Friday, February 28, 2014


Next to my desk this morning is Reetika Vazirani's typewriter.  The computer she once owned is downstairs. They were given to me yesterday by Reetika's mom. I plan to contact William & Mary College and see if they are interested in having the typewriter. That's where all the letters Reetika wrote to me are kept. I'm sitting next to Reetika's typewriter and it's like being in the airport with luggage next to your seat. Where did Reetika go?  Will she ever return to claim it?  What if typewriters could talk?  What would this one say?  Would it tell me more about Reetika's poems than I would ever know?   What secrets would be revealed if I just touched the keys?  I miss my friend - the laughter - the closeness - the way our heads and backs once rocked back and forth on the campus of Bennington.The sun out that day - we felt its warmth and the warmth from each other. Feeling the back of her head against mine I confessed that I now knew where her poems came from. Reetika and I continued rocking...
Now her typewriter looks at me as I write this.

Poem for RV

when you leave
i realize how much
my life needs air
and how much loving
you would be a reason
for living   why are
you so beautiful?
why do i desire you as
much as air?

from FIRST LIGHT by E. Ethelbert Miller
Black Classic Press, 1994



Photo by John Parks

Denise and Ethelbert photo by John Parks

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


The March issue of The Washingtonian has a feature on the writers' rooms of 9 well know authors who live in the area.

The writers are:

Susan Richards Shreve
David Baldacci
E. Ethelbert Miller
Howard Norman
Alice McDermott
Michael Collier
Rachel Louise Snyder
Susan Coll
John Feinstein


On March 11, 2011, the world experienced its worst nuclear power disaster to date. Triggered by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake—the fifth most powerful in recorded history—the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear disaster revealed, among other dangers, the folly of storing huge amounts of highly radioactive spent fuel in pools vulnerable to disruption.

Please join us for a conversation with IPS' John Cavanagh and Bob Alvarez on Friday, March 7 at 12:00 pm ET to discuss the ramifications of the Fukushima disaster, including:  
  • What we now know happened in terms of the safety lapses and causes of the accident
  • What it will take to stabilize and remediate the Fukushima site
  • Safety implications for the U.S. nuclear power fleet
  • What is being done and not being done in the U.S. following the Fukushima disaster
  • Unreported co-dependence of the U.S. with Japan's nuclear industry
  • Plutonium-laden spent power reactor fuel in Japan and its safety and non-proliferation implications
  • The impacts of the Fukishima disaster on the future of nuclear power
Bob Alvarez, a former senior Energy Department official on nuclear issues and IPS Senior Scholar, is the author of numerous studies on the dangers of nuclear power and is widely quoted in the media on the Fukushima disaster.

John Cavanagh is the director of the Institute for Policy Studies and the co-author of numerous books and articles on the global economy.
Fukushima at Three: Folklore vs. Facts
Friday, March 7, 2013
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm ET
You can participate in the webinar by phone, with a webcam, or in-person with us in the conference room of the Institute for Policy Studies (1112 16th Street NW, Suite 600, Washington DC, 20039.)

To RSVP for the Webinar:
Please RSVP to Hollie at by writing an email with the subject: "RSVP for March 7 webinar."
To Participate:
With a webcam:
  1. Go to:
  2.  Use your microphone and speakers (VoIP) - a headset is recommended.
By phone:
  1. Dial +1 (312) 878-3080
  2. Access Code: 214-268-357
  3. Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting
  4. Meeting ID: 214-268-357
We hope to see you there!




Nation’s Oldest Poetry Journal, Poet Lore, Celebrates 125 Years in Print
Anniversary marks a milestone in American literary history

BETHESDA, MARYLAND (February 25, 2014)—Poet Lore, the nation’s oldest poetry journal, will celebrate 125 years of publishing excellence throughout 2014. With support from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Poet Lore is marking its anniversary with a year of special events and initiatives, including partnerships with the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Library of Congress.

"Poet Lore…[has] had a remarkable who's who of the poetry world grace its pages,” says Supriya Bhatnagar, editor of The Writer’s Chronicle.  The magazine was founded in 1889 by Charlotte Porter and Helen Clarke, two progressive young Shakespeare scholars with a keen eye for new genius. They featured such literary luminaries as Rainer Maria Rilke, Paul Verlaine, Rabindranath Tagore, Frederic Mistral, and Stéphane Mallarmé at a time when few American readers knew their names. Poet Lore also published many women poets,  including Harriet Monroe (who went on to found Poetry magazine in 1912) and Sara Teasdale; and its editors were among the first to recognize and describe the gifts of Emily Dickinson and Paul Laurence Dunbar, now-iconic American voices that were widely misunderstood at the time.  Walt Whitman, an enthusiastic Poet Lore subscriber, corresponded with its founders and placed ads for Leaves of Grass in three issues.

In more recent decades, Poet Lore has maintained its reputation for editorial discovery, publishing the early work of many now-famous contemporary American poets, including Kim Addonizio, David Baker, Cornelius Eady, Carolyn Forché, Dana Gioia, Terrance Hayes, D. Nurkse, Sharon Olds, Mary Oliver, Linda Pastan, Carl Phillips, R.T. Smith, and current U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey.

Poet Lore introduces readers to poetry that makes the concerns of our moment both urgent and intimate. "History provides a record of human events, but poetry provides a record of human feeling,” says executive editor Jody Bolz. "I think that's why so many people turn to it in transformational moments—at weddings and coming-of-age ceremonies and funerals—and in times of national celebration and crisis. Poet Lore's editors have always aimed to publish poems that aren't merely of or for one cultural moment but might, in fact, outlast it. Ethelbert Miller and I are honored to be part of that meaningful work."

Co-editors since 2002, Bolz and Miller have established two popular new features, “Poets Introducing Poets” and “World Poets in Translation,” to showcase portfolios by poets who deserve wider recognition—and every issue of the magazine places new and well-known poets side by side, from those just breaking into print to former and current US poets laureate.

Poet Lore’s 125th anniversary programming and events will include:

•    Poet Lore at the CityLit Festival, April 12, 2014, at the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore, Maryland. Poet Lore will showcase two emerging voices from its pages, as well as the winner of a contest co-sponsored with the Enoch Pratt Free Library.  The CityLit Festival, co-sponsored by CityLit Project and Enoch Pratt Free Library, is Baltimore's daylong celebration of literature. Free Admission.

•    “ World Poets in Translation” Celebration at the Library of Congress, featuring the work of Burmese poet U Tin Moe, April 2014 (date TBA), Washington, D.C. In recognition of Poet Lore’s 2014 “World Poets in Translation” portfolio, this evening event will present the poems of Myanmar’s U Tin Moe in its original language and in English by translator Christopher Merrill of the University of Iowa. Free Admission.

•    Special 125th Anniversary Issue of Poet Lore.  The Fall/Winter 2014 issue of Poet Lore will be released in September 2014 and feature a portfolio of historical perspectives on the journal’s legacy.

•    Poet Lore’s 125th Anniversary Reading at the Folger Shakespeare Library, September 15, 2014, Washington, D.C.  Poet Lore's editors will mark the journal’s milestone anniversary with a gala reading by four generations of Poet Lore poets—Linda Pastan, Cornelius Eady, Terrance Hayes, and Traci Brimhall.  A reception and book signing will follow the event.

•    Editorial Workshops:  “From the Editor’s Desk: Poet Lore at The Writer’s Center,” June-July 2012. In honor of Poet Lore’s anniversary, The Writer’s Center will offer one-day workshops in Bethesda, MD, with three of Poet Lore’s editors. This series will bring Poet Lore’s mission of literary discovery to life as students learn firsthand how to craft and present pieces worthy of publication.  

•    Military Outreach.  Funding from the NEA is enabling Poet Lore to distribute two issues of the magazine—Fall/Winter 2013 and Spring/Summer 2014—to nine bases across the nation for use by military personnel and community members.

•    Support of the African Poetry Book Fund.  Poet Lore is donating a reserve of unused journals to the African Poetry Book Fund for distribution to five library locations in Botswana, Kenya, Uganda, The Gambia, and Ghana. 

#          #          #

Poet Lore is published biannually by The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, MD, and edited by E. Ethelbert Miller and Jody Bolz. For more, please visit:  Also, visit us on Facebook.  Both editors are available for interviews; for media inquiries please email

POET LORE | THE WRITER’S CENTER | 4508 Walsh Street | Bethesda, MD 20815 

Phone: 301.654.8664

Media contact: Genevieve DeLeon,



Yes, it was 50 years ago Cassius Clay shocked Sonny Liston – and just about every boxing expert – to take the Heavyweight Championship.

Is Andy Shallal about to shock the political world of DC?

Vote on April 1st.  Help make history.

Time to float like a butterfly -sting like a bee - and vote for Andy!

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

      - Arthur C. Clarke

Monday, February 24, 2014


February 24, 2014
Postcardsby E. Ethelbert Miller 

When was the last time you mailed a postcard?
My mother kept the ones I sent her. My sister mailed them
to me after my mother died. I had forgotten I had written
so many small notes to my mother. The price of stamps
kept changing. I was always mentioning on the back of cards
I was having a good time. I can remember the first time
I lied to my mother. It was something small maybe the size
of a postcard. I went somewhere I was not supposed to go.
I told my mother I was at the library but I was with Judy
that afternoon. Her small hand inside my hand.
I was beginning to feel something I knew I would never write
home about.
Copyright © 2014 by E. Ethelbert Miller. Used with permission of the author.
About This Poem 
"My mother died on November 28, 2010. Months later my sister sent me things my mother had saved over the years. Old letters and postcards sent from various places I visited. I think my mother enjoyed collecting stamps. I like this poem because there is reference to Judy, a young Chinese girl I was in love with back in the early sixties. Judy's race or color is not mentioned in the poem. It was a small secret. Everything seems small when one looks back at the past. Is an entire life no larger than a postcard or stamp?"

--E. Ethelbert Miller  
Most Recent Book by Miller

(Black Classic Books, 2012)  

Launched during National Poetry Month in 2006, Poem-A-Day features new and previously unpublished poems by contemporary poets on weekdays and classic poems on weekends. Browse the Poem-A-Day Archive.  
E. Ethelbert Miller is the author of numerous books of poetry, most recently First Light: New and Selected Poems (Black Classic Books, 2012). He lives in Washington, D.C.

Related Poems
A blurry photograph
by Martha Ronk
The Things
by Donald Hall
Picking Up
by Evelyn Duncan 

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Thanks for being a part of the Academy of American Poets community. To learn about other programs, including National Poetry Month, Poem in Your Pocket Day, the annual Poets Forum, and more, visit


Sunday, February 23, 2014


For information contact: Jennifer King 202/994-0628

A SPLENDID WAKE: PART II: UNUSUAL LITERARY PROGRAM TO TAKE PLACE MARCH 21, 6:30-8:00 P.M., Gelman Library, George Washington University, Suite 702, 2130 H Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. Free and Open to the Public!

"In the Shadow of the Capitol" is just one of three unusual literary topics to be discussed March 21 at George Washington University’s Gelman Library.

Part of "A Splendid Wake," a project to document poets and literary movements in the nation’s capital from 1900-present, poets and panelists will report on experimental contemporary poetry, warrior poetry projects, and on D.C.’s African-American intellectual/creative activity during years of segregation in Washington.

Moderating the experimental poetry panel will be poet, writer and performer Silvana Straw. Panelists Magus Magnus, Poets Theatre and "nonmainstream poetics," Natalie Illum, activist, poet and storyteller, a producer of "Capturing Fire," and Derrick Weston Brown, Cave Canem Fellow and founder of "The Nine on the Ninth" reading series, will discuss language poetry, women's community, spoken word, and slam.

The panel on Veterans’ Poetry will feature Sunil Freeman, Assistant Director of The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Frederick Foote, M.D., Director of the Warrior Poetry Project at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and Maritza Rivera, an Army veteran, poet, and participant in the Warrior Poetry Project.

"In the Shadow of the Capitol," with Jim Beall, astrophysicist, poet, and project administrator of the original oral history project, will provide a glimpse of the two-day event by that name, which occurred in 1981 at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Transcripts of this conference serve as an invaluable treasury of eye-witness African American history. James Counts Early, Director of Cultural Heritage Policy at the Smithsonian Institution, will speak about Sterling Brown.

Annual programs of "A Splendid Wake" are scheduled on the vernal equinox, as an ongoing effort to provide a living repository.
Gelman Librarian Jennifer King launched the digital archive for "A Splendid Wake" in 2013 ( http://wikis.library.gwu/dcpoetry/index.php/Main_Page ).

 The Wiki is open to contributions of information about the diverse and unique life of poetry that evolved and continues in and around the nation’s capital. Additionally, a blog is available headed by Karren Alenier at

Andy4DC Logo

Did you know that this year, the office in charge of helping formerly incarcerated men and women find jobs will only have about $10,000 to work with after salaries?
Andy won over the crowd at the Returning Citizens Candidate Forum on Feb. 21stwhen he announced that his Busboys and Poets Restaurants have hired returning citizens and his businesses have “banned the box” on job applications that require an applicant to disclose a criminal record.
Other candidates can say they are for helping returning citizens, but only Andy speaks from experience.  
“Where is the welcome mat for the 60,000 returning citizens who face tremendous obstacles to getting a job, finding housing and becoming productive members in their communities?” Andy asked.
If you have friends or family who are undergoing similar hardships, please share this message and help us win the primary election on April 1. To see Andy in action, click here to check out our events calendar.
If you would like to volunteer your time to greeting voters, making calls or organize more volunteers, please click here to use our volunteer calendar.
                                             *                *                  *      
The next major candidate forum this week will be hosted by WAMU 88.5 FM. The forum, which will be held on Wednesday Feb. 24, 7pm – 9 pm, will be broadcast and filmed. It will be moderated by Kojo Nnamdi, host of the popular Politics Hour.We hope you will tune in and tell your friends!
All the best,
Dwight Kirk
Communications Director
Paid for by Committee to Elect Andy Shallal. Robin Weiss, Treasurer. 


Good weather and good friendship today. Much laughter as the "Bert & Bev Show" hit Silver Spring and Takoma Park, Maryland.


LONNIE BUNCH: A man with a Race on his shoulders

The Scholars: An Interview with Lonnie Bunch- founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture


Andy, Phillipa and Ethelbert


Saturday, February 22, 2014




The Joaquin Miller Summer Poetry Series seeks poets for the 2014 readings.  Send 5 poems, brief bio, name, address, email, phone, and SASE to Rosemary Winslow, Department of English, Catholic University, Washington, D.C. 20064.  Deadline:  Postmarked 3/31/2014.

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Legacy of Hugo Chavez at Home and Abroad

Wednesday, February 26, 2014, 7:00pm

Bolivarian Hall, 2443 Massachusetts Ave, NW Washington DC 20008

Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director of CEPR (Center for Economic and Policy 

Dan Kovalik, Adjunct Professor of International Human Rights at the 
University of Pittsburgh

Venezuelan official

Moderator: James Early, Director of Cultural Heritage Policy at the 
Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage 

Event description:

March 5th will mark the one year anniversary of the passing of 
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez Frías.  Join us one week before this 
important date to pay tribute to him and the legacy he left the world.  
A panel discussion will focus on the political, social and economic 
impact that this Latin American leader had on the poor, social 
movements and governments alike in the US, Venezuela and the region.  
Since his passing there have been questions raised about the longevity 
and viability of many of the regional projects he spearheaded and the 
struggle for 21st century socialism. This will also be an important 
topic of discussion.  Current events in Venezuela will also be 
Olivia Burlingame Goumbri
Social Outreach Adviser
Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
1099 30th Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20007
Tel: 202-342-6854

Quote of the Day

I know I’m presumed to like African American poetry, but I find most of it written prior to the 1970s terribly uninteresting, and embarrassingly bad and corny (like most African American visual art), and imitative of better craftsmen of the Caucasian persuasion for the obvious reasons; however, some of the finest of what’s excellent in diverse Black voices is found in You Better Believe It. Sorry—but I’m not a big fan of Langston Hughes, even if I respect his “contribution” and voted for the stamp. I was invited to contribute to this anthology back in the day, but my naiveté and paranoia (at the time) kept me from submitting work. I’m now glad that I didn’t, because at that time my fledgling work was as bad as some of the worst in this collection. Thank goodness, I don’t have to live that down. Whew.

   - Wanda Coleman
The DMQ Review is pleased to announce the release of the Winter 2014 issue featuring the poetry of Jia Oak Baker, Sue D. Burton, Kathleen Boyle, Jonathan Cook, Jim Daniels, José Luis Gutiérrez, Mark Liebenow, Laura Marris, Rebecca Givens Rolland, Tara Skurtu, Carol Westberg, W. Vandoren Wheeler, and Amy Wright, with artwork by Wanda Waldera.
In collaboration with Peter Davis, editor of Poet’s Bookshelf: Contemporary Poets On Books That Shaped Their Art, Volumes I & II, the DMQ Review is also pleased to present the Bookshelf essay of Wanda Coleman, in memoriam, as our “Featured Poet.”
Check it out,
Sally Ashton, Editor in Chief
Editor: Marjorie Manwaring
Associate Editors: W. Todd Kaneko, Arlene Kim, Anne M. Doe Overstreet
Intern: Marta Svea
Poet’s Bookshelf  Editor: Peter Davis

Thursday, February 20, 2014


NBC4 IS SALUTING E. ETHELBERT MILLER next Wednesday, February 26th. 

A Public Conversation: Muslim Women and the Transformation of Art and Ideas, 03.06.2014
Free Event, but pre-registration is required.  Reception 6-7 pm


I have an television interview this morning with a Middle Eastern news service.  Need to catch-up on correspondence and prepare for a few public appearances and conversations.

Today I will be developing some questions for Ari Roth (Theater J/DC Community Jewish Center) who will be next guest on The Scholars. I want to explore how scholars interact with the theater community as well as examine the history of Theater J.

The latest issue of "Voice Male" magazine came in the mail yesterday. Rob Okun continues to do important work highlighting the politics of maleness. I'm happy to serve on his National Advisory Board. Here is a link:

Okun's new book is out - VOICE MALE: The Untold Story of the Profeminist Men's Movement. I have some work in this collection. The book can be ordered from Interlink Publishing:

A number of upcoming programs as well as a trip to Tennessee.  See future E-Notes.

A Howard University librarian recently gave me 3 cassette video tapes of a 1985 interview I conducted with the literary critic Stephen Henderson (author of Understanding the New Black Poetry). Now I have to find a way to view it. Oh, our changing technology.

February 20, 2014
On the Gallows Once
by Kofi Awoonor
I crossed quite a few
of your rivers, my gods,
into this plain where thirst reigns
I heard the cry of mourners
the long cooing of the African wren at dusk
the laughter of the children at dawn
had long ceased

night comes fast in our land

where indeed are the promised vistas
the open fields, blue skies, the singing birds
and abiding love?

History records acts
of heroism, barbarism
of some who had power
and abused it massively
of some whose progenitors
planned for them
the secure state of madness
from which no storm can shake them;
of some who took the last ships
disembarked on some far-off shores and forgot
of some who simply laid down the load
and went home to the ancestors
Reprinted from the forthcoming The Promise of Hope: New and Selected Poems, 1964-2013 by Kofi Awoonor by permission of the University of Nebraska Press. Copyright 2013 by the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska Press. 
About This Poem 
"In Awoonor's last poems, death is a constant source of meditation and reflection--the prospect of it allowing him to not just assess his own life, but the life of the world around him. Here, there is a marked sense of despair that is tempered only by the fact that in death, after crossing yet another river, he is able to talk to the ancestors and ask them hard questions about the legacy of human folly despite the occasional acts of genuine humanity. Awoonor has no answers to these questions, but as a poet, he must ask these questions. The gallows is the perfect symbol of a death that is precise, known, and inexorable, and the poet writes with the certainty of death as an urgent path to seek clarity, illumination, and wisdom."

--Kwame Dawes
Most Recent Book by Awoonor

(University of Nebraska Press, 2014)

Launched during National Poetry Month in 2006, Poem-A-Day features new and previously unpublished poems by contemporary poets on weekdays and classic poems on weekends. Browse the Poem-A-Day Archive.  
Kofi Awoonor (1935-2013)
wrote numerous books of poetry and prose. His posthumous poetry collection The Promise of Hope: New and Selected Poems is forthcoming from the University of Nebraska Press with a forward by Kwame Dawes. Awoonor was killed in a terrorist attack in Nairobi, Kenya, in September 2013.

Related Poems

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