Tuckey, Sarah Browning, Brandon Johnson and others in the audience. Also there was James Fraser from the Emily Dickinson International Society and Eve Grubin, Programs Director at the Poetry Society of America in New York.

Just before the Folger reading I bumped into the actor Clayton LeBouef on Pennsylvania Avenue. We talked for about 30 minutes. I guess I became a fan of Clayton's work on the television show Homicide. He told me to checkout the film SOMETHING THE LORD MADE.
It should be released on DVD in January. Mos Def is in is Clayton.

Thanks to Sarah Browning I got home early tonight. She gave me ride home from the Folger.
In the home mail pile was the latest issue of THE WRITER'S CHRONICLE (December 2004).
It features interviews with Annie Finch and Edward P. Jones.

Tomorrow morning I have a talk to give on FATHERING WORDS at the Anacostia Museum. The program is sponsored by the PEN/Faulkner Writers in School project. The audience will consist of 40 high school students and five teachers.

My son has a basketball game tomorrow night. I hope his team can build on their last victory.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

I forgot about a meeting this morning. It just slipped my mind. It might be an indication that I'm tired and doing too many things.

I've been working on my notes for a presentation at the Cultural Tourism DC conference taking place this week. "What's the Story? A Deeper Look at the History of Greater Shaw in Washington, DC in the Context of the National African American Experience. It will be held on December 7-8, 2004 at the Thurgood Marshall Center for Service and Heritage.
My talk is on the 8th at 11AM. I will be talking about "Looking to the future: African American culture in the coming decades."
Other speakers at this event will include James A. Miller, James O. Horton, Niani Kilkenny and others.

Poet Harryette Mullen is reading at the Folger Shakespeare Library tomorrow evening. I hope to attend. Mullen is the author of SLEEPING WITH THE DICTIONARY. The program starts at 7:30 PM. Tickets are $10. This is the 2004 Emily Dickinson Birthday Tribute Reading.
The Folger is located at 201 East Capitol St, SE.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

A good evening for my son. His Eagle squad defeated a team from Texas by 40 points. He was awarded a place on the All Tournament team.

More sad news. Poet Mona Van Duyn died on December 2nd. She was the first woman to be named poet laureate of the US. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1991 for her book NEAR CHANGES. I had a chance to read with her at Foxcroft (in Va) many years ago.

Fathi Arafat (Yasir's brother) recently died in Cairo. He was 67.

Maori writer Witi Ihimaera the author of WHALE RIDER will be the writer-in-residence at George Wasington University in 2005.

I did a few errands this morning. I took a copy of APPROACHING EYE LEVEL by Vivian Gornick to keep me company on the bus. Her writing always places a smile on my face.

Friday, December 03, 2004

I'm falling behind in a number of things I need to do. :-( I spent time talking with my friends Ada and Remica today. Ada is an English graduate student at Howard. Remica was in town doing research for her Bennington lecture. I have a copy of her thesis to read this weekend.

I did get some important pieces of mail out. That's always a good feeling for a writer.

I think I'm in the middle of reading 5 or 6 books at once. A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS by Amos Oz came in the mail today. Whew...I would love to read this book during the upcoming holidays.

My son's team lost to McDonogh School (from Baltimore). His team is now 1-2. Not a good start.
Their second game of the St. Albans tournament will be tomorrow (December 4th) at 7PM.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

My friend Julia sent me two CDs for my birthday:
Quincy Jones and Bill Cosby (The New mixes) Vol. 1

There was a time when I listened to more Alice than John. We are what we listen to.

Poet John Murillo has a small chapbook you can obtain for $5.
ALUTA... is published by ZuluAzteca Press:
John has 2 poems in the D.C. POETS AGAINST THE WAR anthology.

I spent the morning trying to fight all the construction dust in my office. What's going into my lungs? It's a good thing my fertile years are behind me.

I've been writing letters of recommendations the last few days. I completed a major one today.

I talked with a couple of students about life. That's one of the more enjoyable parts of the job.
My computer is still not working. I hear many people in Iraq are still without power. I'm humble and will wait for troops to arrive.

The new Potomac Review just came out. Issue # 38. I judged the 9th Annual Poetry Contest
for the journal. My picks were Jenifer Browne Lawrence, Shawna St. Leigh and Nancy Tupper Ling.
If you're interested in submitting work to the review here is the information:

My poem "The Genesis of Torture" can also be found in this issue of the Potomac Review.
See page 82.

So look at SI. Sportsmen of the Year: Red Sox Nation 2004. Good pick.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Comments about my son in the latest issue of the Northwest Current (December 1, 2005). See Sports section, page 16. This is what they are saying:

"Should Miller average near double digits for assists this season - which he has the ability to do- the Eagles will be tough to beat."

I agree. I'm just a proud Dad.

Who is the face on the E-Notes? Art work was done by Didi Menendez. Many thanks Didi.
Thanks to Adrienne Black who makes my website go...

Workers still working in my HU space. I had a lunch meeting with Raskin (founder of IPS) at the Sofitel at Lafayette Square. I had a good soup and lemonade with fresh mint. I've become addicted to lemonade and fresh mint. Its what I was drinking in Israel. Raskin and I talked about the future of IPS. It's always good watching this man think. The guy is a genius.

IPS will have to move soon. A group of us looked at property on 14th Street this afternoon.
The place has potential.

For you New Yorkers - checkout the Poets House Holiday Book Sale. December 9-11.
11AM-7PM. Poets House is located at 72 Spring Street, 2nd Floor.
212 431-7920

Later in the day I ran into Allison Barlow and Helen Brunner. Friends from my Blue Mountain Center days. Allison was my volleyball partner and just a child back in the day. She has 2 children now, as does her brother Toby. The Blue Mountain Center will be celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2006.

A sentence is a machine; it has a job to do.
- Annie Dillard
Dinner last night at Maggiano's on Wisconsin with Wendy R. We had a nice time. Wendy is a local television star with a wonderful glow.

Today it's lunch with Raskin at IPS.

My son has a basketball game this evening. Team is 1-1. Big games the next two weeks. Come to the DC Classic: