Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Breaking News Alert
The New York Times
Tuesday, July 31, 2012 -- 9:33 PM EDT

Tea Party Candidate Wins Republican Senate Nomination in Texas Runoff

Ted Cruz, an insurgent backed by the Tea Party, defeated the candidate favored 
by Gov. Rick Perry on Tuesday in a runoff election for the Republican Senate 
nomination that revealed a wide rift in Texas between the party establishment 
and restless, anti-incumbent activists on the right.

With the come-from-behind victory, Mr. Cruz is heavily favored to win the Senate 
seat being vacated in November by Kay Bailey Hutchison and appears likely to 
become a star of the national conservative movement.

Mr. Cruz, 41, is the latest conservative rebel to bring down an established 
party leader, tapping into simmering anger and anti-incumbent frustration within 
the Republican ranks nationwide.


This morning I found myself doing something I hadn't done in several weeks. I went looking for a stamp in order to mail a letter. When was the last time you mailed something? If you pay your bills online do you need a stamp? Cards? Every Christmas I get fewer and fewer. Birthday messages are almost always sent by email these days. The only packages I mail are to my friend Me-K in South Korea. What's next?

I was in Paul on Connecticut Avenue this afternoon and the cashier told a customer if he had a card.

She didn't want to take his money and give him back change. Too much work she said.

The last few months I stopped carrying money in my wallet. I can keep better track of where things are going if I use a card. So the future is plastic. If you want to use cash to board a bus you just stop the line from flowing. SmarTrip cards are now essential. Remember when you could hand those paper transfers out the bus window to someone who didn't have money? I felt so much like an abolitionist. In the old days I kept the face of a few Lincolns in my wallet. One Lincoln was a pass to freedom.


It's just a matter of time before the media begins to find Mitt Romney amusing. Reporters will wait for gaffes to record. Look for some conservatives to distance themselves from him before November. The key focus this year is really not the presidential election. Our eyes should be watching the Congressional elections. How many Tea Party folks will return? Who will be voted out of office? What if the Democrats could regain the House? Impossible? If Obama wins some people will stop looking for his birth certificate and begin the countdown of the days he has left in office. The Prez will be tagged a lame duck as quickly as possible.


Stones on our heads in Mali.
Not a good sign of things to come.
Too many Gods with guns.
Started reading my third Martha Southgate novel of the summer. Reading THE FALL OF ROME.
Love the work.



So there was Natalie Hopkinson getting ready to promote her new book about Go-Go at Politics and Prose Bookstore last night. My sister came with a playlist and music - for the moment. If you want to know about the racial divide ask the Lady in Pink who complained to the manager to turn the music off. Yes,it had all the makings of a drum banning. The power of one white woman in a store is amazing. Here we have a Hopkinson crowd wanting to hear her discuss the music and we couldn't even hear it. The manager at Politics and Prose should have simply told the woman - it's Go-Go Live Baby!  And folks will be Bustin Loose if you F--- with it. Sometimes we tend to be proper Negroes and accept the Color Line which now and then seems to be West of the Park. I did observe the white woman leaving after Natalie's opening remarks. Where did she go after turning off the Go-Go?
Some speak of the future
My love she speaks softly
She knows there’s no success like failure
And that failure’s no success at all

  -Bob Dylan

Monday, July 30, 2012

“Every year we waste enough,
To feed the ones who starve.
We build our civilization up,
And we shoot it down with wars..

O it's Jesus Christ our president,
God above our king. With a job and a pension for young and old,
We will make hallelujah ring”

- Woody Guthrie, from "Christ for President"


KAROLINA GAJDECZKA photo by Ethelbert


The Arab has his spring and I fear the Black man has his winter.

       - E. Ethelbert Miller


After all the levels and degrees of  love one hopefully reaches the place of forgiveness.
This is where nothing grows until you plant something.
This is where the real work begins; too many of us unemployed. Our hands too angry to open, hold or even touch.


The word Jihadists seems to be creeping into the news. This will probably be interpreted as "aggressive" Islam. The New York Times today uses this word when talking about Syria. One could also slip it into a sentence while talking about Mali. We probably won't get a discussion of what jihad really means - no time for that. Overlooked will be its spiritual meaning. But if this word slips into our morning brew - what's next?  If the Jihadists are on one corner it can only mean the Crusades are marching up the street. Even though I have an IPhone it seems like the Middle Ages. Soon I might have to decide between being a serf or a monk.


This week marks the end of one month and the beginning of  another. August. More hot days ahead and then the fall into Labor Day and the end of summer. One marks the season in a man's life by the change in seasons. Ahead the cold and the darkness that comes with aging unless one learns how to embrace the light. The light that comes with wisdom. Let the days go the way they come. One by one.

Sunday, July 29, 2012


But has anyone seen ANGELBERT?


In Texas, Arguing That Heat Can Be a Death Sentence for Prisoners

Prisoners’ rights advocates believe that the lack of air-conditioning in most Texas state prisons puts inmates’ lives at risk.
Russell Martin tagged out Washington’s Tyler Moore during a 14-inning game June 16 that tested the Yankees catcher’s mettle, mentally and physically.
Alex Brandon/Associated Press
Russell Martin tagged out Washington’s Tyler Moore during a 14-inning game June 16 that tested the Yankees catcher’s mettle, mentally and physically.
The mental demands on a catcher are just as tough as the physical ones. A 14-inning game demonstrated the critical decision-making tests faced by Russell Martin of the Yankees.

TED Talk with my friend DINAH LENNEY





1. When there is a loss of power, what are your first concerns as a restaurant owner?

My first concern is about the business and everything that is related to it.  The customers, the staff, the loss of revenue etc.  A lot of planning goes into a restaurant operation and without power you recognize how vulnerable you are as a business owner.  I guess that's why they call it "power".

2. How do you protect your food supply without losing money?
We were fortunate at Busboys and Poets when we lost power.  We had the option to transport a limited amount of food items to other locations.  Great care must be taken when transporting foods that are perishable.

There was a great deal of losses and items that could not be saved.  Insurance can mitigate some of these losses, but cannot take care of everything.  All in all, such losses are hard to prevent.

3. What can the business community do to protect the city from having these types of power problems in the future?
The business community is at the mercy of the infrastructure around it.  There was some talk about a generator, however a generator would be extremely costly and would not be a practical solution for a temporary problem. Additionally better insurance would certainly help.  Right now insurance for power outages is quite high and carry high deductibles aside from being hard to obtain. 

Give me death, give me life. Give me sickness, give me health. Give me honour, give me shame. Give me weakness, give me strength. I will have whatever you give. Amen.

Prayer by St. Teresa of Avila


And I get this email at this moment from you about “The State of Poetry.”

I dropped all of my troubles and dove into the essay by Honoree Fanonne Jeffers. It was illuminating since our educational backgrounds and career choices are radically different, if we share certain points-of-view. I appreciate her frankness. Amen. During the reading of her essay, I took the time to Google the contents of Dove’s anthology. I recall hearing about it while it was in progress, then promptly went about my usual madness, assuming I would NOT be included in her effort for Penguin. After all, I do know Dove’s work which expresses her POV. And, as one reviewer once said of me, and I agreed with that assessment, which stunned me at the time, I’m “outside the outside.” And at this moment, I’m especially pleased to be outside of the literary frays going on at this interval. Let those who have the time for this bullshit deconstruct each other and themselves.

If I really believed Dove was as fine a writer as I am, I would have been insulted by her omission from her interesting anthology.  But then, if I cried over all the omissions I would be dead of dehydration.  If I can survive Forché’s omission, I can survive Dove’s.  Yet, I agree with roughly 2/3rds of her choices, although I would have definitely included Sylvia Plath and Reznikoff. I would have omitted Sonia Sanchez, Don L. Lee, Mary Oliver, Gertrude Stein, Carolyn Kizer, Kenneth Koch, Walcott, and myself (Dove—like the embarrassingly mediocre Oscar Williams—doesn’t have the cojones grande to do THAT) since, as an anthologist, I prefer to let my editorial selections speak for me. Too—I’m in over 150 anthologies, so I needn’t be greedy. I’m pleased to see two poets my work has influenced—Naomi Shihab Nye and Natasha Thetheway in the mix. So in that sense Dove could not keep out my influence on American Poetry (hahaha).  

I was surprised and pleased that Dove selected poems by B.H. Fairchild, because, as one of my lancemen, he deserved the attention. I find it amusing that she included Derek Walcott who shares the exact same opinion about the entirety of American Black Literature that Louis Simpson has about the poems of Gwendolyn Brooks, as observed by Honoree. If I didn’t tell you the story, I have told others about the time—now some 15 years ago at least—that I rose anonymously from an audience of 200 at a gathering at Pitzer-Pomona colleges and asked Walcott (who was being hosted around by Michael S. Harper at that event) what he thought about the writings of African American writers. He stated quite frankly that he thought we were inferior to our Francophone  counterparts (the Brits and others among formerly colonized parts of The Diaspora); that they were better writers. I wish you could have seen Michael turn five shades redder. There were some murmurs from some of those who knew my identity. I did not confront the gentleman further. (Come to think of it, Harper omitted me from his anthology Every Shut Eye Ain’t Sleep.) Thank FUKUROKUJU Dove included Ai, who also had a finer sensibility than Dove, and who was more intellectually complex than Dove—if—in the past, I wasn’t too thrilled with critics who told me to my face that they wished I wrote more like Ai (meaning more acceptable to the White Male Establishment Honoree discusses).

I wrote and delivered a paper on Phillis Wheatley around that time at the behest of Poet’s House in NYC and was invited there to present it, which I did. I have never gotten it together enough to submit it for print; however, one of the striking omissions critics make when analyzing Wheatley’s work is skirting how boldly she cops and redirects the poetic licks of Alexander Pope! Apparently our scholars are not scholarly enough (or are not brave enough) to acknowledge that obvious and powerful influence. And here I am a day late, two dollars short and no college degree to my name. I guess bootstraps don’t count for much these days.

Austin and I have met Perloff on several occasions. She even appeared on our Pacifica radio program “The Poetry Connexion."  I think she’s brilliant but narrow in interesting ways. She has at least acknowledged that I exist. I’ve never met Helen Vendler, disagree with much of her criticism, and suspect she’d have no more use for my poetry than Dove.

In sum E.E.—I have always assumed that artistic “freedom” was the point. The freedom to present my work to the world. Come hell, come high water. Given that, I thoroughly believe that Dove, and any other anthologist, should have the freedom to put whoever they want in their anthology. Look at old Oscar Williams or Mark Strand. Yes—factor in taste, race, politics, and posturing. BES give me the luck to someday edit my own anthology, reflecting my literary aesthetics, and the strength to survive the onslaught. Until then, I’m too busy sweating staying alive and enjoying what little there is to enjoy of my life in the underclass.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Tricycle Daily Dharma July 28, 2012

The Freedom of Generosity

To act generously is to awaken a certain kind of freedom: freedom from the stranglehold of self-concern, and, consequently, freedom to choose a level of responsibility beyond the minimal charge most of us have for ourselves. To give unselfishly is at least momentarily to be free of ourselves, free of greed and attachments, resentments and hatreds, habitual and isolating acts of self-protection.
- Dale S. Wright, "The Bodhisattva's Gift"


I"m still reading Southgate's THIRD GIRL FROM THE LEFT. My daughter came by last night and pulled Southgate's THE FALL OF ROME from the bookshelf in her old room. She reminded me that I have given it to her as a gift several years ago. Well, now it's daddy's turn to read.

I purchased Eduardo Galeano's OPEN VEINS OF LATIN AMERICA from Busboys yesterday.
After coming back from CantoMundo I realized I needed to read more about the history of the Americas.

In the mail was a package from Charles Johnson...an outgrowth of the 2 hour phone conversation we recently had. Charles sent me a copy of George Yancy's LOOK, A WHITE! Philosophical Essays on Whiteness. Recommended reading for the Racialist?

Heading out this afternoon to meet with a book club in Maryland. Folks have been reading my poems. We will talk and snack.

Will try and see the Batman movie before the night ends.  And Still I Rise.

Friday, July 27, 2012



updates_logo 2

Venus Jones headshot

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Lyrics_for_Langston__Cover_for_Kindle 3

She Rose Cover

Like Venus on Facebook!
  Like Me on Facebook!
Greetings Venusian,

And welcome to my world where love is always in season. :o)

Check out my book trailer, produced and directed by me. Sisters are doing it for themselves. 

Feel free to leave a comment on youtube.

I'm promoting the release of my second book, "Lyrics for Langston."
I already gave a world premiere performance at the Harlem Book Fair in Harlem, New York, this past Saturday, July 21. I met some beautiful everyday people and the infamous Dr. Cornel West and Sonia Sanchez. I was also interviewed by Fade to Black TV. Pics are up on my facebook page. I'm sorry if I didn't inform you about the debut believe it or not I'm still looking for a reliable assistant and help with promotions. Given it's my lowest priority often when taking care of business and show. 

Venus Jones Poet  HBF 2012

So if you're a Venusian and you might be interested in keeping my calendar updated, helping with email requests and a potential blog/newsletter here and there, let me know. I may be going back to school and possibly going into the cocoon a bit in Cali but I don't stop being Venus Jones so I may need some "assistance" now more than ever. (Inside joke for those who have purchased the "Venus to Earth" CD)  

I actually have new download cards for "Venus to Earth". You will get one for 50% off if you flash a peace/V sign and mention this newsletter at my next book signing.

She Rose still gets RAVE REVIEWS. Just got another phone call a week or so ago from a school teacher about it. My official release for my latest book is August 8, 2012 at 8:20pm in St. Petersburg, FL at the Studio 620. Save the date and stay tuned to www.venusjones.com or http://studio620.org/ for the latest info.

My performance at the UU Clearwater went really well. I may save the footage for a Venus Jones Live DVD.  I was accompanied by Ngaire Young on guitar and drums. Best performance of "She Rose" and "Rain' ever. 

The Los Angeles Women's Theatre Festival is looking for applications for their 20th anniversary showcase. Spread the word:  http://www.lawtf.com/  
My  LAWTF performance earned me the "Inspiring Solo Performance Award".  Take a look and feel free to comment on that link as well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ncynhc4xl0

Whether you approve of my work or not it's all copasetic. Hence one last video about my life as I want it to be: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZooQ87rvmwg

Thanks for your continued support,



AfroPop 2
The Improv Centro Ybor 
on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 10 pm
p: 813.864.4000 

Seminole Heights Library - Last Open Mic - before they tear it down
on Monday, August 6, 2012 at 6pm
p: 813.272.5558 

Lyrics for Langston -The Official Book Release

An evening of 1920's Costumes, History, Music, Love, Words, and Movement
Celebrating Author/Actress and Poet Venus Jones's latest poetry collection and her transition to the west coast 
Featuring Keeper of the Dream and Guest Speaker Marjol Rush-Collet of The Langston Hughes Family Museum
Live Jazz and Poetry by Venus Jones

Wednesday, August 8, 2012 
at 8:20 pm
The Studio @ 620
620 1st Avenue S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33701

$15 online (all advance tickets receive free champagne toast at 8:20p)
$20 at the door
Portion of proceeds benefit The Studio at 620 and The Langston Hughes Family Museum (a traveling exhibit)

Limited Signed and Numbered Copies of Lyrics for Langston available

Thanks for your continued support and remember the Earth is the true Star Goddess of day and night, she harbors more, much more than light.  Plant a 'healthy seed."

Love Always and Always Love,

The Artist - Venus Jones
~all around Free Spirit~

Living Out Loud Book Cover  
Just Published!
Marita Golden's Literary Memoir
Living Out Loud A Writer's Journey

My new book Living Out Loud A Writer's Journey has been over forty years in the making.  I wrote this book as a way to honor the father who told me bedtime stories about Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth, and who as an inspired storyteller became my first writing teacher. I wrote this book to honor my mother who told me one day when I was twelve that one day I would write books. I wrote this book as well, to remember the more formal teachers and mentors who impacted my career. In the essays in Living Out Loud A Writer's Journey I share how and why I have used writing to create positive change one reader at a time and why the writing workshop is a sacred space that transforms both teacher and student. Buy this book as a gift for yourself or for anyone who wants to write, anyone who writes and anyone who understands the importance of writing.

Available on amazon in paperback and  Kindle edition  
Readings & Book Signings
Wednesday, September 5th at 6:30pm - Reading from Living Out Loud a Writer's Journey at Busboys & Poets, 14th and V Street NW, Washington, DC

Thursday, September 20th at 7:00pm - Reading from Living Out Loud a Writer's Journey at The Hill Center, 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, Washington, DC


Is there a hole in the Mitt?
How long will it take before the media begins to have "big fun" with this guy?
No way he will make it through a presidential campaign without major gaffes.
Saturday Night Live get ready for the transcripts.  No need for an editor.


James Cherry sent me this link the other day. Below is an important article by Honoree Jeffers. 
I read her opening paragraph and thought about her father. I can still hear his booming voice - "HEY EE."
One of my very early readings was with him. He encouraged me to read the work of Vladimir Mayakovsky.
In 1974, I was in a van Ahmos Zu-Bolton was driving when it broke down in North Carolina. We were stranded on a highway - not knowing what to do. Then I remembered Honoree's father lived nearby.  I walked off the highway and found a pay phone -I reached him. The rest is literary history.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Profile of Bruce Springsteen by David Remnick in The New Yorker.
(July 30, 2012)



Last night -Two hours of FaceTime with Charles Johnson on our IPhones. Can you imagine DuBois with a laptop? The new shape of our literary community is taking hold. Could Wright or Baldwin be reached by Facebook? Now and then my poems laugh at the idea of privacy. They have no desire to date a publisher. Their eyes are watching God.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


If you get a chance read Simon Rich's short story in the latest issue of The New Yorker.July 30, 2012.
"Unprotected" is a funny creative tale about the life of a condom.


One thing I learned from my daughter a few years ago was voting early. I plan to do that again in a few months. Why should I wait until November 6th?  I can take advantage of the early voting options. From October 22 to November 3, 2012, I can cast an early ballot.

I'm going down to One Judiciary Square (441 4th Street, NW)
8:30 AM- 7:00 PM

Lord my God, I will praise you with all my heart. I will bring glory to you forever. Great is your love for me. You have kept me from going down into the grave. You are a God who is tender and kind. You are gracious. You are slow to get angry. You are faithful and full of love. Turn to me and show me your favor. Give me strength and save me. Amen.
Adapted from Psalm 86


Cal Ripken Jr.'s Mom Safe After Abduction

Police in Aberdeen, Md., say Cal Ripken Jr.'s mother is safe after being abducted from her home. Check NBCWashington.com for more.

Complete details from NBC Washington: http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Cal-Ripkens-Mom-Goes-Missing-Gets-Found-163681126.html?update

Tricycle Daily Dharma July 25, 2012

Protecting Your Mind

Protect yourself and your mind from too much negativity. Not turning away from suffering doesn't mean wallowing in the horror of it all.
- Susan Moon, "Ten Practices to Change the World"

Tuesday, July 24, 2012




This week I'm reading 2 books:

THIRD GIRL FROM THE LEFT by Martha Southgate.
(Will borrow The Fall of Rome this weekend from the Takoma Library)

I met Juan at CantoMundo and he gave me a copy of his book. I'm enjoying this collection of poems.
Gather w/ a Few Good Men ... 
Swap Stories about Joy
Sunday, July 29, 2012, 6-7:15 p.m. @ Amazing Grace Conservatory 
[2401 W. Washington Blvd., LA, CA 90018]

Join us at the first  
Oral History of Happiness Fellowship Circle 
(a program of Peter J. Harris' Black Man of Happiness Project)

in collaboration with Deep Red's Spoken Yoga

Deep Red will guide us in a breathing meditation 
before we swap stories about joyful 
moments, situations, and seasons in our lives 

Steel Pan music by Alan Mark Lightner
Note: the Circle will be recorded as part of a documentary film

The Black Man of Happiness Project:  Web ... Theater ...Video ... Literature … answering one elemental question: What is a happy Black man?  Conceived & Orchestrated by Peter J. Harris http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceyn8-PPQB4

INFO...Peter J. Harris ... 818.415.0420


Whispers, Secrets and Promises by E. Ethelbert Miller
Introduction by presidential historian Doug Brinkley.
This collection of poems can be obtained from Black Classic Press


More about the trade:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY giovanni singleton


What a shock to see Ichiro going to New York.  He requested the trade - wanting to play for a contender. It will be good to see him on the big stage the next few months. Nobody saw this trade coming. Not even E-Notes.


Tricycle Daily Dharma July 24, 2012

The Thread of Stability

A string of beads has a thread running through all the beads, keeping them together. What we need is a thread too—of sanity and stability. Because when you have a thread, even though each bead is separate, they hang together. When we have the teachings in us, stabilizing us, there’s a thread to keep our life together that prevents us from falling apart.
- Sogyal Rinpoche, "The Stability of Ease"
Daily Buddhist Wisdom

View all problems as challenges. Look upon negativities that arise as opportunities to learn and to grow. Don't run from them, condemn yourself, or bury your burden in saintly silence. You have a problem? Great. More grist for the mill. Rejoice, dive in, and investigate.
- Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, "Mindfulness in Plain English"

Monday, July 23, 2012

Quote of the Day

If James Brown was soul brother No. 1, then Curtis Mayfield was soul brother No. 2.

  - Jerry Butler, singer


What will happen the last week of August in Tampa? It's important all protests remain civil and non-violent at the Republican Convention. What is a peaceful protest these days?  Property damage will always turn the public against protests. What is public dissent when a march is turned into a parade? What does getting arrested actually accomplish?  When is protest simply theater without a plot? When does anarchy open the door to chaos? August is always a hot month. I hate to see a good country sweat.


Mayor Gray's 2010 campaign used information of thousands of city public housing residents, sources say

The data was used to target residents in get-out-the-vote efforts in the last week of the election, the sources said. The use of such information could violate a variety of laws and regulations, according to experts.


Like Miles I have a tendency not to look at the old music. One wants to keep moving forward. But this evening I picked up a copy of BEYOND THE FRONTIER a 568 page anthology of African American poets that I edited around 2000. It's amazing to see the folks who are included in this book. Whew...some amazing career developments. Consider this Dream Team:

Toi Derricotte
giovanni singleton
Jabari Asim
Carl Phillips
Allison Joseph
Afaa Michael Weaver
Marilyn Nelson
Sam Cornish
A. Van Jordan
James E. Cherry
Terrance Hayes
Angela Jackson
Wanda Coleman
Tyehimba Jess
Trasi Johnson
Lisa Teasley
Cornelius Eady
Houston Baker, Jr
Kevin Simmonds
Asha Bandele
Tracie Morris
Ta-Nehisi Coates
Shara McCallum
Doreen Baingana

And there are many more important poets in this book.

In the introduction I wrote:

At the dawn of the 21st century, we must discover our true beauty. Poetry is a vehicle to transport us into forever. Beyond the frontier, beyond this world (which once enslaved us), lies a new consciousness. Poetry like prayer restores faith to the heart. It contains the healing power of love and forgiveness as words make us human. A common language will reflect the final transformation of the human spirit. This book represents a new genesis as we turn our backs on a century of history and the old civilization.

One can obtain a copy of BEYOND THE FRONTIER from Black Classic Press:


Sunday, July 22, 2012


The Foreign Service Institute has announced position openings for full-time language instructors in ten languages: Arabic, French, German, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish and Vietnamese. The closing date for applications is August 1, 2012.

If interested, you can access a full copy of the vacancy announcement on the internet by clicking:

Series/Grade:  GG-1712-09/11
Office:  FSI/SLS
Announcement:  PH-NF-12-701183
Opening:  07/18/12
Closing:  08/01/12
Number of Openings:  17


PHOTO by Ethelbert


Thanks to Grace I've added the ZITE app to my IPhone.
Whew...more news to news with.
You gotta love it.

In Significant Expansion, US Drug War Heads to Africa
Charlie Savage and Thom Shanker, The New York Times News Service: "In a significant expansion of the war on drugs, the United States has begun training an elite unit of counternarcotics police in Ghana and planning similar units in Nigeria and Kenya as part of an effort to combat the Latin American cartels that are increasingly using Africa to smuggle cocaine into Europe. The growing American involvement in Africa follows an earlier escalation of antidrug efforts in Central America, according to documents."
Read the Article


GRACE A. ALI. Photo by Ethelbert

Grace A. Ali continues to be a woman to watch.
of note magazine is her creation.


Quote of the Day

What does it feel like when a war begins?  When does life as you know it implode? How do you know when it is time to pack up your home and your family and leave your country? Or if you decide not to, why?

For ordinary people war starts with a jolt: one day you are busy with dentist appointments or arranging ballet lessons for your daughter, and then the curtain drops. One moment the daily rountine grinds on; A.T.M.'s work and cellphones function. Then, suddenly, everything stops.

Barricades go up. Soldiers are recruited and neighbors work to form their own defense. Ministers are assassinated and the country falls into chaos. Fathers disappear. The banks close and money and culture and life as people knew it vanishes. In Damascus, this moment has come.

- Janine di Giovanni, The New York Times, July 22, 2012


I read this article this morning. It underscores what I've been examining the last few years...how we create narratives.


Don't Jump to Conclusions About the Killer - The New York Times


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Politicians are far too fearful of the gun lobby to address gun violence, and, as a society, we keep getting stuck on a theoretical debate about the Second Amendment, which keeps us from taking practical measures that just might help avoid the all-too-frequent tragedies like the one in Aurora.

   - Excerpt from editorial in The New York Times, July 21, 2012


The last 2 games have been painful to watch. The bullpen is falling apart. Tired arms or too much pressure. Relief pitchers have to say no to walks and homers. I'm afraid if this team falls out of first place they might keep falling. Can they win the next 2 games against Atlanta? That would be a blessing. Harper getting hurt today might be symbolic of what's happening to this team right now.
I feel like I should pray for rain so we can't play the evening game.


"Every issue of Poet Lore is inspiring, for it shows that the little-magazine tradition has been alive and well since 1889, with the magazine's founding. (Even Walt Whitman wanted aboard.)  I appreciate the skillful editorial steering of this ship and the crew's loyalty to the cause of assuring a literary legacy. Walt would be impressed."
David Ray, poet and former editor of The Chicago Review, Epoch, and founding editor of New Letters and New Letters on the Air.


Copy the narrative that comes out of Colorado.
The gunman will be described as a loner. What does this mean in the 21st century?
We are all alone. I think this label is just to get the public to stay calm and accept no "group" is organized and bent on creating havoc in our lives. The narrative would be complicated if the shooter was a Muslim or a person of color. Then we would get the pundits and posse ready to find a rope. But let me be the Racialist for a moment. Might this be the time to inject race into this incident and ponder if the white American family is in crisis?  Can you imagine if James Holmes was a young black guy? You know - so many black boys are yada yada yada. You know you would be listening to Rev. Sharpton right now.So what's with this narrative that we keep clinging to?  How long will we remain in denial?
There is a man with a gun over there...




Hard to tell which is sadder, the news coming out of Colorado or the news that opens the door (again and again) to discussions of gun control in our society. We are not going to pass any tighter laws today or tomorrow.

What's an American without a gun?

We are all victims and survivors. The problem is that we also have our hands on the trigger.
How many of us are willing to do harm to another human being? 

Why are demons always entering our heads and making us do wrong?

What is God doing when someone decides to shoot you?

Prayers come with a price. Faith comes with limitations.

How many fathers and mothers are looking into empty hands this morning?
Their love ones gone forever...



A few days ago Afaa Michael Weaver told me he had a new book coming out in 2013.  
E-Notes wanted to know more. Below is what the Weaver weaved back.

The Government of Nature
poems by Afaa Michael Weaver
U of Pittsburgh Press due early 2013

In The Government of Nature I offer the second book in a trilogy that began with The Plum Flower Dance (U Pitt Press 2007), which was an arrangement of poems from 1985- 2005. 
Nearly a third of that book consisted of new poems on various subjects, and the entire collection was arranged according to the Chinese philosophy of the five elements, each element corresponding to the effects of my abusive childhood on my writing.  In April 2011, I presented a paper on the subject at Beijing Normal University, and the university system issued a statement explaining that it was the first time an American poet who is also a practitioner of Daoist cultivation ever presented such a paper.  The title is Wu Xing 五行 and the Poetic Ordering of Experience.
The paper has been published at the University of New Haven by Dr. Randall Horton.  

The Government of Nature deals directly with the abuse in the context of Daoist renderings of nature as metaphor for the human body.   The book had its genesis in poems I wrote while living in He Nan Temple and Monastery in Hualien, Taiwan, in the spring of 2005, during an eight month stay in the country in order to further my studies of Mandarin.  The book examines the interface of my Christian upbringing with my Daoist studies as I examine the abuse with an eye to recovery and forgiveness in a very eclectic spiritual life.

For National Poetry Month 2012, NPRs Living on Earth featured me reading and discussing two poems, both of which are included in this forthcoming book.  The link to the show:  http://www.loe.org/shows/segments.html?programID=12-P13-00016&segmentID=8

The third part of the trilogy is City of Eternal Spring, a manuscript in progress.  Several of the poems are in the Spring 2012 issue of Asian American Review.

For more info about The Government of Nature or to order a review copy contact Maria Sticco at: mes5@pitt.edu