Monday, December 31, 2012




The Arizona Cardinals fired coach Ken Whisenhunt on Monday, making it seven total coaches fired on Black Monday.


The San Diego Chargers cleaned house on Monday, firing head coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith, the team announced.


The Buffalo Bills fired head coach Chan Gailey on Monday, the team announced.


The Chicago Bears fired head coach Lovie Smith and asked for permission to interview other candidates on Monday, according to a report.


The Kansas City Chiefs fired head coach Romeo Crennel on Monday, the team announced.


The Cleveland Browns fired coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert, according to an announcement from the team.


Rex Ryan will remain the head coach of the New York Jets, but the team announced the firing of general manager Mike Tannenbaum on Monday.


The Philadelphia Eagles fired head coach Andy Reid, the team officially announced on Monday after a weekend of rumors.


The Jacksonville Jaguars fired general manager Gene Smith, the team announced on Monday.


Sunday, December 30, 2012


Now on Moyers & Company
Rewriting the Story of America

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Díaz -- National Book Award finalist for This Is How You Lose Her -- talks about straddling two cultures while telling the story of America’s past and future. Along the way he offers funny and perceptive insights into his work, Star Wars, Moby Dick, and America’s inevitable shift to a majority minority country.



Don't Miss...
Grid Map   Live Chat with Junot Díaz
Join us here on Thursday, January 3, 2013, for a live chat with the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

   Decoding the Political Buzzwords of 2012
From "Romnesia" to "Right to Work," linguist Geoffrey Nunberg decodes memorable buzzwords of 2012, including his pick for Word of the Year.

   Do Politicians Read the Emails You Send Them?
Since the advent of the Internet, the number of messages sent to politicians has increased dramatically, but are they being heard?

Rethinking the Fiscal Cliff
Robert Reich, Bruce Bartlett, and other top thinkers share their views on the fiscal cliff and what awaits us on the other side.


Image Credit: Peter Krogh © 2012 Moyers Media. All rights reserved.
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The people should go naked until they have knowledge.

    - E. Ethelbert Miller
Altar Ego: Power in the Paint, an art collection
The act of transformation can be powerful.There is Power in Paint.I paint people as they would like ...
Just Like The Movies

When she quickly runs across
the street into your arms you wish
everything to be in slow motion -
the moment of embrace when the first
thing you touch is the scent of her-
you push your nose into her hair
like your tongue. You close
your eyes just like in the movies-
waiting for the music to begin,
for a song to be sung by someone,
with words like - This is love,
this will always be love. This 
is love, this will always be love.

   - E. Ethelbert Miller

Saturday, December 29, 2012

May 23-26, 2013
Boston, MA

Charles Johnson’s “E-Channel” Writings:  A Year in the Life of a 21st-century Writer


Organized by the Charles Johnson Society

Chair:  Jim McWilliams, Dickinson State University

1.     “Lessons Learned from a Year in the Writer’s House,”  Marc C. Conner, Washington & Lee University

2.     “Noble Friendship:  The Literary Activism of Charles Johnson and E. Ethelbert Miller,” Julia Galbus, University of Southern Indiana

3.     “The E-Channel:  Bring Writer Charles Johnson’s Epistemology into Focus,” John Parks, Howard University.

4.     “Creating the E-Channel:  Helping the World to Embrace the World of Charles Johnson,” E. Ethelbert Miller, Director of the African American Resource Center, Howard University. 



What's E doing?

I plan to post the first part of my interview questions with Linda Pastan on January 1st. A good way to begin the year. I began today listening to my friend Joanna Chen read two poems of mine that she translated into Hebrew. Fun talking about language and not prevented by geographical borders or boundaries - a universal literary community.

I've been watching movies - a few classics. Nothing like looking at things in black and white. Last night it was Lolita and I had a chance to watch Shelley Winters and Peter Sellers. Sellers
steals this film with his acting. It made me want to forget about James Mason.

Later today I plan to watch The Symmetry of Love -a film by Aitor Gaizka.

A SPECIAL TO E-NOTES FROM giovanni singleton

giovanni singleton

In the night, I saw the poet Jayne Cortez. Her face and body undulated like ocean waves, finally dissolving into a tornado that funneled upward into sky, into ether. . .

I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the poet Jayne Cortez. She was in fact the very first living poet whose work I encountered while studying at the American University in Washington DC, I   wandered, as I often did, into a bookstore then known as Vertigo Books near Dupont Circle. My eye was immediately drawn to a book on the remainder table called Coagulations: New and Selected Poems by Jayne Cortez.  I picked up the grey and red covered book and turned it over in my hands several times, front then back then front again before opening to its contents, uncertain as to whether or not I was ready for what was inside. I remember how with the turning of each page, my temperature literally seemed to rise. With feverishly shaking hands, I quickly made my way to the register. Up until that point, I had had only one other encounter (on the page and in person)  with the work of a living writer of color and that was Toni Morrison. I was astonished to find that there was  another.  Mind you this was all before poetry became a focus of my life.  In fact, Coagulations was the 3rd  book of poetry that I ever purchased in my life after the Collected Poems of Anne Sexton and the Collected Poems of Sylvia Plath.

Since that day, Ms. Cortez’s work has been an integral part of my life and my education as a poet. She was careful with language as she knew its power and its history. “Those New York City Pigeons”. Peace and Revolution and LOVE and blues. Yeah. . . “I See Chano Pozo”. Her poems were lessons unto themselves. "They want the oil but they don't want the people." Years later while in graduate school, when writing about her work, that of Bob Kaufman, and Beauford Delany, I had an opportunity to speak with Ms. Cortez. She was extremely generous with her time and with her wisdom. What stood out as well was her amazing spirit, presence, and support of younger poets.

I would encounter Ms. Cortez  several times over the years and each occasion was an important one on my path.  At her invitation, and because of her generosity, I was able to attend the Yari Yari Pembari Conference at NYU in 2004. Never had I imagined that the world was filled with so many incredible women writers from throughout the African Diaspora.  And the books.  .  .  I bought so many books and had numerous thought-provoking and passionate discussions.  Another time while standing in line at the Blue Note in New York City waiting to hear the incomparable Abbey Lincoln, I noticed just ahead of me a familiar face. It was the poet Jayne Cortez. She was attending the concert with a friend of hers. I, unaccompanied, uncharacteristically  asked if I could join them at at their table. After the concert, Ms. Cortez invited me to go with her to Abbey Lincoln’s dressing room. Afterwards, Ms. Cortez and her friend gave me a ride to where I was staying. I was awestruck and remain so. I have read her books (her first was published the year I was born), recited and taught her poems, and listened to her CDs. Hers was a mighty ear.

On October 29, 2007, nocturnes (re)view of the literary arts, of which I am the founding editor, and the Poetry Center at San Francisco State University, sponsored a concert featuring Jayne Cortez and her band the  Firespitters (including her son Denardo Coleman on drums) at the Roxie Theatre in San Francisco. It was electrifying to say the very least. I also participated in a conversation with Ms. Cortez during which she talked about her just released poetry collection The Beautiful Book published by her own Bola Press. Here is a link to an interview with Jayne Cortez conducted by while she was in San Francisco in 2007:

Jayne Cortez was courageous and one of the great pillars of my life along with Lucille Clifton, Alice Coltrane, Julie Ezelle Patton, and Wanda Coleman. The five directions, wisdom keepers alit with grace in all of their humanity.


Friday, December 28, 2012



I first met Jayne Cortez in 1973. We read together at Dingane’s Den located on 18th Street in Washington, D.C.  She signed a copy of her chapbook Pisstained Stairs and The Monkey Man’s Wares and gave it to me. This was back in the day when a book was just $2.00. Cortez was one of the established writers at that time who were very supportive of my early work, the others were Eugene Redmond, Lance Jeffers, Haki Madhubuti, Stephen Henderson, Sterling A. Brown and Leon Damas.
What Cortez gave me was poetry ears. Maybe this is why I could listen to Ornette Coleman after listening to her. Cortez made me listen to the music (again). My favorite John Coltrane poem will always be “How Long Has Trane Been Gone.”  But who will ever forget how she ended her poem
“Theodore” with that classic Cortez slap against consciousness:

Yes remember
the name was
T. Navarro
they called him
Fats for short
and his life
was snuffed by
inadequate people
whose minds was
Dry as chicken-shit-slime

Jayne Cortez had a fan club consisting of other writers. I’ll always associate her with Quincy Troupe. I suggest we honor Cortez by finding a copy of Yardbird Reader, Volume 5 that was published in 1976. Here one will find Charles Davis, Eugene B. Redmond, Stanley Crouch, Deborah A. Gilliam, Charles C. Thomas, Verta Mae Grosvenor, and Clyde Taylor writing about her. Troupe however is the first to give testimony.  His words seem to resonate tonight as I think about Jayne Cortez:

Many times we recoil in horror from what we hear and feel in the poetry of Jayne Cortez; sometimes many of her poems make us want to weep, not for her, but for ourselves, our own transgressions, our own particular weaknesses, as well as the weaknesses of the world; then there are the poems that makes us angry, both at Ms. Cortez, for telling us a particularly, penetrating truth, and at ourselves for committing the acts that the poem is addressing itself to; but at no time in listening to and reading the poetry of Jayne Cortez, are we failed to be moved by the power of her impact.

I hope as we remember Jayne Cortez we also remember the men in her life. When I met her in 1973, I also met her partner Mel Edwards. One thing that should be celebrated more in the African American community are those “cultural love couples.”  Edwards designed many of Cortez’s books that she released through her own Bola Press. He took her pictures. He was always there when she came to DC to give a reading. It was several years after 1973 that learned more about the stature of Edwards; he was that humble. It was Jayne Cortez who was always talking about Leon Damas and Christopher Okigbo. She was at the center of all those poets one finds in the landmark anthology Giant Talk: An Anthology of Third World Writings  compiled and edited by Quincy Troupe & Rainer Schulte. Cortez’s life touched the entire black world. Too often only gravity or a life like Walter Rodney will accomplish this.
I hope we have not seen the last of the Firespitters. I kiss these words by Cortez one more time:

Ask me
Essence of Rose Solitude
chickadee from Arkansas that’s me
i  sleep on cotton bones
cotton tails
and mellow myself in empty ballrooms
i’m no fly by night
look at my resume
i walk through the eyes of staring lizards
i throw my neck back to floorshow on bumping goat
in front of my stage fright
i cover the hands of Duke who like Satchmo
like Nat (King) Cole will never die
because love they say
never dies

E-Note by E. Ethelbert Miller


Esperanza Cintron's new book of poems is out. What Keeps Me Sane is also the winner of the 2013 Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award. I made the following comment about this collection:

What Keeps Me Sane is a choir of women's voices. Cintron's work might differ from Nina Simone's "Four Women" but it is just as moving. Unlike Simone, she explores something much deeper than color...There is triumph as well as pain and hurt in the lives of Aiyo, Lily, Brisa and Plum. Cintron's work consists of story-telling jewels that...are meditations on what it means to be a woman and how to remain sane in this world.

Order from:

I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it.

    - Dwight D. Eisenhower


More popular culture:


Subject: Bernice Johnson Reagon reads the Emancipation Proclamation

It's billed as a "dramatic reading" of the Emancipation Proclamation by Bernice 
Johnson Reagon (Folkways recording artist and founder of Sweet Honey in the 
Rock, and formerly researcher for the Festival of American Folklife, director of 
the Program in African American Culture, and curator in the National Museum of 
American History’s Division of Community Life). For more on Bernice, see

Her dramatic reading begins at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, January 1, in the Rotunda of 
the National Archives, and will be followed by a full day of activities at the 
National Archives, in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation 
Proclamation. Details are at

Thursday, December 27, 2012


Don't you just love these informal letters...

Ethelbert --

Because of you, I'll be taking the oath of office again on January 21st.

I'd like you to be part of this historic moment -- whether that's in Washington, D.C., or wherever you call home.

As we make plans, we want to make sure the people who made this inauguration possible are the first to know what's happening.

Add your name here to take part in inaugural activities.

I'm honored each and every day to be your president, and I will never forget how I got here.

I'm so grateful for everything you've done.

Let's also remember why we're here: we've got more work to do. And we're going to begin this next chapter in the American story together.

Sign up and stay updated:



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MAYBE IT WAS NEVER ABOUT US photo by Ethelbert

MEETING OF THE AAE (Acker/Ali/Ethelbert)


After Christmas Day came another day of joy.  I had fun yesterday serving tea and chocolate to Camille Acker and Grace A. Ali.  A time to talk about writing, movies, and the many things that keep us sane. We sat around the table in my house like people of the book. I'm looking forward to Acker's first collection of short stories- we met at the AWP Conference in Denver a few years ago. I've known her mother and father for a spell. Grace continues to reside in that place in my heart where there is no need for gentrification. I'm talking about that old time friendship that you know is for life. Please support her online publication:



We now move away from the house.
Who will save us?  Is this a nation or a sitcom?

Senators to Return With 5 Days Left and No Clear Fiscal Path

Adding to the tension over a pileup of threatened tax increases and spending cuts, the treasury secretary notified Congress that the government would hit its borrowing limit on Monday.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012




Excerpt from an interview with Jamie Foxx by Kam Williams

KW: Did you have any reservations?

JF: I didn’t have a knee-jerk reaction like some people did to the language and the violence. My stepfather was a history teacher at Lincoln High School in Dallas. So, I was already familiar with the N-word and the brutality of slavery. What I was drawn to was the love story between Django and Broomhilda and how he defends and gets the girl in the end. I thought it was just an amazing and courageous project.   

I saw "Django Unchained" yesterday with my wife and daughter. We all thought it was a very good movie, so did the rest of the movie audience. Yes, it's about slavery and it's bloody - but it's also a very funny flick. One would have to go back to "Blazing Saddles" to find another western to keep it company. I have to ignore folks who think history is a virgin and she can only be read or interpreted one way. Slavery isn't sacred --especially when at the end of the day one is simply making a movie. I think the interview excerpt (above) with Jamie Foxx gets to the key point of "Django Unchained." This is a love story. Find a better one between a black man and a black woman that came out this year. In real life we have Barack and Michelle but what else do we have? Many folks will get distracted by the violence in this movie - well I've been distracted by recent news headlines and the NRA. Oh, and don't blame the messenger Tarantino. Either you like his movies or you don't. There really isn't any middle ground here. But hey- don't dismiss this move until you see it. Don't place another "Spike" in your head. Oh, and read your Carter G. Woodson books when you return home. I never saw a picture of Woodson smiling - and I respect that. African American history should be respected and honored. It should also be interpreted in a variety of ways. Tarantino's love of violence in this movie might just do justice to the horror our ancestors had to survive. African American history is very bloody but what makes us human today is our humanity and with that comes the ability to love at the end of the day. Ask yourself if that's not the message of "Django Unchained" when you leave the theater.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


What if someone discovered there was only a finite number of news stories. Maybe every year we consume the same narratives but only in a different package, a recycling of information for consumers who simply need their coffee. Who pays attention to stale news?  If this was true then it would be possible to "predict" the news of tomorrow. Let's see...

I suspect we will consume the followings stories in 2013:
- Talk of a possible invasion of Iran by Israel.
- North Korea and security in the Asia region. Yadda, yadda, yadda.
- Pakistan and Yemen and another rise of Islamic terrorism?  Is that a drone in Obama's pocket?
- 2-3 deaths of a major celebrity - one tragic. Car or plane?
- Mugabe stories - ah Zimbabwe again. You can't keep a good Z down.
- Egypt's decline. An Arab spring with no democracy flowers. Sniff. Sniff.
- Assad becoming another sad story in the Middle East. No stable Syria for decades. No one is serious when it comes to Syria.

Oh, and what about the Super Bowl?  I think one of these teams might win it:
Denver, Seattle or Washington.  Of course I wish it was Brady and NE but that's another story.
The major advances in civilization are processes that all but wreck the societies in which they occur."

    - A.N. Whitehead
The Night As Dark As A Woman's Hair

Everywhere things reduced to rubble -
buildings, men, speech, homes, dreams,
turned to dust or just blown apart.
A friend collapses in the middle of the night
on the way to pee.The darkness of the room
attacks her as if she was in India, where men
rush in, the sperm in their hands reducing 
a woman to rubble, mixing flesh, bone and grief.

 - E. Ethelbert Miller

Monday, December 24, 2012


Christmas Music To Help Make The Season Bright

 The Christmas Holiday means many things to different people, but no matter how you spend your Christmas I hope that it is safe, enjoyable with some time given to energizing your faith. And while you’re at it add some music to whatever you do.

And remember, The Secret of Christmas: “It’s not the things you do at Christmas time. It’s the Christmas things you do all year through.”

From Louis Armstrong & Friends What A Wonderful Christmas compilation (1997)

Louis Armstrong/Benny Carter Orchestra
Christmas In New Orleans

Louis Armstrong/Gordon Jenkins Orchestra
            White Christmas

Dinah Washington
            Silent Night
Mel Torme
            The Christmas Song
            Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire

Louis Armstrong/Benny Carter Orchestra
            Christmas Night In Harlem

Peggy Lee/Jud Conlon’s Rhythmaires
            It’s Christmas Time Again

Louis Armstrong/The Commanders
            Cool Yule

Lionel Hampton/Vocal Chorus
            Merry Christmas, Baby

 Louis Armstrong/The Commanders
            Zat You, Santa Claus?

Eartha Kitt/Henri Rene & His Orchestra
            Santa Baby

Duke Ellington & His Orchestra
            Jingle Bells

Lena Horne
            Santa Clause Is Coming To Town

Louis Jordan & His Orchestra
            May Everyday Be Christmas

Louis Armstrong/Gordon Jenkins Orchestra
            Winter Wonderland

All songs re-released on The Best of James Brown The Christmas Collection (1995)
Christmas is Love from the album Hey America (1970)
Let’s Unite the Whole World at Christmas from the album Soulful Christmas (1968)
Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto from the album Soulful Christmas (1968)
Soulful Christmas from the album Soulful Christmas (1968)

From the Verve compilation, Have Yourself A Jazzy Little Christmas (1989) and Wynton Marsalis’ Crescent City Christmas Card (1989).

Ray Charles with Betty Carter, Baby It’s Cold Outside from The Spirit of Christmas (2009)
W. Marsalis, Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! from Crescent City Christmas Card.
Bill Evans, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town from Have Yourself A Jazzy Little Christmas
Dinah Washington Ole Santa from Have Yourself A Jazzy Little Christmas

Jimmy Smith, Jingle Bells from Have Yourself A Jazzy Little Christmas
W. Marsalis, Jingle Bells from Crescent City Christmas Card
W. Marsalis, Little Drummer Boy from Crescent City Christmas Card
Dinah Washington, Silent Night from Have Yourself A Jazzy Little Christmas

Oscar Peterson, A Child Is Born Have Yourself A Jazzy Little Christmas
The Swingle Singers, Christmas Medley Have Yourself A Jazzy Little Christmas
W. Marsalis, Carol of the Bells Crescent City Christmas Card
W. Marsalis, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing Crescent City Christmas Card