Thursday, October 31, 2013


John Cavanagh and Noura photo by Ethelbert

Today Noura Erakat gave a brilliant lecture at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS). Her topic was "New Imminence in the Time of Obama: The Impact of Targeted Killing on the Law of Self Defense."

The discussion that followed examined many issues associated with international law. Noura's talk reminded us of how dangerous our present world is. At the end of the day we need to ask, who is responsible for this danger? I'll be spending the next few weeks reading articles written by Noura in preparation for our two-part interview on The Scholars (UDC-TV) to be taped in late November.

Mandela and Noura photo by Ethelbert

IPS Interns photo by Ethelbert


After last night everyone will want to wear a beard. There is something interesting about this look...
Does it come with politics?  I feel a little like Pumpsie Green today. Happy but alone.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

New Book

Jon Woodson just completed a book he has been working on for 40 years.

Oragean Modernism: a lost literary movement 1924-1953

For review copies contact him at:
Strange Brew by John Deering

Richard Kostelanetz

It must have been around 1973 or 74 that I walked into a DuPont Circle bookstore and found on the shelf The End of Intelligent Writing by Richard Kostelanetz. I purchased the book and started reading it in the nearby office where Alan Austin and Ahmos Zu-Bolton were editing Black Box Magazine. I couldn't put the book down. Here was my introduction to literary politics in America. Kostelanetz's book has to be at the top of titles that changed my life. Yesterday I got an email from him. Hopefully he will consent to an E-Note interview. Meanwhile here is a link to his work:

Grace Ali on The Marc Steiner Show

Wednesday at 9 am, we reflect on the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, a super storm that caused massive damage on the East Coast. We talk about the challenges those affected are still facing in the year after the storm and what it says about climate change with: Imara Jones, economic justice contributor to;  Mike Tidwell, Founder and Director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network; and Daphne Wysham, Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, where she directs the Sustainable Energy & Economy Network and the Genuine Progress Project.
At 9:30 am, family members of Tyrone West, a man killed by the police on July 18th, join us again to talk about their search for answers from the Medical Examiners Office and the Baltimore Police Department. We hear from West's uncle George Peoples, his cousin Jamie Richardson, and his sister Towanda Jones. We also hear about a demonstration taking place Wednesday afternoon at the Northeast District Police Station.
Then at 10 am, Grace Aneiza Ali, founder and editorial director of OF NOTE MagazineMiriam Rosais, Editor of the Nueva Luz Journal; and Keisha Scarville, Photographer; join us to talk about this issue of Nueva Luz, which features under-the-radar Guyanese women photographers and their work.
At 10:45 am, Baltimore City Paper Senior Editor Baynard Woods gives us an update on what's in the City Paper this week.

Email or post on the The Marc Steiner Show Facebook page 
with your questions and comments! 

Listen from 9-11 am on WEAA 88.9-FM or online at weaa.orgAll shows are available as podcasts at and on iTunes. 

Join the conversation by calling 410-319-8888, tweeting @marcsteiner, and emailing For questions & show ideas call: (443) 475-0554.
Shadee Ashtari
October 24, 2013
The Huffington Post
The 16-day federal government shutdown that furloughed 800,000 workers and cost the U.S. economy $24 billion dollars has largely been pinned on House Republicans, making many of them vulnerable in the 2014 midterm elections.

 Numerous polls have shown that a majority of Americans assign a larger share of blame for the shutdown to congressional Republicans, who tried to tie government funding provisions to defunding the Affordable Care Act. Even prominent Republicans like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) have criticized their colleagues in the House for damaging the GOP's image.

Fifty-four percent of Americans now oppose Republican control of the House, according to a CNN-ORC poll released on Monday. And a series of polls commissioned by progressive advocacy group and conducted by Public Policy Polling released in batches over the last several days indicate Democrats may have enough momentum to take back the House.

Democrats only need to lock up 17 additional seats in the November 2014 midterm elections to secure a House majority. The new polls show the recent government shutdown may cause as many as 37 Republicans to lose their House seats next year.
PPP pollsters surveyed 61 Republican-held congressional districts around the country from Oct. 1 through Oct. 18. They concluded that “Democrats not only have an opportunity to take back the House of Representatives next year, but that they could win a sizable majority if voter anger over the shutdown carries into 2014."

According to a PPP memo released on Monday:
Republicans will likely find this third round of surveys to be the most alarming yet, given that the new results show substantial Republican vulnerability in many districts that were not even supposed to be close. Incumbent Republicans trail generic Democrats in 15 of the 25 districts we most recently surveyed. This means generic Democrats lead in 37 of 61 districts polled since the beginning of the government shutdown.

Let's meet the 37 Republicans, including some longtime incumbents, who could lose their seats to Democrats in the 2014 midterm elections, here.

Monday, October 28, 2013


A Conversation Between Friends: Language, Love, and The Writing Life

    When: Tue, 10/29/2013 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm
    Cost: Free 
    Category: Lectures and Conversations 
    Location: Benjamin Drummond Hall
    In this program, Judith Harris and E. Ethelbert Miller discuss their recent books, and the works of literary ancestors, along with ups and downs of a writer’s life encompassing memory, love, loss, culture, and observation, inviting the audience to share their own experiences as writers and as readers to discover what can be collectively learned about this ancient and human creative endeavor.
    Dr. Judith Harris bio:
    Judith Harris holds an MA from Brown University and a PhD in American literature from George Washington University. Her collections of poetry include NIGHT GARDEN (Tiger Bark Press, 2013) ATONEMENT (LSU, 2000) and THE BAD SECRET (LSU, 2006). Her highly acclaimed critical study SIGNIFYING PAIN: CONSTRUCTING AND HEALING THE SELF THROUGH WRITING (2003) was published by SUNY Press (2003). Her poems have appeared in The Nation, The Atlantic, Slate, the New Republic, The American Scholar, American Life in Poetry and The New York Times Education Blog, The New York Times blog, and The Hudson Review . Her essays have been published Tikkun, College English, Psychoanalysis, Society and Culture, the Washingtonian, and the The Writers Chronicle. She has also contributed to Graywolf anthologies After Confession (2001) and Simply Lasting: Writers on Jane Kenyon (2005) and to American Literature (2013). In 2006, she was chosen by then US Poet Laureate Donald Hall to read at the Library of Congress, and in 2010 was a discussant at the Folger Shakespeare Library. She has been nominated for Pushcart prizes, and is a recipient of arts grants from Carnegie Mellon and the DC Commission on the Arts. She has taught at George Washington, Catholic University, George Mason University, and American University, The Writer’s Center and has held residencies at VCCA and Frost Place. Judith is a recipient of the Yaddo Fellowship.
    E. Ethelbert Miller bio:
    E. Ethelbert Miller is a writer and literary activist. He was born in 1950 and grew-up in New York City. A graduate of Howard University, he was one of the first students at that institution to major in African American Studies. Today he is the board chair of the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive think tank located in Washington, D.C. Miller is the director of the African American Resource Center at Howard University. He is editor of POET LORE, the oldest poetry magazine published in the United States. In 1996, he was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Literature from Emory and Henry College. Mr. Miller has been a Fulbright Senior Specialist Program Fellow in 2004 and 2012. Miller is the founder and former chair of the Humanities Council of Washington, D.C. The author of several collections of poetry, he has also written two memoirs, FATHERING WORDS: THE MAKING OF AN AFRICAN AMERICAN WRITER (2000) and THE 5TH INNING (2009). FATHERING WORDS was selected by the D.C. Public Library for its DC WE READ, one book, one city program in 2003. In 2013, FATHERING WORDS will be released as an E book by Black Classic Press. Recently Mr. Miller began serving as host and producer of the television show THE SCHOLARS which airs on UDC-TV. In August 2012, he started writing E ON DC, a monthly newspaper column published by Capital Community News. Mr. Miller’s poetry has been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, German, Hungarian, Chinese, Farsi, Norwegian, Tamil and Arabic. Mr. Miller has taught at UNLV, American University, George Mason University, and Emory and Henry College. For several years he was a core faculty member with the Bennington Writing Seminars. Mr. Miller is often heard on National Public Radio.

8. Thomas Stanley

9. Ralph Eubanks

Sunday, October 27, 2013


You are in the third row of pictures,
one of three black faces. The newspaper lists your 
name and age. You find comfort knowing
everyone is younger than you.

You among the 25 shot and killed.
You not among the wounded or the broken.

Your eyes are filled with dusk. It was the bullet
entering your head from behind that
whispered to you. The shooter caught you
hiding under a table. It was what
adults did when the only fear
came from Russia. In school teachers told you
to turn your eyes away from windows. 

A second bullet reminds you of Nagasaki. It blinds 
your life into darkness. You sleep in Japanese.

E. Ethelbert Miller
Last week I got to see my old friend and scholar Dr. Carole Boyce Davies. She was in DC to give the Robert J. Cummings Lecture sponsored by the African Studies Department at Howard. Carole is a professor of English and Africana Studies at Cornell University. She is the author of the prize-winning Left of Karl Marx, The Political Life of Black Communist Claudia Jones (Duke University Press, 2008). Her new book Caribbean Spaces: Escapes from Twilight Zones will soon be available from the University of Illinois Press. Go to:

When she spoke at Howard, Carole read an excerpt from the new book. Her topic was " Black Consciousness, African Studies and HU." So funny and sweet to hear her making reference to the role I played in her life. I love when footnotes recall the hugs from the past.

Dr. Carole Boyce Davies photo by Ethelbert

Do not leave the arena to the fools.

    - Toni Cade Bambara

openness is our greatest human resource
october 2013
rebecca walkerrebecca walker subhed

It's Finally Here: My First Novel.

Adé: A Love Story will arrive next week, and I could not be more excited to share this book with you!
My first novel—hopefully on its way into your hands and heart very soon.

People Are Saying

“If you've ever dared to love outside the predictable geography of your origins, or wished you had, Rebecca Walker's beautiful new novel,Adé, will grab your heart and not let go.”
— Bliss Broyard, author of One Drop: My Father's Hidden Life-A Story of Race and Family Secrets
“I want to say Adé reads like a memoir, but this heartbreaking, poetic tale of romance versus reality does more than that: it reads like truth.Lush, sensual, seductiveAdé is written with as much love as the story it tells.”
— Mat Johnson, author of Pym
“In luminous, dreamlike prose, Rebecca Walker has written more than a love story: Adé explores the difficulty of fleeing one’s origins, of relinquishing privilege, even in the name of love.”
— Danzy Senna, author of You Are Free and Caucasia
“Brief and intense, Adé is a surprise gem—a sensuous feast of food, sex, danger and the life of awakened senses from one of our most celebrated nonfiction writers. A lyrical novel as timeless as Marguerite Duras’ The Lover.
— Molly Peacock, author of The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins Her Life's Work at 72

Pre-Order and Land Us on the List!

Adé: A Love Story is out October 29th. Pre-order your copy onAmazon today and be the first to dig into what Kirkus named one of the most anticipated fall reads! With enough pre-orders, we can landAdé on the New York Times Bestseller List and make sure it reaches readers across the globe.
Click here to be part of the #Adé movement.
Always love,

Saturday, October 26, 2013


I thought my memoir workshop at the F.Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference (Rockville, Maryland) went well today. I arrived around 2:10 PM and got to chat with fellow writers Merrill Leffler and James Grady. I taught a memoir workshop at the conference back in 2011. That one was called "Mining the Mind for Memories. Today the title was "When the memoir knocks on your door - will you answer?" All the participants (7) were woman, several had careers as journalists. We talked about the many problems people have just getting started. I shared excerpts from Yarn by Kyoko Mori and Chronicles by Bob Dylan. I packed several memoirs to exhibit during my talk.I thought it was nice to have a display of titles in the front of the room. People need to touch books.

Here are the other titles I shared today:

The Blessing by Gregory Orr
Harry Belafonte, My Song by Harry Belafonte (with Michael Shnayerson)
For God and Country by James Yee
Mentor, A memoir by Tom Grimes
My Sky Blue Trades by Sven Birkerts


F. Scott Fitzgerald

                                925 U Street NW · Washington, D.C. 20001 · (202) 387-8391 · Fax (202) 387-8149

October 24, 2013                                                          
The Humanities Council of Washington, D.C. Presents

Tuesday, November 12th at 6:30 pm at Busboys and Poets (14th & V), 2021 14th Street NW Admission is Free.

The Humanities Council of Washington, D.C. (HCWDC) is pleased to present Margaret Wrinkle, author of Wash, in conversation with writer, scholar and preservationist Natalie Hopkinson, author of Go-Go Live: The Musical Life and Death of a Chocolate City and Deconstructing Tyrone.

Published by Grove/Atlantic, Wash re-examines slavery in ways that challenge our many assumptions about race, history, power and healing as it moves from the American South to West Africa and deep into the ancestral stories that reside in the soul. Using Wash, along with 12 Years a Slave, as a springboard, Wrinkle and Hopkinson will explore the relevance of these historical stories to current issues of race and reconciliation in contemporary society.

Join this ongoing and essential conversation by registering at  To register by phone, please call 202-387-8391. RSVPs are encouraged but not required. For further information, visit This event is co-sponsored by the African American Resource Center at Howard University.

Haunting, tender and superbly measured, Wash is both redemptive and affirming.  
The New York Times Book Review

A seventh-generation Southerner, Wrinkle was born in Birmingham during the summer of 1963, right after Dr. King’s campaign and just before the bombing that killed four girls at the 16th Street Baptist church. “When people ask me how I came to write the book,” she says. “I feel that this story has been coming for me all along, thanks to the charged racial landscape into which I was born.” 

Wash has been named a finalist for the Center for Fiction’s Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize and nominated for the Crook’s Corner Prize for debut Southern novel.  It is a New York Times Editors’ Choice, an O Magazine Top Ten Pick and a People 4 star pick.  Wash has also been selected as a Great Group Read by Indie Bound and by National Reading Group Month.

Along the Tennessee frontier, in the early 1800s, two men and one woman find themselves locked in an intimate power struggle. Richardson, a troubled Revolutionary War veteran, has spent his life fighting to build an empire.  When the pressures of debt threaten this dream, he sets Washington, a young man he owns, to work as his breeding sire. Wash, the first member of his family born into slavery, struggles to find solace through the spiritual teachings from his shamanic West African mother. As he navigates the treacherous currents of his position, despair leads him to a potent healer named Pallas. Their tender love unfolds against this turbulent backdrop as she inspires him to forge a new understanding of his heritage. When Wash and Richardson find themselves at a crossroads, all three lives are pushed to the brink. Written as an accusation, a revelation, and a prayer, this boundary-crossing novel questions all differences of blood and belief, erasing even the line between the living and the dead, as it illuminates this buried shard of our national story.


About Margaret Wrinkle
Margaret Wrinkle has a BA and an MA in English from Yale University and has studied creative writing with Pinckney Benedict, Dennis Covington, and AJ Verdelle.  She has also studied traditional West African spiritual practices with Malidoma Somé. Her award-winning documentary called broken\ground, made with Chris Lawson about the racial divide in her historically conflicted hometown, was featured on NPR’s Morning Edition and was a winner of the Council on Foundations Film Festival. Wrinkle taught in elementary and middle schools in Birmingham and worked in the West Bank as an academic specialist for the U.S. Information Agency. She also attended the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Amnesty Hearings in South Africa. These experiences led her to see how the patterns laid down during slavery still affect us today. Wrinkle is also the recipient of the inaugural Dora Franklin Finley African-American Heritage Trail of Mobile 2013 Griot Award. Visit
About Natalie Hopkinson
Natalie Hopkinson is author of "Go-Go Live" (Duke University Press, 2012) and co-author of "Deconstructing Tyrone" (2006, Cleis Press). A graduate of Howard University, she earned her PhD from the University of Maryland-College Park.  A former writer and editor with the Washington Post and The Root, she is a widely published essayist and serves on the adjunct faculty at Georgetown University's School of Continuing Studies. She is currently a fellow of the Interactivity Foundation and a co-founder of the Freshwater Project, a black historic preservation project in West Palm Beach, FL. Visit


About Humanities Council of Washington, D.C.

The Humanities Council of Washington, DC (HCWDC) transforms lives through the power of the Humanities. As a far-reaching community catalyst, we build bridges between multiple and diverse neighborhoods to affirm and enliven the human spirit, promote cross-cultural understanding, enrich the quality of life, and foster intellectual stimulation. Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and public and private partners, we support local humanities projects and Council initiated programs.

Interview with Jericho Brown

Friday, October 25, 2013

Hello, fellow writers!

November is coming round again, and that means it's time for National Novel 
Writing Month! (NaNoWriMo) People all over the world will attempt to write a 
50,000 word draft novel in 30 days. The DC Public Library is officially 
participating this year, and if you finish your 50,000 word goal by November 30, 
we have some great prizes for you.   How would you like to see your completed 
NaNoWriMo draft in print? The library now owns an Expresso book printing machine 
which will be available to finishers.

There are 9 DC libraries around the city participating this year: Benning, Chevy 
Chase, Francis Gregory, Georgetown, Martin Luther King, Shepherd Park, Takoma 
Park, West End, and Watha T Daniel/Shaw.  Each location will have different 
writing nights available so you can always have a place to work.  Takoma Park 
will have the meeting room reserved for quiet writing on Monday nights from 6-9 
pm. (please note we're closed Monday, Nov. 11 for Veterans' Day.)  We'll have 
coffee available.  We also have a few laptops we can loan to writers with 
advance notice.

To participate, register for Nanowrimo through Nano’s website here:  If you have any trouble, we can help you when 
you get here.

In order to win prizes, (more motivation to complete your goal!) also register 
with DCPL when you come to write.  If you complete 50,000 words by the end of 
November, you will receive:

1)      A DCPL Tote Bag
2)      A DCPL Come Write In bound journal
3)      2 Pens
4)      A DCPL Flash Drive
5)      The Finish-It Toolkit - which is a punch card to the Digital Commons 
a.       A class in creating cover art
b.      A class in typsetting & preparing their book for production
c.       A printed copy of their book from the Espresso Book Machine

Please forward to anyone you think might be interested.
Thanks, hope to see you writing soon!

Heather Petsche
Interim Branch Manager
Takoma Park Neighborhood Library
DC Public Library
416 Cedar St NW
Washington, DC 20012
Connect with us on Facebook at

2nd National US Conference on Adult Literacy at the Hyatt Regency (400 New Jersey Avenue, Washington, DC

Reading and Writing in an Increasingly Digital World

Panelists: Barbara Stripling, President, American Library Association (2013-14); E. Ethelbert Miller, Director, African American Resource Center, Howard University; Charles Benton, Chairman of the Board, Benton Foundation

Moderator: Tony Sarmiento, Executive Director, Senior Service America

Changes in the job market and larger society continue to shape the literacy needs and interests of adult learners. Even since the previous USCAL conference just two years ago, there have been dramatic shifts in how and why Americans are using the Internet, according to recent surveys by the Pew Research Center. For example, unlike two years ago, a majority of all Americans (including African Americans and Hispanic Americans) now own a smartphone of some kind. Smartphone usage is particularly high among younger adults, especially those in their twenties and thirties. Also, two-thirds who are online use social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, including 83 percent of young adults between 18 and 29.

What does this suggest about the reading and writing skills needed to work, raise families, and participate fully in an increasingly digital world? Which Americans are increasingly at risk of being left behind? What do these trends mean for literacy advocates and educators who are committed to meeting the needs and interests of adult learners? This panel will explore these issues and lead a discussion of these questions.
LocationCongressional A

10:15 -11:45 AM

 See more at:

Photo by Phiwokuhle Mnyandu

E. Ethelbert Miller in the Browsing Room, Founders Library, Howard University


Tricycle Daily Dharma October 25, 2013

The Truth About Gossip

When talking about others is motivated by thoughts of ill will, jealousy, or attachment, conversations turn into gossip. These thoughts may seem to be subconscious, but if we pay close attention to our mind we’ll be able to catch them in the act. Many of these are thoughts that we don’t want to acknowledge to ourselves, let alone to others, but my experience is that when I become courageous enough to notice and admit them, I’m on my way to letting them go.
- Thubten Chodron, “The Truth About Gossip”

Ethnic Literature and the Ethnic Perspectives on Literature:
The 2nd International Symposium on Ethnic Literature

Wuhan, China   Oct 25-26, 2014

Ethnicity and race serve not only as objects of literary research but perspectives on literature. To promote an international scholarly interest in ethnicity, we sincerely invite scholars from all over the world to explore this topic at the 2nd International Symposium on Ethnic Literature at Central China Normal University, Wuhan, China, from October 25 to 26, 2014.The first symposium in Wuhan, China, in December 2009, was devoted mainly to African American Literature. The 2nd symposium will focus on the broader topic of “Ethnic Literature and the Ethnical Perspectives on Literature,” with the following subtopics:

  1. Ethnic Literature: Theoretical Reflections
  2. Ethnic Literature and National Narrative
  3. Ethnic Perspectives on Literature
  4. American Ethnic Literature
  5. British Ethnic Literature
  6. Canadian Ethnic Literature
  7. Asian Ethnicity in English Literature 

The abstract of the conference paper is expected to be submitted by July 15, 2014, to the conference organizing committee at The official invitation will be sent by mail or e-mail within one week after the reception and acceptance of the abstract.
The full text of the conference paper must be sent to the conference organizing committee by September 15, 2014, so that PDFs of papers can be made available to invited participants.

For more information, please contact Prof. Luo Lianggong and Prof Fang Xingfu at
Address: School of Foreign Languages, Central China Normal University
                152 Luoyu Road, Wuhan, Hubei 430079, China

Phone: 86-138-8606 704886-27-6786 5655