Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year from Beltway Poetry Quarterly!

We begin 2008 with a rousing new issue of the journal, celebrating political poetry "borne out of a hunger." The Split This Rock Issue features seventeen poets who are participating in the upcoming festival of the same name, either as organizers or readers.

As co-editor Regie Cabico writes in his introduction, these poets sing "about gentrification, pop culture, immigration, war, heritage, disability, history and American iconography" to create a home "in the gut of a government that should hear, swallow, and ingest verses of provocation and witness."

Split This Rock Poetry Festival will take place in Washington, DC March 20-23, 2008. In addition to Beltway Poetry Quarterly, other co-sponsoring organizations include the Institute for Policy Studies, Sol and Soul, The White Crane Institute, Washington Friends of Walt Whitman, and Beloit Poetry Journal.

The Split This Rock Issue of Beltway Poetry Quarterly features poems by the following authors:

Winona Addison * Naomi Ayala * Sarah Browning * Grace Cavalieri * Teri Ellen Cross * Heather Davis * Joel Dias-Porter * Yael Flusberg * Brian Gilmore * E. Ethelbert Miller * Princess of Controversy * Tanya Snyder * Susan Tichey * Melissa Tuckey * Dan Vera * Rosemary Winslow * Kathi Wolfe

The Split This Rock Issue (Volume 9, Number 1), is co-edited by Regie Cabico and Kim Roberts. The issue is available online now at:

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The end of the year gets me a little nostalgic. Not sure about everyone else but time seems to literally be flying. I recall as a teenager figuring out that year 2002 would make me eighteen years old. For whatever reason eighteen sounds BIG and LIBERATING, and largely it was. Then 2003 happened, 2004, 2005 . . . and so on. It is important to be conscious of time as you move through and reflect in hindsight. Lately, I’ve pondered what can be carried into the future given modernity—the fleeting present—making things past and future. Perhaps, all that we can take with us from one year to the next are our memories and stories, remembering the unsaid as well as the said, remembering those whom we’ve hugged and later watched the earth hug their coffin as they transition to the other world. Here are some highlights of 2007 that I wish to share with you. If you have a 2007 moment you’d like to share, by all means, please send them to me.

Best Movie?

So far, my favorite film of 2007 is “Talk to Me.” This film saved me from being a cynic of black cinema. When you look at the mile-long list of crap that’s being produced and bankrolled it easily give me the impression that there are no intelligent black actors, directors, or writers out there. Obviously, this is not true; nonetheless, we need to push a little harder to get quality movies out there. Kudos to Oprah Winfrey and Denzel Washington for teaming up to create “The Great Debaters.”

Best Blog?

Tayari Jones has a marvelous blog It’s multifaceted, the entries extend beyond little post-it notes that so many bloggers tend to produce. The subject matter ranges from personal to political—yet all grounded in the writing life.

For local happenings and humorous commentary on politics and culture, I like to read E. Ethelbert’s blog. He’s a writer, but more than a writer he is an activist writer. You get critical commentary on matter of labor, politics, race, current events, job openings, causes one ought to know about. Become a part of the literary and activist world of E. Ethelbert Miller, check out his blog at

Best Moment?

The summer of ’07 was the greatest. I hopped on the Chinabus and went up to New York City to Central Park to hear Amiri Baraka and Sonia Sanchez read from their respective corpses, then a post-show conversation about how the Black Arts Movement began ensued. It was a highlight of the year. And, I got to see Asha Bandele and my teacher and poet-friend Tyehimba Jess.

I could go on and on but I would love it if my readers can tell me what their best CD of 2007 was? Best Books? Or any of bests they’d like to share.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ann Darr (1920-2007)

I received this note moments ago--

"We note with sadness the passing of Ann Darr, a prominent DC poet. Dryad Press has started an 'In Memoriam' page on their website that is terrific. The link reprints poems, and gives biographical information.

Though, I did not personally know Ms. Darr, I tend to look at the writing community as a body so when someone leaves that body, it's almost like suffering a lost limb or digit.

Merill Leffler, publisher of Dryad Press is accepting remembrances of Ann Darr; you may sent them to

Monday, December 3, 2007

I'm listening to Lauren Hill's Selah. It's a beautiful song. A good friend of mine first burned this song on a cd that she created just for me, on Valentine's day a few years back. She created an entire soundtrack for me. And in the playbook was this song with a note that read something like I think everyone feels as though they need to be "saved from themselves" sometimes. I think you do that for me when I need it: nagging me to sleep and eat all that. So, thanks... This one's for that.

Ain't it funny how one song can unlock the flood gates?

The weekend was spent writing papers. On Sunday, I visited a Buddhist community center and saw some of the happiest looking people I've ever seen. And they were very warm in welcoming me into their space. I love the idea that we are accountable for our happiness. That there is something in us that really can direct the kind of energy or results we want to see.

Back to writing papers.