Saturday, December 31, 2011

Breaking News Alert
The New York Times
Saturday, December 31, 2011 -- 8:16 PM EST

Romney and Paul in Virtual Dead Heat, Des Moines Register Poll Says

The Des Moines Register poll — the final one before the Iowa caucuses on Tuesday 
— has Mitt Romney and Ron Paul virtually tied in the lead going into the final 
72 hour of voting.

In the survey, Mr. Romney has 24 percent and Mr. Paul has 22 percent.

The new poll, which was released online by the newspaper at 7 p.m. local time, 
shows the candidates closely bunched up behind the two leaders.

Iowa primary - January 3rd
New Hampshire primary - January 10th
South Carolina primary - January 21st
Florida primary - January 31st
SUPER TUESDAY - March 6th ( 10 States)
Pennsylvania and NY primary - April 24th
California primary - June 5th  (172 delegates)

1. Jeb Bush drafted to be the Republican presidential candidate. Romney on ticket as VP.
2, The media starts talking about the American Elect third-party movement.
3. Hillary Clinton replaces Biden on the Democratic ticket.
4. San Francisco wins the SuperBowl.
5. Hawks cool the Heat in the playoffs.
6. New N.B.A. stars - Durant and Curry.
7. The Prince comes to the Washington Nationals.
8. A major earthquake hits the US
9. The governor is forced to "Walk" in Wisconsin.

10. Lady Gaga kicks off everything tonight.
The world is filled with poetry, we only need to discover it.

    - E. Ethelbert Miller
2011: The Play of the Year
Just watch:;_ylt=A0oG7k.BHv9OyDoAsOhXNyoA?p=Kemba%20Walker%20pittsburgh%20panthers&fr=ytff1-&fr2=piv-web 
Once again I enjoyed Robert Downey Jr in this role. Special effects and good acting. The film constructs itself around male friendship. Is there a need for jokes that "hint" as if Holmes and Watson might just be a Gay couple?  Not really - but this is how the media interprets and measures changing values in our society. No way this movie would be made back in the 1950s. So what does it tell us about ourselves?
Should we conclude that marriage is nothing but a game of shadows?
The Heat are already playing close games against teams that have losing records. No way they are going to win the N.B.A. championship this year. As I said last season - can you see Juwan Howard with a ring?
But let's look at what we are facing here in Washington. The Heat and the Wizards are in the same Southeast Division. One team is 4-0 the other is 0-3. Can the Wizards expect to win a Division title in Wade's lifetime? Of course not, and we might not be able to move ahead of the Hawks, Bobcats or Magic. Without 2 future hall of fame players the Wizards are a third world team without UN help. The basketball in DC has no air. Who put the bad spell on this team?

Friday, December 30, 2011


 Artwork by Alexandra Dominguez


                     Proceed to Download Zone

Dear Writers,
I want to bring you news about 3 creative writing classes I will be teaching starting mid-January, 2 with on the Net, and one independently, directly through me, as I have been teaching Finding the Real Story: The Essential Elements of Story in Fiction and Memoir, Part One, first in a series of 4 classes based on (but going way beyond) Story classes I have taught face to face for some years.

First, for this winter, my independent class on writing love. Yes, you heard right, start date January 12 or January 19, for this short and very focused workshop of 5 weeks, to be completed around Valentine’s Day! (though definitely not a saccharine sweet course.) $175 for the 5 classes, so contact me for more information and for registration. 
Here’s the description:
Beyond Formula: Writing Love Scenes that Support the Story with Spirit, Passion, Grit, and Character Truth

What we are really looking for and working toward in this class are writings about romantic love that are neither sentimental and formulaic, nor graphic in a way that doesn’t tell the story but serves some goal outside of the work. It is perhaps bold to do this course, which is not a course in writing erotica, nor one that looks to fulfill a formula for romance genre fiction. This is my corner of the world in writing about love, one that works to capture the ache of it, the beauty of it, the disintegration and yearning of it; that which makes it a part of life that is easy to obsess about, because of how utterly beyond belief it is when it comes fully into one’s life.

Love is difficult to write about in a world that so often connects sexuality to violence and exploitation; to the tragic and disturbing. This may come up in this workshop, and is welcome to, as it is so often part and parcel of what people have experienced. That starburst of magic will arrive to be written as well, that love that moves us into other realms of being. So much is expressed in how we love; so many stories told. Yet, often people have told me that they don’t know where or how to start writing such scenes or such stories, as they find their characters diving into love. I very often see the work of writers I deeply respect not achieve full expression of their stories and their characters in these scenes which may be crucial to the overall work. And, ultimately, these scenes must serve, beautifully or fiercely, that overall project.

So I am here to invite you (and me!) to take a chance and enter this part of the world of your story that you are already flirting with! No one needs to be taught about love, at least, certainly not by this creative writing teacher, but finding that road to the expression of love in writing, well, that’s what I propose to be of help with, and as ever to share evocative work — fiction, nonfiction, poetry, film — that helps open up the magic, depth and craft of writing. (Who knows what magic may find you as you write in this open field, make dense and real the expression of this ache of love, and sometimes its fulfillment, in your work?)

So, here’s to five weeks of writing about love, from crushes and unrequited love to consummated love, to long lost or long dead love; love that cheats, love that sacrifices, lusty love and restrained love, substitute love and love as substitution; the tragic, the unexpected; selfish love, compassionate love, expansive love, routine love and mystical love. …
Sexual orientation?

Interested? Please email me back at
Or, message me on Facebook at
And if you would like to share this information on Facebook, here is the event page, which you can post to your own page:
And more information on this page as to how my online classes work. 
I have been teaching Claiming Our Stories: Working with the Power of Autobiography and Autobiographical Fiction, Parts One and Two, with on the net, for 4 years, with students from all around the world, a very exciting thing. I will begin again January 12, 2012.

If you are looking for a place to push your work to the next level, do it online with me and a group of varied and dedicated writers, at -- this is the perfect time to rededicate yourself to bringing your writing forward, developing your craft, getting a fuller sense of your long term projects and writing goals, and building your writers’ community.
Claiming Our Stories: Working with the Power of Autobiography and Autobiographical Fiction, Parts One and Two are each 10-week courses for writers of both memoir/creative nonfiction and fiction.

For full descriptions and registration, please go to

For questions about content or the workings of the class, email me at

To share the class announcement on Facebook, here is the event page, also with the full description:

Please check out my courses at and find a story you might not have expected, or bring forward the ones you have been wanting to write.
Contact at

As well, I am accepting clients for one to one work, long distance and in person, on full-length projects in progress, short works, and craftwork and coaching to bring your writing forward, whether prose or poetry, fiction or nonfiction.  Contact me soon to schedule our work together.


How my online classes work:

Every Thursday I post a lesson (smashingly written and full of writing explorations and references to wonderful writing on the subject, from a great range of writers), and the participants start posting when they can, hopefully all by Tuesday so people have time to comment.

I make sure that each participant - while they are welcome to read everyone's work and comment -- is committed only to reading a few and commenting so they have ample time for their own work. 5 page maximum, and I comment every week. A tremendous amount can happen when those few pages of writing are looked at intensely by a few people. (I once lost a client because I gave her feedback on 3 pages of her novel and she said everything cleared up and she was ready to work the novel through herself - darn!)

We work on a very user-friendly site called Nicenet, where there is also room for discussion among the participants, but all happens not in real time, people posting on their own schedules, so it is convenient.

My classes seem to build an enormous camaraderie and sense of community and support, at the same time offering intelligent and challenging feedback.
SYRIA looks like it will be the first country to steal the headlines in 2012.
How many people there will live their last year tomorrow?
Sonia Sanchez becomes Philly's first poet laureate

Mayor Michael Nutter and the City of Philadelphia are embracing poetry as a powerful means of communication and artistic expression by creating a citywide position for poet laureate.
And West Philadelphia resident Sonia Sanchez will be the first artist named to the post……….more
The Clark Atlanta University 2012 and 2013 Du Bois event websites are now online:

CAU Du Bois 2012 Seminar Series Website:

CAU Du Bois 2013 Conference Website:


So what's the next word in the new narrative?  The word "occupy" will be a tad old by spring 2012. The media will be hungry for another slogan. This won't prevent students from maybe occupying a few college campuses or people attempting to rekindle the flame of activism. All this will mean nothing if people don't organize and vote on local levels. All the attention should not be given to the presidential election. The goal for Democrats should be to retake Congress and change the power base in the states. The one place where the word "occupy" should be used is when folks make reference to the media. Some newspapers, television and radio stations should perhaps be occupied if they continue to adhere to "low" standards of journalism. Let's get the news right. The media should also promote a new civility among Americans. I don't want folks yelling at someone who is running for office. I don't want any American to throw that first shoe. These types of actions simply document a serious decline in our values and what we now accept as the new normal. Oh, and let's stop pinning that stupid label on Obama as being the worse U.S. President "ever" in history. Who are we comparing him too?
More Than A Month - a film by Shukree Hassan Tilghman

Sunday, February 26th @ 1 PM (12:30 reception)

Washington DC Jewish Community Center
1529 16th Street, NW

Filmmaker Shukree Hassan Tilghman interviewed by E. Ethelbert Miller

For information call: 202-939-0794 or visit

The Year's Best Sports Images
The photographers behind some of 2011's most iconic sports images discuss how they were captured.
Our lives are already written for us. We just have to learn how to read.
      - E. Ethelbert Miller

Thursday, December 29, 2011

 December 29, 2011
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Dear Friend,

Recently we sent out a list of 25 of our favorite poetry books of 2011. 18 were by people of color; 15 by women. All engage the world in visionary and creative ways.

Compare Split This Rock's list to some by The Other Guys. We were thinking of linking to some of those Guys's lists. But rather than point fingers, we'd prefer to promote the poets we love, the poets who are telling the true story of what it is to be alive today in the United States, in all its variety and beauty and madness and disaster. 

If you value this work of amplifying the voices of poets of conscience, p
lease consider a year-end gift to Split This Rock.

Here are four easy ways to give:
  • Give online - Click here to give securely using your credit card.
  • Give by mail - Send a check or money order made out to Split This Rock to 1112 16th Street, NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036.
  • Register for Split This Rock Poetry Festival - Add a donation when you register for the festival at, helping others who might not otherwise be able to attend.
Your tax-deductible gift to Split This Rock supports essential voices and movements for change. 

In the words of June Jordan, whose life and work we will honor at the festival in March, We are the ones we have been waiting for. Please join with us today.

With gratitude and hopes for peace in 2012,

Split This Rock Team

Split This Rock Poetry Festival:
Poems of Provocation & Witness
March 22-25, 2012 
Washington, DC

Readings, workshops, panels, activism. Make common cause, imagine a way forward, celebrate poetry in the public sphere. Featuring Homero Aridjis, Sherwin Bitsui, Kathy Engel, Carlos Andrés Gómez, Douglas Kearney, Khaled Mattawa, Rachel McKibbens, Marilyn Nelson, Naomi Shihab Nye, Jose Padua, Minnie Bruce Pratt, Kim Roberts, Sonia Sanchez, Venus Thrash, Alice Walker, and honoring the life and legacy of poet-essayist-activist-teacher June Jordan. Register today!

Split This Rock
The return of the Racialist.

So I get this little booklet from THE WEEK magazine. It's cute. "The Week presents The 100 Best Books to read on a desert island."  They ask 18 "well known" people to each offer a few suggestions. They didn't ask any African Americans and the good people only permitted one book by a Black person on the island. Is this a case of survivor?  Neal Pollack selected ALL SHOT UP by Chester Himes. Here is what he writes about the book:

I will always love this badly plotted tale of a Harlem heist for two reasons. First, the opening,scene, where a guy witnesses an old lady getting run over by a decked-out Cadillac Second, Himes' description of a dish called "chicken feetsy": "the white, tender gristle of the chicken feet gave a solid packing to the guts."

No, I'm not making this stuff up. It's almost 2012 - expect more of the same. Maybe Juneteenth will arrive soon. Or maybe my guy Friday will show up with a book written by Octavia Butler.


What if this was a revolution about nothing-
the Seinfeld episode where Jerry wants desperately to see
a woman's breasts but he can't remember her name.

Who was the woman in Egypt wearing the blue bra?
We might not know her name but we can imagine her
somewhere undressing or being forced to undress.

There are boot prints on her belly
where the soldiers kicked her.
Is this the scar of Cairo?

Somewhere a woman unfastens a blue bra
freeing her breasts. They are beautiful but
how many Egyptians will never see them?

  - E. Ethelbert Miller

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black and white Video: Interracial Love Doc ‘The Loving Story’ to Debut on HBO in February
*Monumental film, “The Loving Story,” based on the civil rights struggle that overturned the interracial marriage ban, will make its television debut on HBO during Black History Month in 2012 appropriately on Valentine’s Day, according to Shadow and Act. The production is a documentary that focuses on the real-life story of Richard and Mildred Loving, [...]
Read More
Recommended reading:

See the fiction in the latest issue of The New Yorker (January 2, 2012) by Etgar Keret. The story is titled "Creative Writing."
I only had to watch the Washington Wizards (against Atlanta) for a few minutes last night before shaking my head. This team is going no where. Give them the last place trophy right now. Someone please tell John Wall that he is a point guard. The guy is running around like Iverson - looking to shoot first and pass second. Who are the other 4 guys starting? Bench players at best. We also need another Flip at coach. If the Wizards were to play Miami right now they would lose by 40 or more points. If you like high school basketball visit the Verizon Center. The Wizards are casting another bad spell.

Now and then I catch myself thinking about what I'm thinking about because someone told me what to think about. I was thinking how happy so many of us were to see Representative Gabrielle Giffords walk back into the halls of Congress. Yet I forgot that the shooting rampage in Tucson left six people dead and 13 others wounded. Six families with someone missing at the dinner table. 13 people struggling perhaps to get out of bed or walk. 13 people looking at scars and disfigurement - for the rest of their lives. This is what we don't see after the headlines expire and the next story has a deadline. Who will tell the stories of the survivors? And how many people wish they hadn't survived? Each night let us say prayers for the living and protect us from those who would take a life or simply ruin one.

Daily Buddhist Wisdom

Monks, there are these three roots of evil. What three? Lust is a root of evil, hate is a root of evil, delusion is a root of evil. These are the three roots of evil.
- Itivuttaka

Tricycle Daily Dharma December 29, 2011

Mindful Breathing

Mindful breathing helps you see your anger, your frustration, your suffering. When you breathe mindfully, you practice looking deeply into yourself. You are made of feelings, perceptions, mental formations, and consciousness. Your true nature is what—if not these things? Because it is wrong perceptions that make you suffer, and if you don’t know the nature of your own perceptions, you are not likely to get free of your suffering. So your true nature is the nature of your feelings, your perceptions, your mental formations, and your consciousness.
- Thich Nhat Hanh, “Interbeing with Thich Nhat Hanh”
Read the entire article in the Tricycle Wisdom Collection

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

dead at 88
BECKY THOMPSON'S new book of poems was just released.
The title is Zero Is the Whole I Fall into at Night.
The publisher is Main Street Rag in Charlotte, North Carolina.  

R. Dwayne Betts and Sonia Sanchez wrote blurbs.
So did I. Here is what I said:
I give this book of poems- three bows. Thompson writes about a life filled with hurt. She is a witness for the prosecution. She is a woman flying away. She is the last witness and the first lover. Sex is what she kisses before she fall asleep. She
is a survivor like many readers and writers. When she adopts a child, home 
becomes a place of color. Thompson comes from a long line of cowbirds. After the pecking comes the poems. For this we are grateful. 


Tricycle Daily Dharma December 28, 2011

Friends and "Enemies"

It is not sufficient merely to see that sentient beings are suffering. You must also develop a sense of closeness with them, a sense that they are dear. With that combination—seeing that people suffer and thinking of them as dear—you can develop compassion. So, after meditatively transforming your attitude toward friends, enemies, and neutral persons such that you have gained progress in becoming even-minded toward all of them, the next step is to meditate on everyone as friends, to feel that they have been profoundly close.
- Jeffrey Hopkins, "Everyone as a Friend"

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

 Literature in the time of apps
Washington Examiner
There was a moment while reading the E- Channel, an exchange between award-winning authors E. Ethelbert Miller and Charles Johnson, when I forgot I was on ...
Institute for Policy Studies
Institute for Policy Studies
Ideas into Action for
Peace, Justice, and
the Environment.
‘Twas the night before the New Year and all through the land,
Evidence of the Institute's work was at hand.
In Occupy libraries from the East to the West
Our Executive Excess report was on the list of the best.
America Is Not Broke as well topped the list,
And A Main Street Fix was not to be missed!
The occupiers were nestled all snug in their tents,
Reading and learning about where the wealth went.
When out on Tahrir Square there arose such clatter,
Our scholars were here to explain what’s the matter.
From Egypt to Madison, ideas flew like a flash,
IPS supported the rights that corruption would smash.
The moon on the breast of ages-old sorrow,
Gave way to the luster of a more democratic tomorrow.
A public-scholar institute, so informed and so quick,
Laid foundations, launched protests, remedied that which was sick.
More rapid than eagles, our OtherWords came,
We taught about fixes, we called them by name!
Stop corporate greed!
Make Wall Street pay!
Tax speculation!
Give workers their say!
Put taxes on Carbon!
Bring the troops back homes!
Rebuild the safety net!
Stop spending on drones!
As 2011 quickly flies out of sight,
Remember IPS, which fights the good fight.
Prefer to donate by post?
Please make a check payable to "Institute for Policy Studies," and send it to:
IPS | 1112 16th St. NW, Suite 600 | Washington, DC 20036
Or, call us! 202-234-9382

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Have questions? Drop us a line - e-mails to, or call 202.234.9382
THE CHALLENGE OF BLACKNESS The Institute of the Black World and Political Activism in the 1970s by Derrick E. White.
Effective January 1st.
I've decided to step down as board chair of Provisions Library.
Are you ready for the Iowa Caucuses?  It's next week.  If Ron Paul wins the fun will begin in the Republican Party. What if Romney comes in last?  How do you put a spin on this?  I don't see anyone heading into Tampa with the nomination in their pocket. All these candidates might be running for the VP slot. I'm still going to keep my eye on Jeb Bush and the big guy in New Jersey. I can see the Party Elders knocking on their door trying to get them to run - take the White House back from the black man.
Obama plays Jack Johnson?
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This year, your support helped OCU: 
  • Debut the Fly By Light Youth Ambassadors Program, an intensive arts-based youth development training program that engages youth aged 15-18 in social-emotional out-of-school time learning activities geared toward helping youth identify personal strengths, activate conflict resolution strategies within potentially volatile settings and develop artistic talent in poetry, drumming, painting and theater. The inaugural cohort of 15 Fly By Light Ambassadors are featured in the upcoming One Common Unity documentary "Fly By Light", directed by Ellie Walton, which will debut in 2012.
Fly By Light (Film Trailer) 
Fly By Light (Film Trailer)
  • Continue our Voices of a Movement (VoM) open mic series, a monthly event held at Busboys & Poets on 5th and K, NW. VoM continued to be in 2011 a resource to the community, allowing local and traveling artists to use their spoken word, music, dance and story to inspire a culture of peace and justice. This year,  featured artists  included hip-hop all-stars Bomani Armah  and Asheru, poet E-Baby, singer/musicians James Terrell and La Veda and host of other phenomenal talents .    

  • Produce our highly-anticipated 2011 Common Folk Awards at the Gala-Hispanic Theatre, honoring the artists, organizations and activists in our communities who are making sustainable impact in their fields. Honorees included the nonprofit Critical Exposure, poet Sonya Renee Taylor, performance group Read Nex Poetry Squad and Maimouna Youssef who was awarded Artist of the Year.  

Fly By Light Youth Ambassador performance at the 2011 Common Folk Awards
at The Gala-Hispanic Theatre 
 photo by Nadia Bey Jenkins
  • Facilitate workshops for more than 60 youth and training for over 1, 200 out-of-school time youth workers, including the Children's Defense Fund Freedom Schools instructors, in elements of peace education to implement arts-based conflict resolution programming to youth across the country.   
Youth Retreat
MLK Blvd sign

FBL Youth Retreat Group 
Want To Be Invited to Our January Screening of "Fly By Light"? Click HERE for more information.
Do You Want to Get Involved with OCU? Click HERE to learn about Volunteer Opportunities.

Have You Gotten Your Copy of The Poetry of Yoga yet?
If not, click
HERE. 50% of proceeds from the book benefit One Common Unity.  
Interested in Bringing One Common Unity Programming to Your Organization? Contact us at to schedule. 

Would You Like to be a Peace Educator, too?
Email your interest to
so you can stay informed about upcoming trainings for those interested in becoming certified in our arts-based peace education training. More info to come in 2012.

It's not too late to support One Common Unity in 2011!
Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView our videos on YouTube 
Contact Info
One Common Unity 2011 Logo
  One Common Unity is supported by the generou
One Common Unity was supported this year by the generous support of our individual donors, community partners and grant funding organizations, including:

Humanities Council DC
DC Commission of Arts and Humanities
Global Fund for Children
Compton Foundation
and Puffin Foundation

Contact Us:

One Common Unity
1525 Newton St. NW
Washington, D.C., 20010