Monday, March 31, 2008


If you do nothing else today, be sure to look at what the poet Kwame Dawes has done.

Kwame’s Jamaica HIV/AIDS project. (the interactive narrative)

For Immediate Release:

Date: April 1, 2008
Contact: Carla Du Pree
Phone: 410.772.4568
Fax: 410.772.4153

HoCoPoLitSo (Howard County Poetry & Literature Society) hosts a free panel discussion on

“Racism in America: 1968 – 2008: What has changed? What remains to be done?”

Sunday, April 27 from 2:00pm – 5:00pm

Wilde Lake Interfaith Center
10431 Twin Rivers Road, Columbia, Maryland.

The audience will be asked to participate in a discussion that will include a decade-by-decade account using a visual presentation, along with an examination of the state of racism in the nation, with a focus on Howard County. HoCoPoLitSo, a non-profit organization is charged, under the direction of the Maryland Humanities Council (MHC), with engaging the community in an evaluation of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, the current state of racial relations, what has been done or could be done to bridge the racial divide and resolve racial differences.

The panelists include: professor and author Komozi Woodard of Sarah Lawrence College, former UMBC professor and host of WPFW radio, We Ourselves, Ambrose Lane, Prince George’s County delegate Justin Ross, and long time Howard County activist Jean Toomer. The moderator will be Jean Moon of Jean Moon and Associates of Columbia, and a founder of the Columbia Flier.

On the 40th anniversary commemorating the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, the Maryland Humanities Council has undertaken a broad initiative to engage communities in a statewide examination of racial relations as they exist today. Historian W.E.B. Du Bois wrote, “… the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color-line.” Despite serious efforts to dismantle it, the “color-line” persists in neighborhoods throughout the nation.

The free presentation will include an account of four decades of racism and its evolution in America. Panelists will analyze each decade’s news, cultural and arts movements and personalities. A slide show chronicling each decade will be accompanied by music. Each decade will be introduced by a poem emblematic of the period selected by former Maryland Poet Laureate Lucille Clifton.

Seating is limited. Please RSVP at 410.772.4568 or email Book signing, conversation and refreshments will follow the event. For more information: visit

This free event is sponsored by the Maryland Humanities Council, The Horizon Foundation, The Alpha Foundation of Howard County, and the Howard County Office of Human Rights, with contributions by St. John United Church, The Howard County Public School System, Howard County Public Library, and Howard Community College.

HoCoPoLitSo is a community-based, not-for-profit arts organization that produces readings and other literary events for the general public, including students, seniors, and ethnic audiences.
This afternoon I walked across campus to Locke Hall. I had some Houston Baker Jr flyers to give to folks in the English Department. Just before leaving the building I noticed a big poster for an upcoming booksigning at the HU Bookstore - April 4th at 4PM. It took me a few seconds to recognize the photo and name - Cassandra Joubert. Wow, I remember when she was a student at Howard and dazzled folks with her beauty and intellect. I might have even placed her name in one of my poems. CJ - A model for young black womanhood. Now I see she's the author of LOSING CONTROL: LOVING A BLACK CHILD WITH BIPOLAR DISORDER. I hope to get by the bookstore at the end of this week. A book to read and a person to see again.
If you want to send comments (feedback) about E-Notes, I can be reached at:

New York Chapter of the National Writers Union
in collaboration with the Brecht Forum


The WGA Settlement: Where Do We Go From Here?
A public dialogue with writers.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008, at 6:30 PM
Brecht Forum, 451 West Street
(aka West Side Highway between Bank & Bethune streets)

$10 donation (sliding scale / no one turned away)

[A, C, 1, 2, 3, 9 trains to 14th St.; walk west to West St., south to Bethune]

Gerard Colby (Pres., NWU)
Robert Schneider (VP, WGA-East)
Susan E. Davis (NWU Activist)
Jan Clausen (ACT-UAW)
Bruce George (Def Poetry Jam)

Louis Reyes Rivera (NWU New York)

Now that the 100-day strike by the Writers Guild of America has been settled, all writers of every stripe must ask: what new ground has now been broken? What were the principles at work and at risk? How will the new provisions affect writers' rights in general and in the face of continued internet piracy? What are the implications for writers in other venues – as freelancers and journalists, poets and novelists, bloggers and academics, in print media and on the web? We all need to know.

New changes are being made to the website:
Yes, we are going green this year.
In yesterday's The New York Times Book Review one can find a review of JACKIE ORMES: THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN CARTOONIST by Nancy Goldstein.
The University of Michigan Press. $35.

Visit the site for the organization named after her:

Devoted to raising awareness of black women in the comics industry.
According to the New Plantation Historic Genealogical Society I am not related to Peter Pan,
Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, Flash, The Green Lantern, Captain America, Willie Mays, Louis Farrakhan, Aretha Franklin, Fidel Castro, Kwame Nkrumah, Cab Calloway, Marcus Garvey,
Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, Woody Allen, Spike Lee, Nat Turner, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, J.A. Rodgers, Abdul Ali, Grace A. Ali, Muhammad Ali, Bono, or Smokey The Bear.
Long after April, the media will take us for April Fools. Before you can say Barack Obama for President they are going to hit us with the 2 kneecap issues: Abortion and Gun Control. Notice how these twins haven't really been seen since the crying time of the last big election. Yep, all of a sudden the election will be determined by these issues, or so the media will want us to believe.
Strange to have abortion push aside a War. Young people's lives being "aborted" at 18 and 21 and we can't find a way out of an Iraqi womb. Oh, and don't think the economy will get better if we buy more guns. Killing people is not the way to lower unemployment. Funny how all the talk is about Obama and Clinton. What happened to Roe and Wade?
Recommended reading:

"Water Warriors" by Maude Barlow in the latest issue of The Nation (April 14, 2008). Page 18.

Water should be a right and not a commodity.

The growth of a democratic global water justice movement is a critical and positive development that will bring needed accountability, transparency and public oversight to the water crisis as conflicts over water loom on the horizon.
- Maude Barlow


Monitor the News:
Prison fight in Texas last week. 22 injured. 1 killed.
Prison reform needs to be part of our national discussion,
Nationwide staffing for prisons has declined almost 8 percent; this coincides with an increase in the prison population.
Look for things to continue to get worse. Can't we avoid another Attica?
Carter G. Woodson And The Origins of Multiculturalism
2008 ASALH Convention

October 1-5, 2008
Sheraton Birmingham Hotel
2101 Richard Arrington, Jr. Blvd
Birmingham, AL.
George Washington Hospital:

Free prostate screenings are available every Friday by appointment from 8:30 AM to 11AM at the Ambulatory Care Center, 22nd and I Streets, NW, 2nd Floor ( near the Foggy Bottom Metro Station).

To schedule an exam, call 202 741-3106
Our Language in Iraq:

One of the problems we continue to have is war language. Here is what folks keep demanding:

Bring the Troops Home.
Stop The War.
We can Win this war.
US out of Iraq.
Support the Troops.
Finish the Job we Started.

What is missing is the call for PEACE. Not just an end to violence, but a demand for PEACE.
Not a stable Iraqi government but a demand for PEACE.

We seem to have become supporters of permanent and endless war.
There seems to be no discussion calling for a PEACE settlement.
The insurgents seem to remain faceless and we continue to call them insurgents.

Language seems to be keeping us at war.
Can you "imagine" PEACE?
Sports: The Real Race is With Ourselves.

On Saturday, the third annual Sun Trust National Marathon and Half Marathon was held. This is a nice affair if you are wearing shorts and sneakers. But let's look at what happens on those buses going downtown filled with hard working Latinos, Ethiopians and other people of color. It's 7 or 8 AM and the bus driver turns to look at his passengers. He informs them that they have to get off the bus and catch the Green Line. Well, that's good if you know what's going on. It's sad to see older Latinos looking at each other and trying to understand what to do. The bus driver knows no Spanish. I help out by telling him it's the marathon and not the Cherry Blossom Parade.

I was one of the few people getting off the bus - not rushing to work. I walked down Columbia Road and sat in the Starbucks on the corner of 18th Street. From there I could watch the runners. Most of them were white (only the shorts were black) and I thought to myself- how funny to see folks running around the city and not out of it. A sign of the times? I sat in the Starbucks catching my breath.

While the coffee was being sold, I soon became the only black person in a crowded store. A number of people looked at me, wondering if I was going to get up and move from their table.
I felt like Rosa Parks looking for a bus. Soon however, I knew I would be running with the Latinos. Are we racing to keep up? Or is our marathon ending?
Rising to 80: Maya Angelou's birthday is April 4th.
This week Doubleday is releasing - MAYA ANGELOU: A GLORIOUS CELEBRATION
(Doubleday, $30).
It's an illustrated tribute and scrapbook.
Jazz & Poetry
Poetry Coffehouse @ GRACE

Tuesday, April 22 @ 6:15 PM
Featuring James Zimmerman Quartet & Poet Reuben Jackson

Grace Church, Georgetown
1041 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20007
Poetry Out Loud
National Finals
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
7 PM
George Washington University Lisner Auditorium
730 21st Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20052

Admission is free and open to the public.

Have you seen my Ralph Ellison?

So what might it mean for a black person to be elected to a White House? Would it be symbolic of acceptance? Assimilation? Might it represent the beginning of a new America? Notice how terms like postracial slip into conversations these days. Recently some artists have used the word postblack. These terms might lead us to ask - is blackness obsolete? If a nation struggles to move beyond the problems of race, what might it shed? How soon might discussion of race and race matters seem archaic? What happens to blackness? One might interpret black people talking loud on buses and trains (without cell phones)as a desire to be "seen" and heard. How many black men, released from jails, lacking education, technical job skills,- fighting problems linked to substance abuse - turning 35 or 40, - are being pushed into obsolescence? Are we back to holding conferences on - "Who Needs The Negro?" I often see black men stepping off buses with black bags - homeless and being pushed to the exits of society. If the world has become postblack it only means many of us have fallen into black holes. We were here but now we disappear. I need light bulbs. Ellison, my dear.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Words from Alice Walker:

I am a supporter of Obama because I believe he is the right person to lead the country at this time. He offers a rare opportunity for the country and the world to start over, and to do better. It is a deep sadness to me that many of my feminist white women friends cannot see him. Cannot see what he carries in his being. Cannot hear the fresh choices toward Movement he offers. That they can believe that millions of Americans –black, white, yellow, red and brown - choose Obama over Clinton only because he is a man, and black, feels tragic to me.

When I have supported white people, men and women, it was because I thought them the best possible people to do whatever the job required. Nothing else would have occurred to me. If Obama were in any sense mediocre, he would be forgotten by now. He is, in fact, a remarkable human being, not perfect but humanly stunning, like King was and like Mandela is. We look at him, as we looked at them, and are glad to be of our species. He is the change America has been trying desperately and for centuries to hide, ignore, kill. The change America must have if we are to convince the rest of the world that we care about people other than our (white) selves.
The End of March:
Not the best of days. Head hurting - I need to sleep for a good 10 hours or more. April is going to be a busy month. Here are a few activities on my schedule:

April 6th. Reading poems on WPFW radio (Miyuki's Show) - 12 Noon.

April 7th. Introducing Quincy Troupe and Tyehimba Jess at the Folger Library - 7:30 PM

April 8th. Reading at UDC for the English Honor Society - 6PM

April 11th. Reading at Lake Braddock High School

April 12th. Reading at the Library of Congress 12:3o PM

April 14th Introducing Houston Baker, Jr., Browsing Room, Howard University 4 PM.

April 15th Georgetown University Conference

April 17th Recording poems for NPR.

April 18th Reading at the 9th Annual Bethesda Literary Festival, Writer's Center 8:30 PM

April 29th Reading at UDC (Matthew Petti's Class) 4 PM.
Busboys & BrerBert

I saw BrerBert yesterday at Busboys. He was sitting next to Sarah - the lovely wife of William Hank Lewis. It was a surprise to see BrerBert out on a Saturday. But LITERATURE LIVES and folks were celebrating a three-day book festival sponsored by UDC and the Hurston/Wright Foundation. I loved those name badges folks were wearing like they worked for McGuire Funeral Home.There was a very interesting panel around 10 AM that examined what was going on in the poetry world of DC. Ken Carroll, Andy Shallal made comments - and there was Jane Alberdeston. What joy!

Later, around the time BrerBert was munching on a burger - a number of male writers from Africa took the stage. Two were Lewis students at the University of Maryland. Also on the panel was Chirstopher John Farley author of BEFORE THE LEGEND:THE RISE OF BOB MARLEY.
I think I saw BrerBert's wife reading this book when she came back from Jamaica.

Anyway, I was surprised that BrerBert even stayed for the poetry reading by Patricia Smith.
You know how "Negroes" are always trying to slip out the door. I think Smith caught that Negro and gave him a sweet hug that made him sit down. BrerBert has always been a sucker for hugs.
Good thing he ain't drinking beer or wine no more. Too many spirits in his system and the next thing he will try to write are colored verses and some plantation ditties. BrerBert should be ashamed of himself.

I was so glad when he left Busboys - talking with Abdul Ali who should be associating himself with Jean Toomer and not Brer Bert. Ok - make it Waring Cuney. Well I stayed at Busboys until they dimmed the lights. I like to see the darkness falling on my skin. It reminds me of blackness and Bosco syrup. I kept my notebook open doing quadratic equations that connected the heads of Fred J and Venus T. I tried dividing their poems into 2.I love those poets and the new math they represent.
New Book:
Andrew Billingsley just sent me a copy of his latest book -YEARNING TO BREATHE FREE- ROBERT SMALLS OF SOUTH CAROLINA AND HIS FAMILIES (The University of South Carolina Press). Billingsley is one of the leading sociologists in the U.S. This man continues to have a very distinguished career. Our paths crossed when he was the provost at Howard University. Billingsley's vision helped to create the Institute for Arts and Humanities at Howard. This was probably the key reason I stayed at The Capstone of Negro Education. The Institute was directed by my mentor Dr. Stephen Henderson. Created in 1973, this HU Unit was responsible for such events as the National Afro-American Writers Conference. Billingsley was also able to bring to Howard such people as Joyce Ladner, John O. Killens and Haki Madhubuti.
HU almost entertained the idea of becoming a Black University. Hopefully scholars will begin to write about this amazing era.

Meanwhile Billinsgley's book looks at Robert Smalls the African American who was a Civil War hero, businessman, statesman and U.S. congressman. This book will take one back to Beaufort, South Carolina...
Poetry Note:

I do not think that more information always makes a richer poem. I am attracted to ellipsis, to the unsaid, to suggestion...

- Louise Gluck
I Ain't Gonna Work On Maggie's Farm No More:

Clinton Campaign Manager Was Director For Failed Subprime Lender - Politics on The Huffington Post

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Look for certain events to influence the campaign. These are things the candidates have no control over:

1. The War in Iraq; any major change for better or worse.
2. Nations behaving badly. Take your pick - Korea, Iran...
3. Natural disasters and destruction. Earthquake in America?
4. A major prison riot. I think we had a serious one this week in Texas.
5. A change in some one's health. Cancer?
6. A scandal factor sneaking out of some one's past. Sex kills but there's always more sex.
7. A major terrorist attack in Europe or Israel.
8. Farrakhan giving a speech in DC next week and pulling the race bunny out of his hat (again).

With a number of days until the PA primary the media has nothing to do. Much of the "happenings" are taking place behind closed doors and on the telephones. Calls are being made and so are promises. It's Let's Make A Deal time.
Right now Clinton looks like Liston before that first fight with Clay. Obama needs to "float like a butterfly and sting like a bee." Unlike Ohio or Texas, the PA primary would be the real KO of the Clinton campaign. The problem with being a "comeback" kid is that the media will only permit you to do it once. After that they get bored with you. The media is getting bored with Obama so they are finding McCain interesting right now. How long will that last? Who will be McCain's running mate? Condi? This could be the year of the "black" surprise.
A black woman running with McCain might just stir America's political pot a bit more. What would white feminists do if they had to make a choice between Obama or Rice? What will white men do if blacks are on both tickets, stay home? Can you see Fox news trying to make sense out of this? With Rice on one ticket and Obama on the other, we now would have to focus on the issues like ending the war and helping the economy. No need to discuss race if you can't avoid it.
You Don't Need A Weatherman To Know Which Way The Wind Blows:
The Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel invites you to attend

Sundays at the Chapel

hosted by The Friends of the Chapel



CD launch and Reunion Concert

Sunday, April 6, 2008, 3:00 p.m.

Andrew Rankin Chapel. 6th Street and Howard Place, NW Washington, DC
(This event kicks off Inaugural Jazz Week at Howard University - April 6-11, 2008.

There is no admission charge for this event. For more information, call Rankin Chapel 202-806-7280.
Is that North Korea knocking on the News Door?
Remember them?

So Curry catches the ball way beyond the 3 pt line - a defender in front of him. The kid takes a step back and shoots - nothing but net. My son sends me a text message - this is ridiculous.
What a joy watching Stephen Curry of Davidson play in the NCAA this month. How far can he take this team? The Final Four?
Curry prior to the last game was averaging 35 points on 51.2 percent shooting. He was shooting 52 percent from three-point range.
Joyce Maynard:
It was good to see the wonderful article in Friday's New York Times about Joyce Maynard's home in Guatemala. Joyce has written for the E-MAG. Here is a link to her site:
Great Scott! Look what's going to take place in Gotham. A celebration of THE GREAT GATSBY.

Washington, D.C. Is Reading The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (April – May 2008)
Schedule of Activities and Events
Schedule subject to change. Updates with additions are available on-line at or call 202-387-8391 for information.

Friday, March 28, 2008

A note from good Fred:

Hello everyone,

A number of people have asked me how to help and what to contribute to help out the Bancroft Elementary families displaced by the recent Mount Pleasant fire. So, I'm sending out information to a large group of potentially interested people

What's most needed now are cash donations to help families as they try to settle into new apartments in the near future.

Friends of Bancroft will accept tax-deductible donations. Checks must be made out to Friends of Bancroft (with Fire Fund on the memo line) and either dropped off at the school office or mailed to:

PTA President Fred Solowey
Bancroft Elementary School
1755 Newton Street, NW
Washington, DC 20010

Thank you,

Fred Solowey
The "Sly" Fox trying to make a Wright into a Wrong:

YouTube - FOX Lies!! Barack Obama Pastor Wright
See FAST COMPANY (April issue). Obama is on the cover. The article is about "The Brand Called Obama" and looks at his influence on the marketplace.

Former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal cannot be executed for murdering a Philadelphia police officer unless a new penalty hearing is held.
The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Abu-Jamal's conviction but said he should get anew sentencing hearing because of flawed jury instructions. If prosecutors don't want to give him a new death penalty hearing Abu-Jamal will be sentenced automatically to life in prison.

See article in USA TODAY, page 2A (3/28/08).

Callaloo Magazine:
Well the latest issue of Callaloo is out. This issue is edited by Keith Leonard and Kyle Dargan.
It we were talking film they would be the Cohen Brothers. The L-D brothers are that good.Their focus is on the next 30 years of Callaloo. Meanwhile, that ghost interview with BrerBert was seen leaving Arizona. The new Callaloo does contains an interview with Harryette Mullen.

Mullen and Lady giovanni singleton are the new Tubmans. We just need to embrace their vision.

Funny how a Lone Star Journal keeps coming out of a Lone Star state. I wonder if there is such a thing as editorial waterboarding?
ART EXHIBIT: Ampofo-Anti

Ancestral Vessels - Sacred Links

Saturday, March 29th - May 31, 2008

At the Millennium Arts Salon
1213 Girard St, NW
Washington, D.C.
202 319-8988

Opening reception - Saturday, March 29th at 5 PM - 7 pm.
Beloved thanks to Charles Johnson for sending me a copy of REMEMBERING MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. 40 years Later. This awesome book presents King's life and crusade in pictures. This is a LIFE Book. Remember when the world was just LOOK AND LIFE? On every coffee table a copy of one of those magazines. Gordon Parks using his camera like it was a tambourine and capturing so many faces in hallelujah time. Johnson and Bob Adelman have given us a treasure book to treasure. 40 years later - King still speaks from the grave. We dream the Beloved community, we continue to march. Precious Lord - take our hands.

Life Books is a trademark of TIME, Inc.
1271 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
On Wednesday I attended a good meeting at IPS. A small gathering of folks, including Hector Timerman, the Ambassador of the Argentine Republic. Timerman's father was the inspiration behind my writing the poem "Where Are The Love Poems For Dictators?"

Also at IPS was Naomi Klein (and her husband). I had to tell her that I just find her work amazing. THE SHOCK DOCTRINE: THE RISE OF DISASTER CAPITALISM
is must reading. The paperback edition is coming out soon.

IPS is going to have a table at the upcoming 5th Annual Ridenhour Prizes, Thursday, April 3rd, at the National Press Club (529 14th Street) from Noon- 2PM.
Bill Moyers is one of the people being honored. It will be good to see him again. A couple of years ago, Henry Taylor and I did a program with him. Moyers has promoted poetry on PBS. If you get a chance, go back and listen to the tribute he delivered at Lady Bird Johnson's funeral. Simply outstanding. This nation needs more men like Moyers.
When they take away the sunlight,
even the sunlight, be
the sunlight.

-Aracelis Girmay
Well, I'm heading back to DC. I spent yesterday on the campus of Hampton University. I was a guest along with Tananarive Due for The BIG READ sponsored by the English Department. The selected book was A LESSON BEFORE DYING by Ernest Gaines. It was a well organized program with a webcast with Gaines. Students and faculty had the opportunity to ask him questions about his novel. In the evening Due and I talked about A LESSON BEFORE DYING, reading our own work and making connections with some of the themes found in the novel. It was good to see Due again; special thanks to Shonda Buchanan (Assistant Professor of English) who invited us to Hampton.
Coming from Howard to Hampton one is immediately impressed by the upkeep of the campus. Buildings are in much better conditions - well. I found the students to be wonderful and thinking about their future. That's always a good thing.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

by Tom Hayden, Bill Fletcher, Barbara Ehrenreich, and Danny Glover.

AWP is now accepting proposals for events at our 2009 Conference in Chicago.

The deadline to submit an event proposal is May 1, 2008. For information on
the proposal process, our guidelines, or to submit a proposal today, please
visit us online:

All proposals must be submitted online via our website. No hardcopy or
emailed proposals will be accepted. Should you have any difficulty in
navigating our online submission form, please email Due to the overwhelming number of proposals that
AWP receives each year, we are not able to accept any proposals after May 1,

Be sure to have a copy of your proposal text and information saved in
another form. If for some reason your browser should close or your internet
connection is interrupted during the submission process, your information
will not be received by AWP.

Receipt of proposals is confirmed via an email confirmation sent from Please be certain that your email account is set
to receive emails from this address so that you can be sure to receive your
email confirmation. If you do not receive email confirmation within one week
of your submission, please email

The selection process for Conference events is competitive, and AWP wants to
be sure you have all the necessary information to create the best possible
event proposal. Comprehensive information on writing your proposal,
submitting your proposal, and proposal policies can be found in AWP's
Proposal Handbook:

We look forward to receiving your 2009 event proposal and seeing you in
Chicago. Should you have any questions, please let us know.
AWP Conference Services
Do you want 4 years of Meghan McCain?
See profile in The Washington Post today. Style Section.
I need 2 ballots to make this all go away. But being fair maybe it's the media and not Meghan.
She can't be All-Air.

Talkin' politics - now folks will try to tack the old Liberal word on Obama.
These are slick conservative "Tarbaby" games. When will folks stop running form the word liberal. And how far left is the Democratic Party? Please - raise your left hand. Is it longer than your right? More nonsense- conservatives make it seem as if everyone walking around being liberal is wearing a beret. Hmm. I saw BrerBert with one. Someone needs to catch that Negro before he writes another poem.
More Sports:
I know I'm getting old if Chris Webber is retiring from basketball after playing 15 seasons. It seems like it was just yesterday he was calling a timeout in an NCAA game.

Shortage of western-style toilets will face folks playing in the Olympics. Folks will have to use the squat-style lavatories. It has become so obvious that China was awarded the games in order to open some international economic markets. Cola for China and Big Macs too. What human rights problem? Sudan you say? IOC needs to wear a mask this summer.

More Canseco. Look for the sports splash to occur the next few weeks with the publication of VINDICATED: BIG NAMES, BIG LIARS AND THE BATTLE TO SAVE BASEBALL by Jose Canesco.
Alex Rodriguez will feel he is playing in a playoff game in April. More A-Rod Accusations and the guy might be looking for a blessing from Rev. Wright.
Book Review:
If you can't read the book then read the book review in today's Washington Post:

THE ECHO FROM DEALEY PLAZA The True Story of the First African American on the White House Secret Service Detail and His Quest for Justice After the Assassination of JFK by Abraham Bolden.

Published by Harmony, 306 pp. $25.95.

The book is reviewed by Bruce Watson.
Those last days of March:

Last night I watched A Place of Rage, a film by Pratibha Parmar. It was produced in 1991 and highlights Angela Davis, Alice Walker and June Jordan. So wonderful listening to June read and laugh again. Miss her madly.
One can obtain the film by going to Women Make Movies:

I caught Paula Giddings yesterday afternoon at the Howard University Bookstore. She was promoting her new book on Ida B. Wells. Whew - what a wonderful, informative session she conducted. I hadn't seen Paula in many years. Oh, those HU Press days - where have they gone?
Oh, the HU Bookstore has to change the idea of going downstairs to buy a book and then going back upstairs to get the author's autograph. Who created this Middle Passage? And isn't that BrerBert in that bookstore mural?

Talkin' HU history - at the Achebe event on Monday I ran into Abdulkadir Said. What a pleasure seeing this guy again. When he was at Howard he was the editor of New Directions magazine.
This was one of the best things HU has ever done. Today's Howard magazine is not Aretha. New Directions could have been sold on the magazine stands. It was a fine journal with articles that ranged from politics to culture. Book reviews and poems. Said did a fantastic job. I worked with him and contributed interviews with Stephen Henderson, Clarence Major and Quincy Troupe. In the last issue I wrote a letter to the editor about the state of black studies at Howard. Funny how that was the last New Directions and one is curious as to the direction we are going in now. What's needed is a graduate student or a Black New Age scholar to study the significance and influence of Said's magazine. A nice job for a Jelani Cobb? New Directions was like another Freedomways. Today, HU produces a journal that's simply PR for the college.
Gone are those Garvey Pan -Africanist dreams. We moved from thinking about Africa to simply thinking about Homecoming. The motion of history but not the reason for amnesia.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Potomac Review: A Journal of Arts and Humanities

The Potomac Review: A Journal of Arts and Humanities invites the submission of travel essays inspired by rivers or river travel of approximately 1500 to 2500 words. While the inspiration for these essays may focus on any river, special attention is given to works with the Potomac River at the focus.

The Potomac Review is a literary journal that takes its name from The Potomac River. The Potomac River is often called “The Nation’s River” because of its proximity to the Nation’s Capital, Washington DC. The influence and primary readership of the journal replicates the flow of the river; from its source high in the Allegheny Mountains to the Washington and Lincoln Memorials that reflect in its water to its key entry point into the Chesapeake Bay. The Potomac River, similar to the scores of rivers around the world, assumes to hold in the memories of many writers unforgettable history, adventures, and scenic landscapes that may be captured in language. Much like the Potomac, a river that nurtures a variety of cultures, the editors of the Potomac Review are particularly interested in essays that view life, people, and landscapes from the margin as well as the center. Consequently, inventive perspectives and narrative forms are encouraged.

Submission Guidelines

Due Date: May 15, 2008

Send hard copies to:
Daiyyah A. Abdullah
Special Editor
Montgomery College
Rockville Campus
51 Mannakee Street
Rockville, Maryland 20850

Send electronic copies to:

Send all other comments or inquiries to:
Julie Wakeman-Linn
Potomac Review Editor
The Potomac Review
Montgomery College
Rockville Campus
51 Mannakee Street
Rockville, Maryland 20850
Tell no lies, claim no easy victories. Clinton making things up on one issue should tell people to look into others; especially NAFTA. How far will this woman go to win the nomination?
I'm amazed the media has not been discussing the role of Maggie Williams - especially with all this race matter in the air. Is this another chapter of GONE WITH THE WIND? From Hattie to Hillary?

Can you imagine Lady Obama responding to a question the way Child Clinton did yesterday?
"None of your business" is something that just doesn't play these days. Child Clinton should talk to Child Hilton. But of course Child Clinton seldom talks. Mute matters.
United States National Slavery Museum:
And then I became a politician and I put away childish things...
Do you remember when you misspoke as a child? I bet you do. There was either soap for your mouth or a strap chasing your butt down the hall. Then you were sent to your room and you couldn't talk to any superdelegates for a week or two. So what should we suggest to the dear Senator? Chalk and a blackboard?

I'm listening to Cachao - Master Sessions, Volume II.
Cachao died Saturday at the age of 89.
Cuban bassist and composer; pioneer of the Mambo.

Bemba 'e Cuchara
Quote of the Day:

Most Americans watching Barack Obama's campaign, even those who don't support him, appreciate the historic significance of an African-American president. But for parents like me, Obama, as the first biracial candidate, symbolizes something else too: the future of race in this country, the paradigm and paradox of its simultaneous intransigence and disappearance.

- Peggy Orenstein
New York Times Sunday Magazine Section, 3/23/08


I am writing you to inform you of this great opportunity that we have for college students in the area. We have a Teen Program that allows us to provide the teenage community with some necessary needs and wants that will make their lives healthier and a little easier to deal with. Every Friday and Saturday night from 7-10 p.m. we open our facility doors to the teenagers in our community only. During this time we allow them to participate in all sorts of extra curricular activities including sports and fitness programs, open forums to discuss issues and provide information from community services to assist them in their daily needs, we also provide trips and excursions to take them to experience new and interesting places and things to do.

We are anxiously looking for a college student/adult who would be interested in working with us part-time to oversee the program and to act as a role model for these youth. This is a year-round paid position. If you know of anyone and they are interested in possibly looking into this a little further please pass this e-mail along.

My contact information is below…

Thank you so much for your time and we hope to hear from you soon.

Amanda Hall
Recreation Enterprise Facility Manager I
Rollingcrest-Chillum Community Center
Department of Parks and Recreation
The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission
6120 Sargent Road, Hyattsville, Maryland 20782 /
301-853-1906 ext 2341 Direct
301-559-7224 Fax
An Achebe of a Time Last Night:

Literature - Teaching Positions at American University

ADJUNCT PROFESSORThe Department of Literature in the College of Arts and Sciences at American University invites applicants to teach one or two expository writing classes in the College Writing Program beginning in Fall 2008. Candidates should have an MA or MFA and experience teaching college level expository writing.

Send a letter and current CV to John Hyman, Director of the College Writing Program, Department of Literature, American University, Washington, D,C. 20016-8047. American University is an AA/EEO employer, committed to a diverse faculty, staff, and student body. Women and minority candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.

ADJUNCT PROFESSORThe Department of Literature invites applications for part time, adjuncts for the Fall 2008 semester to teach LIT 160: The Culture of Higher Education in the U.S. This course facilitates new international students' participation in the American University community. Adjunct will work in coordination with other departments and programs on campus including TESOL and International Student and Scholar Services. Course activities and goals include: • Compare similarities and differences between US and other academic communities, including classroom styles, faculty/student relations, nonverbal communication, and educational philosophies• Use a variety of academic resources, including syllabi, faculty, fellow students, and academic support services• Develop discussion, writing, research, and presentation skills• Understand US academic integrity• Understand the cycle of culture shock and models of cultural adaptation Responsibilities:• teach two class sessions per week as scheduled • hold weekly office hours• coordinate instruction and materials with other instructors• participate in program evaluation at the end of the semester.

Qualifications: Required:• Master's degree in TESOL or related field• 2 years teaching ESL/EFL experience, particularly at advanced levels• experience living and working in another culture where a language other than English must be usedDesired:• training in a content-based approach to instruction• experience teaching international students to interact successfully in higher education settings in the U.S.• current active involvement in the field (TESOL, WATESOL)

Send letter, and current CV including references to Angela Dadak, International Student Coordinator, Department of Literature, American University, Washington, D.C. 20016-8047. Email submissions preferred to American University is an AA/EEO employer, committed to a diverse faculty, staff, and student body. Women and minority candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.
The London Times on Barack Obama

The London Times
March 23, 2008

Barack Obama dares to speak the truth about race
byAndrew Sullivan

The candidacy of Barack Obama has already given us many memorable campaign moments, but last week’s Philadelphia address struck me as more than that. It was the most honest speech about race in America that any leading politician has given in my lifetime. It was a shockingly brave speech – the first real test of what this man does under pressure and under fire. It was also, I think, an authentically Christian speech, inexplicable without Christian theology.

Its most surprising aspect was Obama’s simple blank refusal to disown his controversial pastor Jeremiah Wright, who claimed in sermons that the United States had brought the 9/11 attacks on itself and asked African-Americans to sing “God damn America”. In electoral politics, if someone associated with you has said something stupid or ugly or extremist, the golden rule is to “reject and denounce” him or her immediately and move on. Obama’s decision to face this head-on and actually use the moment to give a speech that spoke of racial complexity – of the legitimacy of white racial grievance as well as of historical black bitterness – sets him apart from many other politicians.

He was not trying to appeal to one constituency over another. He was actually trying to start a conversation – a perilous conversation – that might either kill his candidacy or make it more significant than any since Ronald Reagan’s. He placed Wright in a historical context. He invoked William Faulkner: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” He spoke to the American public as if they were adults, aware of their country’s tortured racial history. While he didn’t excuse – and, indeed, clearly and explicitly condemned some of Wright’s toxic racial claptrap – he also refused to ignore the fact that the black church has a history of intemperate fulmination, as well as surpassing beauty and emotion.

He reminded us that Wright and Obama belong to a multiracial and mainly white Christian denomination, the United Church of Christ (at least now the rumours about Obama being a Muslim may die down). Wright’s colourful speaking style stems from a long tradition of prophetic, angry sermonising. Let me offer an example from another such preacher: “God didn’t call America to engage in a senseless, unjust war . . . And we are criminals in that war. We’ve committed more war crimes almost than any nation in the world and I’m going to continue to say it. And we won’t stop it because of our pride and our arrogance as a nation. But God has a way of even putting nations in their place . . . [God will say:] And if you don’t stop your reckless course, I’ll rise up and break the backbone of your power.” That was Martin Luther King in February 1968. His sermon was about Vietnam.

Today in America it would be regarded by many as treasonous. This kind of rhetoric is more mainstream within the black church than many whites understand and Wright, when you listen to his full sermons, is often much more sophisticated than the soundbites sometimes suggest. So Obama trod a complicated path last week, decrying Wright’s apparent disbelief in the self-correction of the American experiment while also trying to explain where that argument comes from: slavery, Jim Crow, centuries of cruelty and humiliation. He invoked the self-confessed racism of his white grandmother and spoke of the sometimes bigoted discourse in African-America’s barbershop subculture.

He was not merely being white and black; he was being ghetto black and Ivy League black, upscale black and downscale black, middle-class black and underclass black. This is the core of Obama’s relationship to his own race. He understands that the ease of pure victimology is as phoney as the release of complete assimilation. Think of other leading black Americans: Condoleezza Rice, a black woman who grew up in the maelstrom of the civil rights movement in the South, who was nonetheless protected from it by her parents and taught classical piano while other black girls were being killed by bombs, and who barely ever invokes her race. Or take Clarence Thomas, a Supreme Court justice utterly defined by race and his anger at white liberals for condescension and affirmative action. Or Al Sharpton, a man for whom black grievance almost always obliterates any empathy with white resentment. Or think of a complicated black conservative like the nuanced and sophisticated author Shelby Steele, who has nonetheless sought occasional refuge as the token conservative black man in various right-wing media outlets.

I don’t mean to overly criticise any of them. It’s tough. Between denying your difference as a minority and embracing it as totally defining of yourself, there is a world of treacherous and difficult tension. But for an intelligent and principled person, the struggle always lies in the interstices. I relate to this a little as a homosexual. I neither want to be totally defined by my gay identity, but nor do I want to deny it. I don’t want to be imprisoned by victimology, but nor do I want to disown those of my fellow gays who do indeed suffer as victims for reasons they cannot change or help. This is the tough road that Obama has pursued. I would think much, much less of him if he had never opened himself to the black urban subculture and its fears, hopes and resentments, while also being a Harvard Law Review president and intellectual of the first order.

He married a black American woman in part to reconnect with an American black experience from which he had been cut off by his own multicultural, multi-national, biracial past. It’s all there in his first autobiography, explained and unearthed with painful candour. Did he overlook too much of Wright’s racial extremism? Did his white guilt prevent him from protesting? Perhaps. Some Chicago political posturing may have also played a part. But it is important to note that he did not merely sit back; he also dedicated his career to racial integration and understanding. Few politicians have been as dedicated to racial integration as Obama and to tie him to racial separatists because of a few sermons at his church is simply unfair.

It was a wide bridge, to be sure, perhaps too wide for the weight that it is now bearing. And maybe America is not ready for this bridge, for these contradictions, for this complexity. We will find out soon enough. So we are suspended between the old racial politics and a new form: between Hillary Clinton who believes in her heart that America is not ready, and may never be ready, for this leap and should therefore adopt a politics that assumes the ineradicability of this racial and cultural gulf and the need to disguise it and play cynical defence – and an Obama who offers the chance to see that sometimes authentic identity requires an element of contradiction, a bridging of the resentful, angry past and a more complex, integrated future. He may fail and the Clintons may be proven right. But he may also succeed – and what a mighty success that would be.
Very Important Comments about the Election Coverage:

"Bigfoots" on the Campaign Plane

Monday, March 24, 2008

Put Your One In The Air: For Obama.
Pakistan Update:
Discuss Obama's Philadelphia speech in DC:

RSVP at:
BrerBert Information:
The Black Scholar:

I received a mailing today from Maize Woodford the executive editor of The Black Scholar.
Good to see they have a new special issue out: Rethinking Pan-Africanism for the 21 st Century. That's an interesting topic. I've always been asking the question, What would Garvey do if he had a laptop?
I remember being at Howard University around 1970 and listening to Kwame Ture who had just returned to the States from Africa. Ture told us that Pan-Africanism was the highest stage of Black Power. Back then folks were reading books by Kwame Nkrumah and Sekou Toure.
Now the world has gone Zane and sad eyes can be seen in Sudan.
For more information about The Black Scholar, contact Ms. Maize Woodford at
Hard Questions?

Do you know where McCain and Clinton worship?
What are their ministers saying?
Are issues of race more important than the war or economy?
For an orgasm, how much sex and race talk must we listen to in the media?

We are at that Birth of A Nation moment where we need to turn off Fox News for a spell. Our VP is quoting Lincoln and he might be right. The last presidential election we were dividing ourselves into red and blues states. I still prefer the Union colors and wonder if the red states list plantations as theme parks. The importance of the Obama campaign is that it seeks to unite what was becoming a divided nation. But look at what might prevent the United States from being united - a war and race matters. Well it's not our Civil War this time but it still has the potential to create fights in our streets. It may not be slavery this time - but Rev. Wright sounds a bit like John Brown. So what do we do? We are at America II - a point in our history where we can turn a corner. An Obama/Richardson 08 ticket might signal what we all know is coming. A world of color and a nation beginning to celebrate itself. Where is our Whitman to sing this new song? When will Americans realize that our Black/white conflict is a lover's quarrel? We are separated by our fear and the forgotten pages of history. The making of America required the hands of many colors. At a time when folks still want to wave the flag of Dixie -how do we remind ourselves that our Union must survive? We move forward or we sink. There are few beautiful swimmers left.
The last days of March and then we march into National Poetry Month. Congrats to all the folks who organized the Split This Rock Poetry Festival. A historical moment.
Now- how do we prevent the death of another 4000. What words will give birth to peace?
After Easter comes Ascension. How do we rise above hatred?
Will we ever build the Beloved Community? Where are the stones of love?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

BrerBert writes to a friend:

Clear day with sun - so that's a blessing. So many places across the country fighting floods and a biblical climate. I keep waiting for Noah to knock on my door. What 2 books should I give him?
Obama DC Fundraiser Information:
Contact Bryan:

Dear Mr. Miller:

Donna Denize, my former office mate at St. Albans School, gave me your name as someone who might be interested in a fundraiser for Senator Obama on May 6 at Halcyon House in Washington ( entertainments still to be fixed) to publicize, among other things, his support among people in the arts in the DC area.

As a volunteer for Obama and wife of an artist, I've agreed to be on the committee to help organize the event. At the moment I am trying to identify others who might also be interested in joining our committee. To be on the committee, I have agreed to have my name listed on the invitation, to make a contribution of $250, to attend if possible and to be of assistance in whatever way I can.

We would like to get as many people in the arts community as possible to help support the event and Senator Obama. If you would consider such a contribution or if you know of others who might be interested, please email me at the address below. Also, please feel free to email me with any questions you might have. Thank you very much for your consideration Bryan Leithauser
New interview with E. Ethelbert Miller conducted by Belinda Subraman:
Exact url is

I'm looking forward to my upcoming retreat. I'll have a chance to work on my second memoir and also do some reading. One book I'm placing on my list is A QUIET REVOLUTION: THE FIRST PALESTINIAN INTIFADA AND NONVIOLENT RESISTANCE by Mary Elizabeth King.
It has an introduction by President Jimmy Carter.
Back to Politics:

Hillary Clinton's role in Northern Ireland should not be dismissed. She visited and engaged with the conflict when she did not have to do either. Her presence as first lady augmented the important sense that the White House was invested in a successful outcome to the peace talks. And she has kept herself conversant with Irish issues since then.

But to suggest she was "instrumental" in bringing peace to Ireland - or to imply any of her experiences in Ireland prepare her for a 3 a.m. crisis call to the White House - is more that a wee bit silly.

- Niall Stanage, The New York Observer, March 24, 2008
F. Scott Fitzgerald Short Story Contest
For more information, call 301-309-9461
Entries must be postmarked no later than July 18, 2008.
Writer's Conference at the John Hopkins University Dupont Circle campus on April 5th. Conversations and Connections: Practical Advice on Getting Published.
Check site:
Music Men in New York:

Sonny Rollins and Gary Giddins In Conversation on Wednesday, 6:30 PM., Proshansky Auditorium, the Graduate Center at the City University of New York, 365 Fifth Avenue, at 34 th Street,; free, no reservations.
Death in the family:

Last week the actor Ivan Dixon died at the age of 76.
I loved watching this guy on the screen. He was Sergeant Kinchloe in Hogan's Heroes but he was really - NOTHING BUT A MAN. The classic film with him and Abbey Lincoln - 1964.
In 1967 he played the title role in a CBS Playhouse drama, "The Final War of Olly Winter. He received an Emmy nomination for his performance.

Sad to see John Patterson cut from the Washington Nationals. He was one of my favorite players on the team.

Baseball starting in a few days.
Back to the Ichiro watch and baseball fever.
I'm looking forward to visiting the new stadium and catching a few games.
Save the Date: Monday, June 9th at 6:30 PM


Benefit Poets House

Join Galway Kinnell, Thomas Lux, Marilyn Nelson and other distinquished poets on this unforgettable literary pilgrimage, featuring poetry readings from City Hall to Fulton Ferry Landing followed by a festive dinner in DUMBO. Tickets begin at $250. Reservations required.
All proceeds benefit Poets House. For more information or to make reservations, call (212) 431-7920, X2211 or email
Opening Remarks by E. Ethelbert Miller at the Split This Rock Poetry Festival:

In Toni Cade Bambara's 1980 novel The Salt Eaters, the healer Minnie Ransom asks Velma Henry - "Are you sure, sweetheart, that you want to be well?"

This is a question that we might want to ask America in 2008.

The sickness of war surrounds us.

Do we want to be well?

One would hope that poets can be healers like Minnie Ransom.
We know the power of the word.
Many of us have been touched by the word.
It's language that holds us together.

It's an honor to be invited to read at the Split This Rock Poetry Festival; to read at this historical moment.

I gave my very first poetry reading back in 1969, just down the street at All Soul's Church. I read with poets Ebon and Carolyn Rodgers. The musician Marion Brown was there. Brown had once played with John Coltrane.
We were all witnesses back then; artists giving testimony to a new consciousness.

Today poets gather at Split This Rock to voice opposition to war. To proclaim the wellness that flows from peace.

We lift our voices to sing.

And to quote Prince - " This is what it sounds like when doves cry."

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Beating the Drum: Black Voices coming from Black Souls:

A Confluence of Literary, Cultural & Vision Arts

Founded in 1991

Spring / Summer / Fall 2008, Volume 16

Available April 2008

ISBN 691462641-ISBN978-1-880748-65-7

‘Kwansabas for Richard Wright/Centennial’Haiku By Richard WrightJerry W. Ward Jr. Talks About Wright‘Homestretch’ and Tankas by Julia Wright‘Siren Sisters . . . Ten Nigerian Women Poets’

Others include:_________________________________________________________________Nike Adesuyi, William Copeland, Tade Ipadeola, Patricia Merritt, Darlene Roy,Toyin Adewale,Roscoe “Ros” Crenshaw,Ebony Jackson,Tureeda Mikell,John W. Sexton, Opal Palmer Adisa, Philip B. Crosby, Cheryl Jackson-Olison,Angela Miri, Lola Shoneyin, Ify Agwu, Meri-Uhm Dalili, Chantal James, CarleyMoore,Jeffrey Skoblow, Maria Ajima, Angela Dates-Ali, Maya James, DorotheaMoore,Christopher Stanard, Maya Angelou, Justin Desmangles, Valjeanne Jeffers-Thompson, Lenard D. Moore,Ronald D. Steele Kim Arrington,Janie Dickens,Alesha C. Johnson,, Askia Muhammad Lamont B. Steptoe, Ethan Charles Ashley,Benjamin Arda Doty, Alisa G. Jones, Dahveed Nelson, Quincy Troupe,Unoma Nguemo Azuah, Henry Dumas, Rhonda B. Jones,Mali Newman, Randy Walker,Regina Harris Baiocchi, Nicole Eaddy, Joyce Ann Joyce,Angela Amalonye Nwosu,Valerie Martt Wallace, Odessa Bethea, Amara C. Emenari, G. Mark LaFrancis,Grace Ocasio, Simone Amaris Walls, Charles Curtis Blackwell, Alysha English,Byron Lee, Dare Oshinuga, Jerry W. Ward Jr., Ahimsa Timoteo Bodhrán,Sandra María Esteves, Reginald Lockett, Mark Pearson II, Nagueyalti Warren,Jason Braun, Perpetual Ngozi Eziefule,Lhea J. Love, Useni Eugene Perkins,Patrice Watley-Williams,Charlie R. Braxton,Author C. Ford Sr.,Rayna K. Lucier,DeNatalie Phillips,Hillary Kobernick Watson,Kenneth Hugh Burton,Maxine Foster,devorah major,Pamela Plummer,Lena J. Weathers, Hari Sky Campbell, Sherman L.Fowler,Pharoh Martin,Elder Aaron Ibn Pori Pitts, Mary E. Weems, LorraineCaputo, Van G. Garrett, Deborah Mashibini,Remi Raji,Darryl Lorenzo Wellington,Gladys Justin Carr,Corinne Gilliard,Bernice Mbadugha,Eugene B. Redmond,Javon Chanel Wideman,Michael Castro,Taliah Graves,Jessica McCorvey,Glennis Redmond,Tyrone Williams,Marie A. Celestin,Rosalind Guy,Paul McGehee,Brittany Rhodie,Julia Wright, Melanie Chambliss,Bailey J.Harrell,Joe McNair,Brittany Robich,Richard Wright,L. Teresa Church,LitaHooper,Tony Medina,Bridgette Bianca Robinson,Al Young,Robert Cooperman, VeraIdam, D. H. Melhem,Lia Nicole Rohlehr._______________________________________________________________________________To order Drumvoices Revue Vol. 16, please complete the form below and returnit along with a check/money order for $10.00 (plus $2.00 shipping andhandling) to: Drumvoices Revue, Dept. of English, Box 1431, Southern IllinoisUniversity, Edwardsville, IL 62026-1431.Phone: (618) 650-3991; Fax (618) 650-3509

Email: of Copies__________ AmountEnclosed__________Drumvoices Revue is published in collaboration with the Eugene B. RedmondWriters Club: P.O. Box 6165, East Saint Louis, IL 62202, (618) 650-3991
BrerBert quoted in The Washington Post on Easter Sunday. Oh, Lord...
He's Preaching to A Choir I've Left

Friday, March 21, 2008

New website design coming soon at:

Ginger G sent me this important information:
The African American/African Diaspora Studies Area Group of the English Department and the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) announce “Digital Diasporas: Digital Humanities and African American/African Diaspora Studies Conference” to take place at the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland from April 30 to May 3, 2008.The program will begin on April 30th with a 3 day, hands-on workshop, sponsored by the TEI Consortium and funded by the NEH, which will provide a practical introduction to text encoding. On May 2nd, we will offer a second workshop that will focus on navigating online resources in African American and African Diaspora Studies, and a third workshop on using Second Life in teaching and research. The workshops will be followed by a panel showcasing work by scholars in the field of African American/African Diaspora Studies that address and/or make use of digital technologies and new media. The keynote address by Abdul Alkalimat (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) will be followed by a reception and the presentation of a multi-media art installation/performance by the artist, Pamela Z. The last day will be taken up by panels and seminars; an informational box lunch with leading funders; a digital "poster" session, where presenters will use laptops to introduce projects by students, faculty and independent scholars; a book fair; and a closing multi-media performance and book/cd signing by DJ Spooky. Confirmed participants include Abdul Alkalimat, Bryan Carter, Merle Collins, Howard Dodson, Anna Everett, Jerome Handler, Kara Keeling, Paul D. Miller (AKA DJ Spooky), Angel David Nieves, Alexander Weheliye, and Pamela Z.
Oh, this is so funny:
Politico is reporting on a recently uncovered photo of Bill Clinton and RevJeremiah Wright:
Good Morning, Good Friday:

Bill Richardson deciding to support Obama is a huge endorsement coming at the right time. During this primary lull it's important to keep positive news coming out of the campaign trail. Richardson has to be considered a key win for Obama. The guy was very close to the Clintons. It might help Obama's image within the Latino community too. Richardson along with Bill Bradley are my two candidates for VP if Obama wins the nomination. Richardson during his run for the Democratic nomination for president was always the person with the most experience. Sorry Hillary, but you know it's true.

I thought John Edwards was going to say more on the Jay Leno Show last night - but he didn't. I have no idea what the guy is waiting for. I'm still happy that he continues to talk about poverty whenever in the public view. Edwards was my first pick for the presidency. I see this guy staying out of government and doing an Al Gore. It's possible to get more accomplished outside of the Oval Office. Maybe Edwards will focus on poverty the way Gore has helped improve our understanding of the environment. To be continued...

Good to see all the poets out yesterday for SPLIT THIS ROCK. More rock splitting today:

Thursday, March 20, 2008

W.W. Norton & Co announces the release of the much anticipated:

Language for a New Century:
Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia, & Beyond,

Edited by Tina Chang, Nathalie Handal and Ravi Shankar
Foreword by Carolyn Forché.

Come celebrate with us on Friday, April 25th, 2008, 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm
at The Rubin Museum, New York City

Rubin Museum of Art · 150 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011 · 212.620.5000
Sometimes even the Lord will whisper in your ear and tell you it's time to miss church.
What is this?
And people had problems with Wright? Geez, who are the people sitting in the background?
Now you know why I often just follow myself. Amen, Brer Bert. Amen.
Today I read Thomas Sowell's essay in The Washington Times and quickly realized that some people get paid for writing nonsense. Some newspapers would do better having an open mic.
Please read "The Obama oblations"and then look for your cat. Sowell's sewage can be found on page A17. I wonder what kind of music this guy listens to? Far from the plantation and I still keep hearing coon tunes. Thomas Sowell continues to write a sweet melon. It just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Split the Rock Today:
Hey - whatever happened to that old political issue - family values? Remember that one? The old hug your family first- then the flag? I'm curious why it's not a factor in this election. But what if we were to push it about now? It would seem Obama would win and it wouldn't even be close. Ask yourself which candidate looks like the best parent or spouse? Which family looks like the best "first" family? Who has the better moral values?
Of course you won't hear this being discussed because the media has dropped it. Unemployment and a bad economy can upset even the best households. A war can place a love one in harms way. Sex scandals sells these days but too many of them have been Republicans. So the Moral majority is in the minority and the issue is no longer an issue. The person who calls the shots often has the gun.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

All these years I thought I was a GREEN Mountain Boy:

I will be judging the Liam Rector Poetry Prize this year. I'm looking forward to reading the submissions. But one day after Obama's speech I received the following email:

hi, this email alone disqualifies me from the liam rector first book contest, i'm sure, but i wanted to know if you had a bias toward poetry that seeks to reflect black american experience?--would be more likely to select such a collect to help turn the volume up on minority voices. in other words, if say i wrote poetry that identified me as a white mid-30s new englander, would my undesirable identity profile disqualify me? i don't write about hip hop or theurban experience, i don't voice an oppressed minority etc. would you/ do you have a political agenda? on the other hand, i know you taught at bennington, and i happen to live in bennington. but so does jamaica kincaid...being poor as i am, i hate to throw away money/ entry fee, thus my ugly cynicism.

So what would Obama do? Do you think David Lehman, Billy Collins or Robert Pinsky would get a note like this? What about all those African American writers who try to win contests with white judges? Would it be better for black writers to use the entry fee money to purchase ribs, chicken and beer?

The Humanities Council of Washington DC is delighted to announce a special request for proposals for projects focused on community heritage, history, and preservation projects in the District of Columbia. Projects may focus on a range of ideas and issues from communities across the district, and may include a wide variety of formats, from a historical resource center for your neighborhood, to an oral history project for your community.

We are seeking projects from all across the district, in all eight wards and all four quadrants, and are looking forward to exciting proposals from groups doing the important work of preserving D.C.’s rich heritage.





APRIL 9, 2008 @ 12PM TO 1:30PM
APRIL 17, 2008 @ 6:30PM TO 8PM

For More information please log on to our website and click on the Community Grant Cycle Request for Proposals thumbnail. Space is Limited so reserve your place. To RSVP, please call Steven Muhammad at 202.387.8391 ext. 13 or e-mail at

“This project has been funded in part by a U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service Historic Preservation Fund grant administered by the District of Columbia’s Historic Preservation Office.”

The Humanities Council of Washington, D.C. is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). HCWDC is a private, nonprofit organization that funds and conducts humanities-based cultural and educational programs for Washingtonians in every ward. It is not a Federal or a District agency.

Steven Muhammad II
Director of Grants and Special Projects
Humanities Council of Washington, DC
Phone: 202.387.8391 (Ext. 13)
Fax: 202.387.8149

Visit us on the web:
Writing Workshop- Summer 2008 in Canada:
Family Note:
My daughter just told me about this cool link:

Hey dad, have you seen this website: posts links to all the political coverage from around the country.
There is no present or future, only the past happening over and over again.
- Eugene O'Neill
This ain't the St. Mary's Projects in the South Bronx:

There is no such thing as a do-over. Do-overs are what you get when the end results don't matter. Do-overs are what children do on a playground. Adults accept their mistakes, learn from them and move on.

- Carrie Giddens, The New York Times, March 19, 2008
Former communications director for the Iowa Democratic Party
Quote of the Day:

The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.

- Arthur C. Clarke
NO Lip sync?
So McCain misstates which extremists are aided by Iran. What if he made the same mistake after the bombs dropped? What day is it? Day 2? Is this guy ready? Lieberman whispering in his ear is a good reason to have a McCain/Liberman ticket in the Fall. Oh, don't tell Hillary what McCain said.
Arthur C. Clarke's last 3 wishes:

1. That someone find evidence of extraterrestrial life.
2. That the world adopt clean energy sources.
3. An end be found to the long civil war in Sri Lanka.
Sad News:

Arthur C. Clarke dead at 90.
The prolific sci-fi writer. His book PROFILES OF THE FUTURE knocked me in the head back in the 1960s. Whew...this guy was amazing.

Busboys and Poets. 2 Thumbs UP!
Two quotes from Pat Schroeder (former Colorado congresswoman & Clinton supporter):

I think he tried very hard to bring everybody to where we need to bring them. I just hope people heard it.

The African American community knows a lot more about the white community than the white community knows about the African American community. The majority culture doesn't have to know much about the minority culture because they are the majority culture.

- The Washington Post, March 19, 2008

Treve de blues
- Leon Damas

Compassion is my art
- Grace A. Ali

God makes stars. It's up to producers to find them
- Samuel Goldwyn

Welcome to the E-MAG, an invitation into the words of others. Today my guest is Sharon Olinka.

OLINKA:Reflections on Obama’s March 18th speech in Philadelphia

The day Martin Luther King, Jr. died, my high school suspended classes. It was the High School of Music & Art, located in Harlem. A demonstration was announced for later that afternoon, in Central Park. A few of us, all white girls, decided to walk through the park to this gathering. On my way there, a group of black girls our own age confronted us.

The anger and pain was vivid; palpable. One of them hit me and knocked me down. “White trash!” she yelled. Over and over again. My friends were also being beat up. I searched later in the grass for my precious drawing pen, my glasses, and my notebook of poems. My house keys.

Bruised and bleeding, I went back to my neighborhood in the Bronx, which was mainly black and Puerto Rican, and where no one had ever hit me. I had a choice that day. I could have hated black people. I could have trashed my ideals. But Barack Obama’s speech this morning made me remember why those choices were not options.

Inherent in Obama’s speech was a plea to stop making those of a different race or culture an “Other,” to be misunderstood or feared. Fear of the other in society has caused countless wars, and created poverty and illness. Whether the other is an immigrant, or a longstanding neighbor who has a different religion, or perhaps sexual orientation, the other dwells in our own hearts and the damage done is difficult to eradicate. Every country has this problem and to address this ugly issue, as Obama did with such understanding and sadness, requires a great deal of courage. All of us can be an other to someone else, to be hated and feared. When Obama spoke of race, confronting the rage, pain, and residue of loss from slavery in American history, he spoke as a realist as well as an idealist. And also from his heart.

There’s a Sufi prayer that goes “Save me, my Lord, from falling into the hands/ of the playful children of earth, / lest they might use me in their games; / they might play with me and then break me in the end, / as children destroy their toys.” Political manipulations distort and hurt all of us, whether from distant corporations or the fear of our own neighbors. But true change comes from the heart. And I think Obama knows that.

Bio Note:
Sharon Olinka is a poet whose latest book is The Good City, from Marsh Hawk Press, and is also the author of A Face Not My Own, from West End Press.