Monday, October 20, 2014


10/20/2014 11:39 AM EDT

Saturday, October 25, 1:45 PM

Pulitzer Prize finalist and Texas state Poet Laureate Dean Young discusses favorite poems with Poetry and Literature Center Head Robert Casper. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, please visit

Location: Capitol Auditorium Room E1.004, Texas State Capitol Extension, 1100 Congress Avenue, Austin, TX
Contact: (202) 707-5394



The Goucher Prison Education Partnership (GPEP) invites you to an information session for individuals interested in supporting students who are incarcerated.  GPEP offers Goucher College courses and college preparatory courses to students at two Maryland prisons. 

Interested in working with GPEP during the Spring 2015 semester? Be sure to attend one of the following information sessions: 

 Sunday November 9, 2014 from 6:00 – 8: 00 PM or
Sunday November 23, 2014 from 6:00 – 8: 00 PM

Hoffberger 137
Goucher College 
1021 Dulaney Valley Rd.
Baltimore, MD 21204


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Breaking from
Pope Francis: Church Should Not Fear Change

Pope Francis has closed an assembly of Catholic bishops that revealed deep divisions on how to respond to homosexuality and divorce, saying on Sunday the Church should not be afraid of change and new challenges.

Francis, who has said he wants a more merciful and less rigid Church, made his comments in a sermon to some 70,000 people in St. Peter's Square for the ceremonial closing of a two-week assembly, known as a synod.
Read More Here

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Today was a beautiful fall day. I did some yard work and then took a walk around the neighborhood.

I walked from Brentwood to Petworth. I made a short stop at Culture Coffee (709 Kennedy Street, NW). I wanted to see where this new black-owned coffee shop was located. Down the street around 8th and Kennedy - Brandon Kramer and crew were shooting a documentary film. Kramer is the co-founder of Meridian Hill Pictures. I spoke with them for a few minutes and then headed down to Petworth Citizen ( on Upshur Street) to grab a burger and talk with a friend. I felt like Wendell Berry taking a stroll; if only I knew all the names of the leaves and trees. Maybe I could write poems that had wings or could laugh with clouds.

Brandon Kramer and Crew photo by Ethelbert


It was good to see Nicholas Basbanes again. He was the featured speaker yesterday at the Library of Congress - National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest Awards Ceremony. Basbanes is the author of A GENTLE MADNESS: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books. During his talk Basbanes made reference to the work of Charles Blockson. The few times I met and laughed with Blockson he always reminded me of Robeson. In these digital times how many of us are still collectors and people of the book?  In A GENTLE MADNESS Basbanes writes about Blockson as well as Arthur Alfonso Schomburg. Let's continue the tradition.

Nicholas A. Basbanes photo by Ethelbert


A political debate shouldn't be a poetry slam. Yesterday I listened to the final debate between the 3 people running for mayor of D.C. It's obvious Catania is the best candidate. Put aside issues of race and temperament (and other distractions) and just give points on content. Catania gives the best answers to difficult questions. After years of writing and listening to poetry I know BS when I hear it.

This is what I keep hearing from people who run for high office in this city. People recite their resume before they shake your hand. Old ties to a city can sometimes be like old ties to a plantation.

At the end of the day one needs to dream about Canada and find a new narrative. I would never confuse Catania with John Brown but the city could use an abolitionist these days. I live in Ward 4 and have listened to Bowser. She's a nice person but she's not Tubman. Many of us will vote for the person we simply like - but should I vote for a person by listening to what my mother taught me?

Should I look to see if their shoes are polished or a slip is hanging?  Should I watch them chew their food at a local meet and greet?  Of course not. I once got my mother to vote for John Lindsay when he was running for mayor of New York. For the first time ever my mother voted for someone who wasn't a Democrat. So many years later - I ask you - do you want a pilot who knows how to fly a plane or do you want a flight attendant? I listen to Bowser and she only seems to be telling me to have a nice flight and our city and can do better. Come Monday however - I'm going to vote early and vote for Catania. I suggest everyone vote and put their mask on first -then help the citizen sitting beside you. Oh, and trust God and the pilot.

Friday, October 17, 2014


Rose Solari's new book arrived in the mail today. The title is THE LAST GIRL (Alan Squire Publishing). I wrote this blurb for her:

Solari's poems begin from the center of her heart. Word seduction, myth given life again, these poems descend from the sky as if there was another beautiful galaxy out there, just beyond our reach, breaking apart, poem by poem.


I attended a Noon program at the Library of Congress today.  I had the opportunity to see my dear friend Veronique Tadjo again. She is one of the leading contemporary African writers.She is a winner of Le Grand Prix litteraire d'Afrique noire.  We met many years ago when she had a Fulbright that brought her to Howard University. Tadjo is a woman of grace and genius. I love her work. She gave me a copy of her new novel - FAR FROM MY FATHER (translated from the French by Amy Baram Reid) published by the University of Virginia Press.

VERONIQUE TADJO photo by Ethelbert

Thursday, October 16, 2014


At the Tuesday reception held before the 38th Annual Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award I found myself suddenly talking with Pramila Jayapal. It was as if we had met in another life and was back in the middle of an old conversation. This woman is simply amazing. I could listen to her all day. I hope people will vote for her in November. Here is a link to her website.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


How soon before everyone has a temperature gun? Will they become as popular as cellphones? Fear always create a market for something.

Remember when Scuds created a demand for gas masks? So who is going to cash in on this Walmart?


IPS 38th Annual Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Awards

Each year we honor people and organizations at the LM Human Rights Awards ceremony who speak for the many who are silent, invisible or dead. We give awards to people who never turned their backs on hope or believed prisons and torture would make them confess to despair. It is beautiful to see men and woman who still love - and love deeply. Too often we see our rights as air - as if to simply breathe is an introduction to freedom. What I realize each year is that what we do at IPS is not just important - but essential.  What took place on September 21, 1976 is not just history but memory.The deaths of Letelier and Moffitt created a narrative that today we share - for comfort and strength. Memory is a reminder not to forget. What begins in struggle is often life-giving and transformative. Our stories will always be one of solidarity. It will be stories of how truth stopped to lean against us for support. How we find time year after year to comfort the survivors - which is all of us.

Bless our courage and dedication to do more.

E. Ethelbert Miller
IPS Board Chair


To everybody,

I want to let you know that the Potter's House Mural, "The Light of the World," is gone. It was painted over with beige paint today Tuesday October 13, 2014 between 1:00 and 4:00 pm. The first coat was applied at around 1:00 pm and the second coat was applied between 3:00 and 4:00 pm.

I just want to say thank you to all the people who supported the mural. Thank you for your letters of support and your gracious comments supporting the preservation of the mural. I guess all of these signs of support and appreciation were not enough to save it.

However, I am very thankful to all of you for your support! Thanks to all of you who signed the electronic petition and the paper petition and who gave me moral support. 
There was not a day that went by without a person stopping me on Columbia Road or calling me on the phone or emailing me, asking me about the status of the mural and giving me words of encouragement and telling me they hoped the mural would stay. This means a lot to me!

I feel very thankful to have seen all of these signs of support and appreciation.

I did delivered the electronic petition and the comments in favor of preserving the mural to the President of the Board of Directors and asked her to give it to all the Board Members. They told me that all the board members got the package with the comments of the petition and that they would review it. They even formed a committee to review the decision on the mural.
But now the mural is gone.

From the bottom of my heart, Thank you so very much for all your support!
Thanks to the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities for their letter of support. (I delivered your letter to the Board of Directors of the Potter's House).
Thanks to all the newspapers who wrote articles about the Potter's House Mural!
Thanks to John Carter for your wonderful letter of Support and to all who wrote letters!

I will make a postcard with the picture of the mural to remember the image of the candle. The mural served a good purpose, which was to bring joy to people and they told me that the mural touched the hearts of people, so in that regard, I am glad and I am content that my purpose as an artist was fulfilled.

I will post videos of the mural on my website very soon.

Thank you all!
May God bless you all! And may the Universal Light keep shining on, in our hearts.
May the Light prevail forever.
Truly yours, a friend and a servant of the arts,
-Karlisima Rodas - Israel
Wishing you Blessings,Harmony, Peace, Love, Happiness & Joy
Karla C. Karlisima Rodas-Israel
Muralist Artist, Designer & Art Teacher


I keep telling people Michon might just be the best political writer in the city without a big fan base. Michon writes while too many simply talk.  It's time to visit the Boston Market for good ideas and analysis.

Michon Boston photo by Ethelbert

John Berryman at 100

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


VQR Emerging Writers
at PEN/Faulkner in DC

In honor of our Fall 2014 issue, themed "Breaking Through," we're delighted to cohost with the PEN/Faulkner Foundation an evening of conversation with four gifted writers from our pages who are at the start of their careers: Tope FolarinOnyinye IhezukwuGreg Jackson, and Brendan McKennedyAnn Beattie will moderate.

The event begins at 7:30 P.M., Friday, October 17 at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC.

Folger Shakespeare Library

201 East Capitol St. NE
Washington, DC

7:30 P.M.

 for the event are $15 and can be purchased online here.

Note: Tickets are available at the Folger Box Office; the event is at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation across the street.
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Acclaimed short-story writer and novelist Ann Beattie will moderate the conversation, and the authors will read selections from their short stories in our Fall 2014 issue.
Tope Folarin won the 2013 Caine Prize for African Writing for his story “Miracles.” In 2014, he was named to Africa39’s list of the most promising African writers under forty.

Onyinye Ihezukwu was born and raised in Nigeria, where she worked as a journalist and broadcaster. She is a Poe/Faulkner fellow at the MFA program in creative writing at the University of Virginia, where she won the 2014 Henfield Prize.

Greg Jackson has been a Fiction Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center and a Henry Hoyns Fellow at the MFA program in creative writing at the University of Virginia, where he won the 2012 Henfield Prize. His fiction has appeared in the New Yorker, and his first story collection, Prodigals, is forthcoming.

Brendan McKennedy, a former fiction editor at the Greensboro Review, has published short stories in Epoch, PANK, and Night Train. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina-Greensboro MFA program.


Congrats to Noura Erakat winner of the 2014 Washington Peace Center Activist Award

Noura Erakat photo by Ethelbert