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If You Love the Living, Get Saida Agostini’s “let the dead in”

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””

Trayvon Martin’s Murder Changed Everything

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”

Keeping Watch: Refugees Guard Refugees in Block 13 Kakuma Camp, Kenya

It’s hard to imagine what it’s like for my friend, Deo, to keep watch through the night in Block 13 of Kakuma Refugee Camp. The night is dark. The sky is salted with stars, maybe a moon offers some light. Maybe he sits in complete darkness. I am sure he listens and watches. Hoping forContinue reading “Keeping Watch: Refugees Guard Refugees in Block 13 Kakuma Camp, Kenya”

A Radical Transformation: Martin Luther King Day, 2022

A powerful, necessary, and provocative gift came into the world on January 15, 1929. Of course, at the time, no one knew it. He was a preacher’s son in Atlanta, Georgia, largely protected by his family, from the destructive power of white supremacy. He went to Morehouse College, where he realized his reading skills wereContinue reading “A Radical Transformation: Martin Luther King Day, 2022”

The Year’s Last Day: Determined? Yes. Hopeful? No.

I can’t find one word that captures this past year. 2021 has been too much for that. I have certainly experienced anger and frustration, sadness and worry. At the same time, I have felt gratitude and love. My country is breaking with racial hatred, an intense desire for power, a disdain for knowledge, a grossContinue reading “The Year’s Last Day: Determined? Yes. Hopeful? No.”

When Students Teach

Twelve of my students amazed me last week. They didn’t surprise me, I knew they could do it. But I still wasn’t certain the plan would unfold with such beauty. For the last few years, my student-poets have built a relationship with 4th and 5th graders at Bishop Walker School in Congress Heights, Southeast, Washington,Continue reading “When Students Teach”

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