“Poetry Out Loud” at Banneker

I became a convert. A couple of weeks ago, I served as a judge for the Poetry Out Loud competition at Washington, D.C.’s Banneker Senior High School and I became a convert. I used to think that poetry recitation contests were a little dry and that I’d rather use my energies to help students writeContinue reading ““Poetry Out Loud” at Banneker”

Yusef Komunyakaa’s Voice

I heard Yusef Komunyakaa read on Thursday night of this past week, at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. The reading was part of the Folger Shakespeare Library’s O.B. Hardison Poetry series. It was a thoughtful, rich reading. I have read Komunyakaa’s poetry for years but had never heard him read. It’s always interesting toContinue reading “Yusef Komunyakaa’s Voice”

Split This Rock Poetry Festival 2012

Once again, the poets are coming to Washington, D.C. From March 22-25, 2012, Split This Rock Poetry Festival takes place here in Washington, D.C. This will be the third Split This Rock Poetry Festival, previous Festivals took place in 2008 and 2010. I have participated in all three of these Festivals and they are magnificentContinue reading “Split This Rock Poetry Festival 2012”

Chinua Achebe’s “Chike and the River”

Chinua Achebe is one of the world’s literary treasures. His novels and short stories have moved and taught us for decades. Recently, I revisited one of his stories, that I read many years ago in high school. It moved me again, though in more nuanced ways. Chike and the River is one of those rare,Continue reading “Chinua Achebe’s “Chike and the River””

Melanie Henderson’s ELEGIES for NEW YORK AVENUE

Melanie Henderson’s new book, Elegies for New York Avenue¬†turns remembering into a fine art. Winner of the 2011 Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award, the poems in this book are moving, generous tributes to the human skill of remembering. New York Avenue, like many places in Washington, D.C. is at once changing, and at theContinue reading “Melanie Henderson’s ELEGIES for NEW YORK AVENUE”

Dr. King’s “Ten Commandments”

When we think of the skills required in political movements, we often consider shrewdness, a willingness to destroy the adversary, and clear communication as the essentials. It’s useful to explore what Dr. King expected, and required, of those who would join his protest movement. In his book, Why We Can’t Wait, which is the storyContinue reading “Dr. King’s “Ten Commandments””

“abu ghraib arias” by Philip Metres

abu ahraib arias by Philip Metres is as disconcerting as it is beautiful. Metres writes in the book’s Afterword that the poem “began out of the vertiginous sense of being named but silenced as an Arab American.” In this small book of 22 pages, Metres captures both the horror of torture and its accompanying silence.Continue reading ““abu ghraib arias” by Philip Metres”