Sunday, January 31, 2010

WIL HAYGOOD will be at Busboys and Poets (14th and V Streets, NW) tomorrow at 6pm. He will be talking about his book SWEET THUNDER.
Don't miss. Look for Ethelbert to be in the ring. Pass the Sugar...
Breaking News Alert
The New York Times
Sun, January 31, 2010 -- 6:18 PM ET

White House Says Flights Carrying Injured Haitians to U.S. Will Resume

The White House said Sunday it will resume a U.S. military
airlift of Haitians seriously injured in the earthquake --
some with devastating burns, head and spinal chord trauma,
amputations and other wounds -- to American hospitals. The
humanitarian effort was suspended five days ago following
complaints from the state of Florida that its hospitals were

I started borrowing movies from the DC Public Library and watching them on my laptop. Last night I watched IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH. This is a film with exceptional acting by Susan Sarandon. It's movie that traces the real impact of the war on our young people. Wars follow soldiers home and too many people can never return home. It's sad when living becomes a casualty too. Tommy Lee Jones face will break your heart. No parent can watch this film without crying. It's also a film that explores racism and sexism too. Some of the minor characters carrying their slingshots well.

Watch video here
Hide video
00:32 - 13 days ago
日本鈴木一朗(Ichiro Suzuki), 在美國大聯盟MLB的精采守備~ Spiderman!

04:09 - 10 months ago
music by white zombie, Jim Brown the Best RB ever.


WILLIE MAYS: The Life, The Legend by James S. Hirsch.

Published this February by Scribner.
In the old E-Notes you will find me monitoring the Atlanta Hawks. This is the team to watch this season. Oh, and didn't I tell you the Wizards would fail to draft Stephen Curry and the kid would be an All-Star. Check his season stats. Rookie of the Year? Gee-Wiz...get the guns out of your back.

Jim Zorn the former head coach of the Washington Redskins was hired by the Baltimore Ravens to be their quarterback coach.
That's good news. I would have kept the guy in Washington. Let's see what happens to the Raven's offense next season.
Well it's good to see the U.N. introducing a coupon system to distribute rice to Haitians. Who's the genius? There will be 16 locations around Port-au-Prince. The goal is to give rice to 10,000 Haitians a day. In some places only women will be allowed to collect the rice. That's a good idea too. No reason why the muscular should get more.

No matter what you write these days, someone is going to disagree with you. What I find interesting is the anger in many of the responses. People seem to lack tolerance and grace. People either have no understanding of history, or can't escape the footnotes. Race and religion provides too much space for fools to rush in. I see why a few people escape to the woods and unplug themselves.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Today I worked on the talk I have to give at William and Mary next week. The topic will be on how I became a literary activist. I will also talk about the letters Reetika Vazirani wrote to me that I donated to W&M. While in my library I found a copy of the remarks I made when I introduced Reetika at Bennington in June 2003. This was a few weeks before her death...

I say the name Reetika Vazirani and discover a mint leaf on my tongue.
I say the name Reetika and the doors to a world hotel opens.

India has given many gifts to the world. It has a very old literary tradition. One could walk back into centuries and find thousands of footsteps extending beyond one's path.

But when we turn around and ask about India's children and the future. We turn our face to the poetry of Reetika Vazirani. Her work explores two words, not one. She writes about family as well as country. She writes with humor and a seriousness that comes from constantly being on the move. Twenty-two times in eighteen years she has moved.

The result has been two outstanding collections of poetry. WHITE ELEPHANTS published in 1996 by Beacon Press and WORLD HOTEL published last year by Copper Canyon.

Reetika skills as a writer were recognized many years ago by Derek Walcott and Marilyn Hacker.

On May 8th of this year I was fortunate to attend a reading featuring Reetika and Marilyn Hacker at Chapter's Bookstore in Washington, D.C. It was Hacker who wrote the introduction to WHITE ELEPHANTS and described Reetika's work as being about "the intersection of cultures" - about work that "engages our multicultural existence."

Yet it would be the wrong UN approach to simply think of Reetika Vazirani as a daughter of the east or a diversity poet in search of an affirmative action prize.

In WORLD HOTEL she quotes the great jazz musician Charlie Parker who once said:
"If you don't live, it won't come out of your horn."

The challenge we face is how to live. The poet finds this task to be difficult at times. Listen to the blues when Reetika writes " It's Me, I'm Not Home."

This one line (which describes a section of her last book) finds a poet in conversation with herself. There is a Bessie Smith loneliness here echoed in a poem like "Lullaby" where Reetika writes:

I would not sing you to sleep
I would press my lips to your ear
and hope the terror in my heart stirs you

In the beginning of this year Poets & Writers magazine profiled Reetika. I'm on record as saying I like Kevin Young but I find Reetika more attractive and why she was not selected to be on the cover is why I don't watch American Idol. I prefer Reetika to Rubin.

It seems so long ago but it was 1986 once. March 5, 1986 to be exact. That was the first time I introduced Reetika. It was on the campus of Howard University. Now it is 2003 and my life river like the road bends and here at Bennington - I whisper the name Reetika Vazirani and it once again leaves a taste like mint in my mouth - and my heart call this love and everything else is poetry.

It's an honor to introduce my friend Reetika Vazirani.

- E. Ethelbert Miller, Bennington College, June 13, 2003


This video shows the winner of 2009's " Ukraine 's Got Talent", Kseniya Simonova, 24, drawing a series of pictures on an illuminated sand table showing how ordinary people were affected by the German invasion during World War II. Her talent, which admittedly is a strange one, is mesmeric to watch.

Click here to watch this brilliant preformance The images, projected onto a large screen, moved many in the audience to tears and she won the top prize of about $75,000.


This is video weird. Who is this guy talking to? This looks like the "The Hair Witch Hunt" except the camera fails to move as much.
What kind of pressure is West going to keep on Obama? The guy is just an audience of one. Is he going to now and then make tapes like Bin Laden? Will we have another release in 2011.
For a minute I thought I was looking at the Matrix 2012. I want to learn how to dodge rhetoric. Trinity - help me! <>

Trans Africa Forum. Justice for the African World.
January 30, 2010

TransAfrica Forum E-News

Organizations Unite to Tell Treasury Secretary Geithner: Cancel Haiti's Debt Now and No More Debt for Disaster January 26, 2010--Today 80 US religious denominations, human rights groups, and development agencies including the Jubilee USA Network, the AFL-CIO, the ONE Campaign and TransAfrica Forum, sent a letter to US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, urging him to negotiate immediate debt cancellation for Haiti by the international financial institutions. More...

Pundits are not Policy Makers on Haiti, by Nicole C. Lee, Esq., National Newspaper Publishers Association Column January 22, 2010
24 hours day since Tuesday, January 12th we have watch tens of thousands of Haitians in a slow death after having their homes, schools and workplaces fall on top of them. Many more will die of thirst, hunger and disease as they wait for relief operations. But the real horror of the Haitian tragedy will come if we allow US and world response policy to be crafted by the ignorant and misinformed who have microphones and access to the editorial pages of major newspapers. More...

Congresswoman Maxine Waters Returns from Haiti, Press Release, January 29, 2010 Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) has returned to the United States after wrapping up a three-day mission in and around Port-au-Prince, Haiti. More... Photo: TransAfrica Forum

The U.S. Should Welcome Haitians In, Editorial, The Washington Post, January 29, 2010 THE UNITED STATES has reacted swiftly and generously to Haiti's calamity, both with a colossal charitable response from individuals, enterprises and organizations and with a substantial commitment of troops, money, medical help and high-level attention from the government. But the Obama administration can and should do more, and quickly, to ease the vast burden of relief and rebuilding and to channel cash to Haitian families in dire need. More...

Brazilian peacekeepers and U.S. soldiers distribute food and water in Haiti's capital.  / Credit:UN Photo/Sophia ParisHAITI: Local Leaders Shut Out of Military-Run Relief Efforts, by Ansel Herz, Inter Press News Agency, January 28, 2010 Two gray 23-million-dollar hovercrafts sitting in the middle of a sandy tropical beach look like they are from another world. A pair of 15-foot-wide propeller fans sticks out from the back of each behemoth. Along the narrow dirt road to this seaside town's centre, families live under blankets stretched over sticks. A tent city occupies the town's main square, surrounded by crumbling buildings. Joseph Jean-Pierre Salam, the mayor of Grand Goave, about 15 kilometres west of Port-au-Prince, estimated that some 70 percent of the city's important structures fell during the 7.0 earthquake that struck Haiti on Jan. 12. More... Photo: Credit:UN Photo/Sophia Paris

Can Davos Help Haiti? by Lindsay Mackie, The Guardian, January 29, 2010 Davos: A discussion about harnessing global business to reconstruct Haiti struck some uncomfortable notes. More...

Haiti: Microcosm of the Crisis of Development, by Yash Tandon, Pambazuka News, January 28, 2010 The 'failure of development' is to blame for the devastating effects of the recent earthquake in Haiti, writes Yash Tandon. Calling for democratic institutions accountable to the country's people to be put in place, Tandon argues that Haiti is 'a microcosm of the disastrous outcome' of 'development' policies and the 'destructive effects of foreign interventionist policies' in the affairs of the South. More... Photo: cc Wikimedia Commons

Securing Disaster in Haiti, by Peter Hallward, Pambazuka News, January 28, 2010 A fortnight after the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti on 12 January 2010, the initial phase of the US-led relief operation has conformed to three fundamental tendencies that have shaped the more general course of the island's recent history, writes Peter Hallward - the adoption of military priorities and strategies, the sidelining Haiti's own leaders and government, and disregard for the needs of the majority of its people. These same mutually reinforcing tendencies will continue to govern the imminent reconstruction effort too, Hallward cautions, unless determined political action is taken to counteract them. More... Photo: cc LINKS

Haiti 2010: An Unwelcome Katrina Redux, by Cynthia McKinney, Pambazuka News, January 28, 2010 What is happening in Haiti is, Cynthia McKinney observes, 'shades of Hurricane Katrina all over again'. McKinney depicts, step by step, the US response to Haiti's crisis and lays bare its unashamedly military nature. McKinney explores the reasons for the US's militarised rescue operation. More... Photo: cc Wikimedia Commons

The Hate and the Quake, by Sir Hilary Beckles, The Barbados Advocate, January 27, 2010 The University of the West Indies is in the process of conceiving how best to deliver a major conference on the theme "Rethinking and Rebuilding Haiti". I am very keen to provide an input into this exercise because for too long there has been a popular perception that somehow the Haitian nation-building project, launched on January 1st 1804, has failed on account of mismanagement, ineptitude, corruption. More...

Africa: AU Wants Strong African Solidarity for Haiti, by Juliana Taiwo, This Day (Lagos) (posted on, January 27, 2010 Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Mr. Jean Ping, has called for strong African solidarity with the people of Haiti. More...

Africa Launches Campaign for Haiti, The Standard (posted on, January 24, 2010 A continent-wide campaign to support Haiti's reconstruction and development was launched in South Africa on Friday. The "Africa for Haiti" campaign in partnership with Haitian civil society organisations will identify areas in which it can assist. More...

Zimbabwe: MDC Notifies SADC of Deadlock in GPA Talks, by Tichaona Sibanda, SW Radio Africa (London) (posted on, January 29, 2010

COLOMBIA: Who Cares About the Victims of Forced Displacement? by Helda Martínez, Inter Press News Agency, January 29, 2010 "Why is the government, which is so generous towards the richest sectors of the economy, so stingy towards the displaced?" asked activist Marco Romero at the presentation of a new report on the dire situation faced by the millions of Colombians who have been forced out of their rural homes by the country's nearly half-century old armed conflict. More...

Uganda: Continent's Govts Watch Anti-Gay Bill Debate, Guest Column, by Msia Kibona Clark,, January 29, 2010 More...

TransAfrica Forum Blog: Please share information on TransAfrica Forum's blog about situation in Haiti! Bookmark and tell your friends. Also click here for more information on the earthquake and its aftermath in Haiti.


February 14, 2010--Readers' Corner

War, Racism and Economic Injustice: The Global Ravages of Capitalism

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Ethelbert --

Yesterday, the President stood in front of a gathering of House Republicans and took questions for more than an hour, urging them to put aside partisanship and work together for the good of the country. MSNBC described it as going straight into "the lion's den."

He was inspiring.

We've highlighted some of the key moments and trust me, it's worth checking out.

Watch the video

I drink tea and forget the world's noises.

- Chinese proverb

Quote of the Day:

What's amazing to me is that I see Black people in every part of America, but I don't see that many contributing to the building of the landscape; being part of the designing. The {architectural} environment is an image of the society. I'm all for many more kinds of Black architects getting involved in designing a building. It has to be more than functional. It has to lift up and inspire people.

- David Adjaye, architect.

EBONY EYES: Maybe I was blind but now do I see?

One has to be happy for Gabourey Sidibe being on the cover of the March issue of Ebony. Would Essence have done this 20 years ago? Of course not, and maybe this is why we are still not in a post-racial society. We still have images to work on and homework to do. But let's be Race honest. There are going to be many members of the African American middle-class (of a different hue) who are going to be offended by seeing Lady Sidibe claiming front-row space. Of course everyone finds success attractive and maybe we've created Gabourey (Gabby) to be our own Lady Gaga.

Now, since DuBois is no longer with us - let's talk to our double consciousness - alone for a moment. How do we celebrate our Ebony cover star while addressing the issue of obesity in our community? What are our standards of beauty versus our health standards? Michelle Obama meet Gabourey Sidibe. This is more than precious - it's serious.

There is only one question I have - and that is to the Academy of Black Folks, how should I vote?

It's 2010, why are we throwing food at people like it's the Middle Ages? Throwing food from trunks into crowds is just dumb. How can anyone call this a relief effort? Having a reporter describe people as animals during a broadcast simply perpetuates racial stereotypes. Are we distributing medical supplies the same way?

Once again it comes down to the role of government. The UN at times can be a joke. Are we talking Rwanda here? It's obvious that the Haitian government has to get it's feet back on the ground - and it looks like we are at the crawl before we walk stage. Progressives might place the veil of history over my face, but it seems the US military should take charge here. Who best to coordinate all the relief efforts?

Since Haiti is a failed state, one can easily predict that much of the food and goodies going into the country is going to create a serious black market in the very near future.

We've also reduced a country down to a city - Port-au- Prince. This is what we do in war zones.
Think Kabul or Baghdad here. The focus is just on one place and so the measurement of success is really nothing but a pictorial lie. Can you imagine if the success of life in the US was measured by conditions in Cleveland or Detroit?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Listening to Ray Charles...singing "Crazy Love." Yes, Genius loves company. I'm feeling mellow down to my soul.
It is very wrong for people to feel deeply sad when they lose some money, yet when they waste the precious moments of their lives, they do not have the slightest feeling of repentance.

The Dalai Lama

Quote of the Day:

I'm like Tinker Bell. You know how, with Tinker Bell, if you don't applaud her, her light goes out?
Speak for me! Do you want me to die?

Lady Gaga
The latest issue (Volume Eight/2009) just arrived. Whew. Robert Nazarene is producing THE American Journal of Poetry.
432 pages. This journal should come with CDs, DVDs and maybe some 3-D glasses. It's a monster. Many of the writers included are going to the hall of fame. Good thing the poets are presented in alphabetical order. This is strong RX Medicine.

Obama, House Republicans Debate Their Divisions
The president and House Republicans meet in Baltimore, discussing their different approaches to several issues.

Howard Zinn: A Public Intellectual Who Mattered
Henry A. Giroux, Truthout: "In 1977 I took my first job in higher education at Boston University. One reason I went there was because Howard Zinn was teaching there at the time. As a high school teacher, Howard's book, 'Vietnam: the Logic of Withdrawal,' published in 1968, had a profound effect on me."
Read the Article
Spring 2009 New York City Workshop
Tuesdays 6-9 pm, March 2 - April 27
Cave Canem, Brooklyn, NY

Writing across Cultures:
A Workshop for African American & Asian American Poets

led by Kimiko Hahn

This 8-session workshop is for experienced writers interested in exploring classic forms of poetry from the Eastern hemisphere, from the haiku to the zuihtsu. For more details and application guidelines, follow the link below.

Spring 2009 NYC Workshop: Writing across Cultures with Kimiko Hahn

I will be back in DC this afternoon.My trip to Chicago went well. It was nice meeting the students at Elgin Community College.I've been doing the E-Notes from my BlackBerry. Will comment on a number of issues that have been in the news.

The media has the Obama Administration on its heels. Changing too many positions is going to make him look weak.
Right now the Republicans are looking for ropes.Secretary of State Clinton saying she is not interested in serving in her present job for eight years might be a clue that folks are fighting to win Obama's mind.The Dem Party is looking dumb.They are losing the PR image.It's just a matter of time before one concludes that the Dems are also in charge of Haiti right now. Imagine Americans rioting for health care instead of food.Images of black people unable to "govern" will be linked together in the media. Notice the subtle way stories are being linked. Chaos in the White House and chaos in Haiti.It's a very slick way to influence how people think and see things.I'm waiting for one of the Birthers to discover a copy of Obama's birth certificate written in Creole.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

So Warren Beatty slept with an estimated 12,775 women. Does this guy still have a penis? Peter Biskind's biography is out-STAR:HOW WARREN BEATTY SEDUCED AMERICA. This book is an unauthorized biogaphy.Who could tell? What's the real STD?
The first tournament Woods plays in will attract a huge TV audience. There is money to be made. One would expect that tournament to be held outside the US.It might be wise for Tiger to write a memoir first before doing any television interviews. Create a new narrative and simply refer folks to a book.Ask your own questions and give your own answers.Tell your own Tiger tale.
My daughter sent me a text last night informing me that Howard Zinn had died.

How very sad.Now we are only left with History.

Zinn will be deeply missed.
And the stars were as far off
As love -
Everywhere visible but nowhere alive.

- Kim Jensen
Theater on the Hill.
All you have to do is look at Obama's hair and you know the guy has been trying to find answers to America's problems.Could our nation survive an aging Palin? One reason Obama might keep his job is because he is looking wiser.I watched CNN after The State of The Union speech.

How many ways can you discuss and examine one speech? How many graphics,pie charts and pundits do we need? Where were the movie and theater critics?

What I find very silly is how the Republicans sit across from the Dems and refuse to clap or cheer the president at different points in his speech.One can't ignore the fact that the group is mostly white men.These are guys who can't move beyond the birth of our nation. Maybe this is why they call themselves conservatives. But what are they trying to conserve? Whiteness in a world of color?

It must be difficult listening to a person of color in a leading role. Who knew we could talk? Remember how everyday in America was an Ellison Day? Call me Invisible. No, call me Mr. Invisible. The times are changing. The state of our union is different.People are beginning to SEE Obama. He is not a quitter.This is just the beginning of his second year.
Act 2. No more Obama Drama. No more comedy of errors.

I hope 2010 is when Obama unlocks the door to our nation's future - we solve our old problems and we learn how to dance with the new.

I hear America Singing-it's a worksong of struggle.Today I feel like John Henry.Split that Rock- and let the honey flow.

People are on the move with Obama-don't turn back the clock. Keep time and make time. It's time for change.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What is the state of your union?
Look for Obama to talk jobs and getting the middle class back to work. Look for more T-Talk too. Terrorism loves an open wallet.Let's hope Obama can coin a term that will be treats for the media. Oh,and might some Tea Party type boo the president in prime time? We love drama-so nothing should come as a surprise. Folks who never liked Obama will sink the ship and save the oar.
I will be reading tomorrow night at Elgin Community College in Elgin,Illinois.Next week I will be at William and Mary in Virginia.
News Alert
11:00 PM EST Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Obama to promote more education spending in State of Union speech

President Obama will propose a major increase in funding for elementary and
secondary education for the coming year in Wednesday’s State of the Union
address, one of the few areas to grow in an otherwise austere federal budget,
officials said Tuesday night.

There is no weapon more powerful in achieving the truth than acceptance of oneself.
- Swami Prajnanpad
Digging around in my files and notebooks, I discovered a line I was going to use for the opening of THE 5TH INNING. It was from a note sent to me from my friend Gail in Utah:

I read the obituaries everyday and wonder what people will say about me.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I remember the Bob Dylan line about, " you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." It's how I've been feeling lately as I see vocal conservatives gathering with no people of color in sight. Might it be possible a young Walter White is passing somewhere? Let's hope so.

We seem to be a few months away from "undershirt fascism." Somewhere a Census worker is being kidnapped and another is running for their life. Nobody wants to be counted half the time and everyone wants to be counted twice. Go figure. In a world suddenly without borders everyone is anti-immigrant. Only McDonalds seems to bring us together. I love people who still believe in happy meals. Eat your buns and watch your ass.
Beyond connecting with ourselves, there is the connecting with that which is larger and more pulsating.

- E. Ethelbert Miller


Have you noticed since the release of Avatar some of us are beginning to turn blue?

Gone is our ash...


I picked up The New York Times this morning and read about my old high school in the Bronx closing. I graduated from Christopher Columbus High School in 1968. That year the school was still one of the best high schools in the city of New York. Almost everyone went to college. Columbus consisted mostly of kids from Jewish and Italian families. I think I was enrolled in the school around 1965 (or 66) because Little Rock was too far away. 42 years later I discover from reading the newspaper that Columbus has a long history of sustained academic failure and chronically poor performance. When did things start to decline? Why? Last year only 40 percent of its students graduated. Only 6 percent of the entering eighth graders were reading at grade level. Special education students rose a quarter. 18 percent of the students are not fluent in English. By New York City measurements, Columbus had the eighth-lowest ranking among 380 high schools in 2008-9. Ms. Lisa Fuentes is the principal of Columbus. At the end of the article she responds to her school's evaluation - "We'll be O.K.; it's just very upsetting. I'm proud of my staff, even with my D. We worked very hard for that D."


Body Armor

Everybody is looking for work
Nobody has money
Somebody always gets paid

Touching a body
comes with a price

- E. Ethelbert Miller
(No one bats 1000, friend
no one
bats 500)

- Franz Wright

Monday, January 25, 2010

HAITI UNPLUGGED: What will happen when the media grows hungry again for something new?
My old friend W.G.Allen just dropped off a copy of DEEP ROOTED SOUL SISTA POEMS by Dehejia Maat. This is a sweet looking book. Allen did the work so you know it's out of this world.
Just visit his site:
Dehejia is a poet yogi painter.
If poets had wings what would they write? What do Mermaids do when they step out of the sea? Dehejia Maat's book is for the deep rooted. We know who we are. Dehejia writes like she has some SUN RA DNA. I like the spiritual touch, tone and sound of what she is doing. Let her poems put stars in you.
- E. Ethelbert Miller


Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness, March 10-13, 2010, invites poets, writers, artists, activists, dreamers, and all concerned world citizens to Washington, DC, for poetry, community building, and creative transformation as our country continues to grapple with two wars, a crippling economic crisis, and other social and environmental ills. The festival will feature readings, workshops, panel discussions, youth programming, film, activism -- opportunities to make common cause, imagine a way forward, hone our activist skills, and celebrate the many ways that poetry can act as an agent for social change. Featuring 24 visionary voices: Chris Abani, Lillian Allen, Sinan Antoon, Francisco Aragón, Jan Beatty, Martha Collins, Cornelius Eady, Martín Espada, Andrea Gibson, Allison Hedge Coke, Natalie Illum, Fady Joudah, Toni Asante Lightfoot, Richard McCann, Jeffrey McDaniel, Lenelle Moïse, Nancy Morejón, Mark Nowak, Wang Ping, Patricia Smith, A.B. Spellman, Arthur Sze, Quincy Troupe, and Bruce Weigl.
presents Jeffrey Perry, speaking on his new biography of

Hubert Harrison was a brilliant and influential African American writer, orator and political activist who combined class and race consciousness into a coherent political radicalism in the early 1900's. His ideas profoundly influenced "New Negro" militants, including A. Philip Randolph and Marcus Garvey. He was also a member of the radical African Brotherhood, and had close associations with such others as Arturo Schomberg, Richard B. Moore, and W.E.B. Du Bois, key players in the Harlem of the 1920s.

Wed., Jan 27, 2010, at 6 PM
DC 37 Headquarters, 125 Barclay Street, New York City, Room 1.

for information email
POETS (in waiting):

The application deadline for the 2010 Cave Canem retreat is coming up on January 31, 2010.

When: June 20-27
Where: University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, Pennsylvania
Faculty: Toi Derricotte, Cornelius Eady, Colleen J. McElroy, Carl Phillips, Claudia Rankine and Ed Roberson

Guest Poet: Sapphire
Visiting Poet: Brenda Cárdenas,

Sponsored by Letras Latinas
Deadline to Apply: January 31, 2010.

Application Guidelines

It's getting close to Black History Month, and I've been thinking about my next NPR commentary. This morning I pulled a copy of THE NEGRO IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION by Benjamin Quarles off the shelf in my resource center. I find it interesting that we spend much of our time talking about slavery, the Civil Rights Movement, or black cultural achievements and give little "popular" attention to the black presence before America became America. Crispus Attucks gets as much play these days as a third round draft pick in the NBA. Oh, and Poor Salem Poor. At a time when we see people talking about patriotism and the Boston Tea Party - why are we not at the dance? When was the last time folks talked about the Battle of Rhode Island?

About a year ago, it was interesting to see a sea of black people (standing in the DC cold) waving the American flag before Obama spoke as president of the United States. During my lifetime I had never witnessed this outpouring of love from black people for our nation. Of course, no one sings our National Anthem better then the old soul singers. Now and then a true country western folk will push the blues note too - giving the song that bright flare of freedom. When we "feel" our history, we often feel the hurt and the joy. Yet, this is where the promise of possibility resides. Out of deep feeling (and love) comes the strength to pursue a more perfect union.

On the shoulders of black people is where you will find freedom being lifted to the sky. In the year 2010, we need to remember our John Henry Days. Lift that hammer - split that rock!
Howard University continues to sponsor a very good series of speakers at the Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel. One can access the names of the Sunday speakers for the upcoming months by going to the following website:
February 7th the speaker will be Dr. Michael Eric Dyson.
April 11th is Vernon Jordan, Jr.
April 25th is Dr. Cornel West
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS: Interesting Webcasts for YOU.

SPORTS: The Foolish Favre Aways Returns in the Big Games.

So there I was yesterday, watching the Saints and Vikings, just waiting for Favre to do something dumb. Yep- throwing an interception when the Vikes could have won with a field goal. Notice how after his awful throw the camera no longer showed his wife in the stands. Where did she go? Favre wants people to think the rough beard look and gunslinger personality is going to work all the time. Even McCain couldn't get far with the maverick joke. It's all media created. We want the narrative of the old guy being successful playing a young guy's game. This has much to do with the folks calling the games- who didn't want to retire when they did. Oh, and you know the networks have gone post-racial when the coach of the Colts is just a rookie coach heading to the Super bowl. Well - look for the networks to give us images of New Orleans without problems. People feeling good about their city and not complaining about unemployment. I'm even looking for FEMA to takeout Ads during the half-time show. FEMA plays WHO? Oh, and the Kennedys might have lost their seat in Massachusetts, but now the media is going to try and convince the American public that the Super bowl belongs to the Manning family. Why do we keep looking for some cheap type of American royalty? Maybe this is why the Republicans secretly push one party rule. Off With Our Heads!
Here is an old E-Note from earlier this month:

If the NFL is looking to make money - they have to be hoping for the Colts to play the Saints. The media loves to talk about Manning and they will try to suck us into believing that if the Saints win - New Orleans can finally forget about Katrina. You know that's nothing but spin. What's the black state of affairs in New Orleans - years after the levees broke? and cold, light and darkness, movement and repose...opposites do not bring confusion to the world; they bring harmony.

- Rabindranath Tagore

Sunday, January 24, 2010

WHO WRITES THE REPORTS WE DON'T SEE? Read below. This is serious for people on the Right as well as the Left. How do we avoid the terror trap?
I'm still alone with all the world's
beauty and cruelty.

-Franz Wright
BITCHES BREW:BIN LADEN runs the VooDoo Down.

Bin is back in the news. This guy must play Vegas. We keep getting tapes and recordings around the time of important events. It looks like the next major alert will be around the upcoming Superbowl. Any major terrorist attack on American soil is going to open some dark doors and place new restrictions on American freedom. One can see Dick Cheney running for president and the Tea Party folks wanting to put some people in bags. This is what fear and a concern for National Security will do. Detention camps? You betcha! The fact that we are holding folks in custody who will never have a trial or see freedom is proof of a template. A shift to the political Right will make the country less tolerate of any religion other than Christianity. If we have more home grown threats to our safety folks will stop trusting their neighbors. If Big Bin's fingerprints or name is linked to anything harming America - it's going to be ugly time everywhere. Duck and cover if you're a person of color. If your name is Mohammad then change it to Mo. If you're a woman - think blonde and believe you're Marilyn Monroe. A terrorist attack will push us back into the Cold War days. The Boston Wall instead of Berlin? Always the threat of a big bomb?Whisper Hiroshima to me - I smell mushrooms. Will we make it to 2012? It seems any day our Port au Prince will come. Haiti has the tremors. Bin Laden makes me quake.
It's comforting to know that going into her second year as First Lady, Michelle Obama has high poll ratings. But let's ask ourselves a serious question here. Why are we rating the First Lady in the first place? What if everyone was rated everyday or week by a poll? Wouldn't it be dumb after awhile? For example, Ethelbert received three rejection notes from publishers last week and did a terrible reading at a local college. He is dropping in the polls. There is no way he will ever be a writer-in-residence this year. Or, Ethelbert was seen having a drink with Phillis Wheatley at Busboys and Poets last Friday. Rumor has it that they are having an affair. Ethelbert was recently caught on camera leaving a library with one of her books. Another drop in the polls?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

June Jordan Small School for Equity | Collaboration Center

I didn't know this school named after June Jordan existed. Good to know.