I wonder what to call it. Winter’s smallness? The paucity of winter? The poverty of winter? I think smallness works. Winter brings with it a kind of smallness, a shrunken quality that, next to the lushness of summer and spring, appears diminished. If summer is rich, winter is poor. If summer feels robust, winter feelsContinue reading “The Smallness of Winter”
I am thrilled and grateful to share here that Crushed & Crowned, my fifth book of poems, will be published by FlowerSong Press in the Fall of 2023! Many thanks to Edward Vidaurre and the good people at FlowerSong Press for getting these poems into the world. FlowerSong Press has created some wonderful books andContinue reading “Crushed & Crowned Coming Out in Fall, 2023!”
Dear Americans: Raise your hand if you chose your birthplace. I see no hands going up. Raise your hand if you earned, paid for, negotiated to be born in the United States. Again, no hands. I am not trying to be obnoxious. But the questions above mean to assert a simple, clear, but often ignoredContinue reading “An Open Letter to Americans on Immigration”
I once thought Lucille Clifton was the only American poet who wrote anything worth reading about 9/11/2001. For awhile, she was. Her simple, searing poems moved me in a world that had gone mad with patriotism, anger, and revenge. Years later, I was at St. Mary’s College of Maryland for a reading, where Clifton taughtContinue reading “Poems of Memory & Sorrow- CROSSING THE RIFT: North Carolina Poets on 9/11 and its Aftermath”
Pamela Uschuk is, in my view, one of our country’s best poets. Her new book, REFUGEE, shows precisely why. Her poems rise up from careful craft, scattering beauty, detailed descriptions, merged with an anger at injustice and a persistent hope for the world that we could create. Her insistence, that her poems are not justContinue reading “Pamela Uschuk’s REFUGEE – Poems of Beauty & Anger”
He was born into slavery in Talbot County, Maryland, approximately seventy miles from Washington, D.C. His mother was sent to a neighboring plantation shortly after his birth, he recalled never seeing her in the light of day. He endured the horrific poverty of enslavement as a child, never having clothing for the lower half ofContinue reading “Frederick Douglass: The American Founder”
These people are the most vulnerable refugees in the world. I have been in touch with people here for over a year. I know some of them. They have become my friends. Here are some basic facts about their situation. I hope you will read this and consider taking action. As of this writing, JuneContinue reading “Block 13 Kakuma Refugees Need Your Help”
This is heartbreak. This is sorrow. This is fury. Today is May 13, 2022 and sometime in the next day or so, the United States will record one million lives lost to Covid-19. Scientists agree that the true death count is far greater. But this is the official number, the total of reported deaths causedContinue reading “One Million Lives Lost”
Poetry books work in different ways. Some teach, some inspire, some surprise, some provoke. Saida Agostina’s collection, let the dead in, reminds me. It reminds me to remember the richness of living, the beauty of love in places we don’t expect. This beautiful collection of poems is a tap on the shoulder, followed by thisContinue reading “If You Love the Living, Get Saida Agostini’s “let the dead in””
When Trayvon Martin, a 17 year-old Black child, was murdered in Sanford, Florida, I was teaching at Carroll High School in Washington, D.C. I taught in the English Department and directed the school’s Writing Center. That year, I was teaching nearly all seniors. Carroll High School was more than 90% Black and those students taughtContinue reading “Trayvon Martin’s Murder Changed Everything”
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