Friday, September 30, 2005

Words spoken by an old Buffalo Soldier
on U Street:

So where
have all the black
people gone?

- E. Ethelbert Miller
New book from Richard Blanco:
Publication date is October 20, 2005
ISBN 08165-2479-3
She's a rich girl
She don't try to hide it
Diamonds on the soles of her shoes
- Paul Simon

I'm listening to Graceland tonight. When I started out writing it was just Simon and Dylan.

I was reading Edwidge Danticat's essay in The Nation (September 26, 2005) and it made me weep. So many things are invisible in our country; especially our laws.
Danticat's article is adapted from the foreword she wrote to WE ARE ALL SUSPECTS NOW: UNTOLD STORIES FROM IMMIGRANT COMMUNITIES AFTER 9/11 by Tram Nguyen.

I received a surprise phone call from old time friend G. Brown. He was responsible for the making of the movie Juice with E. Dickerson. I guess the rest is Tupac history.
Bill Fletcher (Transafrica) has a good article in the Muslim Journal about Katrina.
He makes reference to Cuba's willingness to help the US. This would have been a good opportunity for both nations to put the Cold War politics on the shelf.

Andy Warhol exhibit in DC:
Corcoran Gallery of Art
Selections from the Andy Warhol Museum on display from September 24, 2005 to February 20,2006.

I received mail today from Eve Grubin. Her book MORNING PRAYER will be published by Sheep Meadow Press in December. Congrats Eve!

The new Writer's Chronicle is out.
Elizabeth Alexander has an interview with Rita Dove.
Mark Doty has an essay on the memoir.
Good to see Donna Britt writing about those New Orlean rumors. I majored in African American Studies and I've seen enough nonsense come out of the mouths of folks who should know better. How did their parents raise them? For many years I just video taped black leaders, public intellectuals - oh and those poets. What's the metaphor for being a fool? are the rumors we didn't hear:
- Black people being taken to those old concentrations camps that we held the Japanese in.
- The New Orlean levees being constructed by an Israeli company.
- White people stealing black bodies out of coffins floating in the water for DNA experiments.
- Nothing but a political distracton to "fix" the Supreme Court while folks are not looking.
- The fact that the N O zoo saved many of its animals is an indication that Noah had first hand information again. Hmmm
- A chance for Lil Kim to write some new music while in jail and return like Ma Rainy singing Backwater Blues.

OK...let me stop before someone quotes this blog and circulates this *!*.

Shoud I go on?
I have a pile of magazines and newspapers to read today:
The Bloomsbury Review
The New Yorker
The Progressive
The Nation
American Writer
Muslim Journal

I donate many of the publications to the African American Resource Center at Howard.

Last night I did some work on the FIFTH INNING. I need to push myself more so that I complete this book.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Elana Gutmann (visual artist and beloved friend) has a new website:
Look for us to do some work together in the future.
I just received this information from Sarah Browning, one of the editors of the anthology, D.C. Poets Against The War:

Peace goes into the making of a poet as flour goes into the making of bread.

--Pablo Neruda

The poets would have made the Statesman Poet proud on September 24, literally carrying his words through the streets of Washington, D.C., in the largest peace demonstration since the start of the U.S. war in Iraq. D.C. Poets Against the War hosted a contingent of about 25 poets and friends, including E. Ethelbert Miller, Rei Berroa, Esther Iverem, Jane Shore, and many others from D.C., as well as Marilyn Hacker, Marie Ponsot, and Elizabeth Macklin from New York.

Our Sunday afternoon open mic drew poets from all over the country, including WA state, Montana, and Indiana, and as far away as South Africa and South Korea.

Read the full report, see pictures, read the poetry signs at:
I'll work on my Wilson High School presentation today. I'm drafting some comments on the topic of "Poetry and Peace."

We had a good discussion at IPS around Dick Barnet's book ROOTS OF WAR. Next Wednesday we will be discussing GLOBAL REACH. Leading the discussion will be John Cavanagh and Sarah Anderson. Class time is 6:45 PM at 733 15th Street, NW. Suite 1020.

There is an interview with Randall Robinson in the latest issue of THE PROGRESSIVE (October 2005). Robinson was head of TRANSAFRICA which was started in 1977. He is the author of THE DEBT: WHAT AMERICA OWES TO BLACKS. A good introduction to the issue of reparations. Robinson is also the author of QUITTING AMERICA: THE DEPARTURE OF A BLACK MAN FROM HIS NATIVE LAND.

Sad to hear about the death of Mary Lee Settle. She was the founder of PEN/Faulkner.
She was always very warm to me, and we had good conversations at literary affairs. I was a member of the board of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation for many years.

Constance Batker Motley dead at 84. She was the first African American woman appointed to the federal judiciary. I also remember my Mom talking about her with pride. Baker was also borough president of Manhattan.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

It looks like Ichiro might not even hit .300 this year. :-( This might be his worst year in baseball as far as stats go.
Will the Nationals avoid last place? I hope so.
Look for Seattle to pluck the Redskins on Sunday. Oh - and how many games will the Wizards win this year?
The last days of baseball...
I'm Bucky Dent heading to the ballpark. Nothing but a green wall between me and heaven.

I'd rather be alone and alone, than alone and with someone.
- Joan Baez
Big show coming up for the big man Sam Gilliam. A retrospective at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. I'm not going to miss this. I have my tickets for the private preview on October 11th.
The exhibition will be on view from October 15th to January 22, 2006.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Phillie Groove: Art Sanctuary in Philadephia is presenting a FULL YEAR OF SONIA.
A year long tribute to poet Sonia Sanchez.
The Art Sanctuary is located at the Church of the Advocate, 1801 West Diamond Street in Philadelphia. I first heard about this organization from Lorene Cary. She is the founder and Executive director. I remember her talking to me about her dream place many years ago when we were doing a program together in Indianapolis. Good to see things up and running. Congrats to Sonia.
If you want info about all the upcoming Sonia programs here is info:
215 232-4485
Love? Be it man. Be it woman.
It must be a wave you want to glide in on,
give your body to it, give your laugh to it,
give, when the gravelly sand takes you,
your tears to the land. To love another is something
like prayer and can't be planned, you just fall
into its arms because your belief undoes your disbelief.

- Anne Sexton

Monday, September 26, 2005

Diva Toni Blackman came by the African American Resource Center this afternoon. It's always fun to find out what she's doing. We laughed and walked down to the Metro together. She gave me 2 CDs.I'll isten to them tomorrow:

I met my friend Fran at the Savory (Takoma Park) for a 1hr chat. So...tonight I'll read some Anne Sexton poems. I'll send some comments back to Afaa M. Weaver regarding a book project he's working on. Charles Johnson sent me a nice praise note on my most recent poem. He also sent me an interview of August Wilson that our mutual friend Nibir K. Ghosh published in India. I think about August everyday.

Oh, the PBS doc on Dylan was excellent. Part II is tomorrow. Be sure to go and pick-up IS IT ROLLING BOB? A Reggae Tribute To Bob Dylan.

Reminder - Come to the the third class on Dick Barnet at IPS on Wednesday, September 28th. 7PM at 733 15th Street, NW, Suite 1020. We will be talking about Barnet's book
THE ROOTS OF WAR. A good thing to do following the recent protest march on Saturday.
Leading the discussion will be IPS Research Associate Miriam Pemberton and IPS Associate Fellow Steve Cobble.

Additional reminder - 2 day Walter Rodney program at Howard University, September 29-30. Contact info: Dr. Grace Virtue at 202 238-2335. Things begin on September 29th at 5PM in Ira Aldridge Theater.

Suggested reading -Try and obtain copies of The Nation magazine. Very good essays on the Katrina Diaspora. The October 10th issue is out.

I spoke with Brenda- Marie Osbey (poet laureate of LA). Hopefully, she will be moving back into her New Orleans home in a few days. She will also be coming to Washington DC in November (4th) to give a reading at the Library of Congress. I'll be in Kansas on that date. :-( So go see her and give her a shoutout.

October coming in a few days. Leaves turning colors and I'm still black. What a joy to be part of nature. :-) Celebrate!
Another new release - The Oxford Anthology of African American Poetry by Arnold Rampersad. $32.50, Pub date is October 2005.
New book by June Jordan coming out soon from Copper Canyon Press. The title is DIRECTED BY DESIRE: THE COLLECTED POEMS OF JUNE JORDAN. The foreward is by Adrienne Rich.

I had a morning meeting with a Jonathan Hopkins, a nice brother getting his book together. I also received in the mail two lovely pictures from my friend Julia in Indiana. Thanks J.

A packet came in the mail with promotional goodies for Richard Blanco's DIRECTIONS TO THE BEACH OF THE DEAD (University of Arizona Press, 2005).

Sunday, September 25, 2005

PBS is the place to be this week. Martin Scorsese examines the career of Bob Dylan.
American Masters Series: Bob Dylan - No Direction Home. 9PM. Monday & Tuesday.

Dylan is the major influence on my early work - those high school poems back in 1966 and 1967.

Ramadan begins on October 4th and lasts until November 2nd.
This is a good opportunity to read a chapter of the Holy Quran each day while fasting. By the end of Ramadan one would have completed the entire book.
When you don't drive, Sunday can feel like a week just to get across town. I had to bus/train/bus just to get to Politics and Prose bookstore today. They celebrated their 21st Anniversary. I was part of the poetry program with Linda Pastan, Stanley Plumly, Jane Shore and Myra Sklarew. Joe Harrison read work by Anthony Hecht. The store was filled with lovers of poetry. I sold several books, including two to a woman who was a friend of Arthur Ashe's wife. She said she would give her one. After the 12:30 PM reading I went across the street and had lunch with Nicole. We met about week ago at Busboys. It was nice to see her taking in a poetry event. I gave her a brochure for upcoming readings at the Folger. Nicole has a bike so she can get to places quicker than me.

I'm home for a few hours, resting until I leave for WPFW. I'll be on the air at 9PM.

Yes, that's Junior Walker and the All Stars playing in the back....Shotgun! Put on your high heel the jerk now.
Yesterday I went to the PROTEST MARCH against the war. I went with my friends Sarah Browning and Becky Thompson. Becky came down from Boston. Sarah is the editor of D.C. Poets Against The War. She made (with the help of Melissa Tuckey and Esther Iverum) all these cool protest signs that had excerpts from poems that had been published in the anthology. It was a big hit at the march. Many people wanted to take pictures of the poets. It's obvious folks look to us for leadership. :-)
We had a nice band of poets who met near the White House to pick-up our signs. I walked around holding up the words of Melissa and Sarah. Other poets in our group included Jane Shore, Judith McCombs, and Marilyn Hacker (who came down from New York). I hadn't seen Marilyn since she read three years ago at Chapters Bookstore with Reetika Vazirani. I remember the three of us having dinner afterwards, and then walking over to Marilyn's hotel. Reetika and I caught a cab from downtown to our homes; we sat in the back seat laughing and holding hands. Little did I know I would lose one of my best friends in a few months. One never knows...
Which brings me back to the march and the desire of so many Americans to bring the soldiers home and out of harm's way. I don't know how many people were there yesterday. Numbers are not important. It's the principle. It's so important to always have a dialogue around war. And this is where one will discover the weakness of the progressive left. There was no "speaker" I really went down to the march to hear. Years ago I remember going to a protest march against the Vietnam war and waiting to hear King and Stokely Carmichael speak.
So the responsiblity rests with each individual citizen to organize, vote and hold our representatives responsible for their actions. I don't see the problem being simply the Bush Administration. The larger and more important issue is American foreign policy in a post-cold war era. It's important that our foreign policy not be "hijacked" by the war against terrorism. There are so many issues that will help restore the US image abroad and protect global peace. We need to make some big leaps and are a few things we need to do:

1. New policy towards Cuba. We need to just turn this around,being respectful of the Cuban American perspective. We should try to find ways to work with Cuba, open economic doors. I think we missed it when they offered to help us with Katrina. I would start playing major league basketball and baseball games between the US and Cuba. Open a cultural door with writers and musicians.
We should also work with Cuba and find joint ways to help other Latin American countries as well as small nations in the Caribbean. The US and Cuba need to be on the same page.

2. A new Monroe Doctrine. Latin America is moving Left. We need to help the region deal with the issues of poverty.

3. Solve the Palestinian issue by giving economic support to building their nation.
Protecting Israel's right to exist.

4. Major focus on economic development of Africa. Have US media begin to talk about the positive things happening in Africa on a regular basis. Make the continent as important as Europe in the eyes of a new generation of Americans. Young African Americans should take the lead on this one.

5. Focus on arm reduction around the world. Reduce the making of guns and the black market trade. Why do so many places have more bullets than food?

6. Looking for new sources of alternative energy. Are we still trying to do this?

7. Free health care for every human being in the world. Let's begin first in the US.

8. Finally a book of poetry in every home. :-)

After the march, Sarah, Becky and I went to Busboys and Poets. Oh many people came through the place: Suheir Hammad, Alexis DeVeaux, Kathy Engel, Damu Smith, Ken Carroll, D. J. Renegade, Jelani Cobb, and Anu (who is funny, talented and wise). Oh, and I ordered the catfish on the menu. A must treat for the hungry poets.
I departed before the open mic program started, walked to the bus stop with Anu. She reminds me of a young Suheir...which takes me back to June Jordan. If we are to change the world we live in then it will require a dedicated struggle for human rights, and a willingness to love against the odds.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Good to see the Oprah Book Club returning to do current authors. Now if Oprah would only start reading American poetry. Her producers should consider doing this during the month of April (National Poetry Month). Oprah could pick 5 books of poems that she likes...a "handful" of poets. I'm certain it would help the field. Look at the influence Bill Moyers had on the genre. So write a letter to O.
Everybody Hates Chris was not bad. Chris Rock looks like he has a winner here. I like how love is treated in the new television show.

"Viva Baseball" is the new documentary about the history and struggles of Latino players. Growing up in the Bronx...those names, those names...Clemente,Vic Power, Orlando Cepada (the baby bull), Juan Marichal... I remember kicking my leg high in the air before throwing a fastball. Oh...and where has Hector Lopez gone?

Joe Bauman recently died at the age of 83. He played for a minor league team in Roswell, N.M. In 1954 he hit 72 homers, batted. 400, drove in 224 runs and drew 154 walks. Whew...

In yesterday's Washington Post, Michelle Singletary had some good advice in her "The Color of Money" column. She warned folks about not buying used cars that might be flood-damaged vehicles. Often many cars from floods show up in the used car market months later. Many people will be buying cars to replace old ones.
Estimated 250,000 to 500,000 cars may have been damaged by Katrina.
Be careful not to buy a car that might be rotting in the inside. Check the car's title history. Look for rusty bolts and screws, water rings, etc.
Cars damaged by Katrina should be scapped and not sold.

Tony Hoagland's reading is this evening (7:30 PM) at the Folger Shakespeare Library.
Congrats to Teri Cross Davis for being selected the new poetry coordinator at the Folger. She replaces Libbie Rifkin. Libbie did stellar work during her tenure at the Folger. She is now teaching at Georgetown University.

I'll be on Angelique Shofar's "Africa Meets Africa" radio show (WPFW, 89.3FM) on Sunday evening. Tune in...

Thursday, September 22, 2005

National Museum of Women in the Arts have a couple of good writers coming in this season:
Joyce Carol Oates on January 27th
Naomi Shihab Nye on February 10th
Programs start at 7PM
General Admission is $10
Students are $5
The museum is located at 1250 New York Avenue, NW
The IPS Barnet classes are going very well. The next one is Wednesday. We will be looking at Barnet's book THE ROOTS OF WAR. Come join us. I have extra handouts.

I met the poet Head-Roc at Busboys yesterday. He gave me a copy of his CD - Negrophobia!

While in Busboys & Poets I purchased a copy of Anne Sexton's THE COMPLETE POEMS. I read Maxine Kumin's foreword while riding the bus home.

Today is a marathon DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities meeting. I'm coming home tonight and going right to bed.

TGIF tomorrow. TGIF.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I just read the letter Sharon Olds wrote explaining why she is not attending the National Book Festival. I respect her decision. I've been invited to Laura Bush's book festival twice. In 2001 and 2003. I attended because I have respect for what the First Lady has done for public libraries and the promotion of reading in our society. I know who she is married to. I also know that my wife dislikes being introduced as Mrs. Ethelbert. She has her own life and profession. We have many different interests, and we often do our own thing. At the first Book Festival I remember the President standing in the back, it was obvious that this was his wife's affair. It was something important to her. She had final say on the writers being invited. The writer's opinions and political viewpoints were not factors. I know this because I was invited a few times to help with some of the planning. During my life I have always worked at bringing people together. I have been committed to working for peace and justice with different organizations. I have tried to open doors for others. There are a number of issues that are very important to me. There are also principles that I live by and rights that I feel we must protect. There are many ways to protest. We just need to acknowledge that. During the Civil Rights Movement there were a number of African Americans who were in the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations and trying to change things. Everyone was not marching with Dr. King or being members of SNCC. I think one can still go to the White House and break bread with the first Lady and still be in opposition to the war. I don't see the first Lady as the devil. I see her as a married woman who cares about some of the same things I care about. I'm certain we disagree on many other things too. But if for a moment I can't sit across the table from someone and talk about poetry or the novel, then something is going to be missing in my life. If Laura Bush was censoring or preventing an American writer from attending one of her book festivals because of their politics, then I would be the first to protest. I would not attend.
But this is not the case. The umbrella of democracy is open and it still protects us from the hard rain that is falling.
The American Medical Student Association (AMSA), Howard University Chapter, presents, "How Cuban Physicians Can Save Lives In New Orleans And Throughout The United States!"

Time: Thursday September 22, 2005 6:30pm

Location: Howard University College of Medicine Seely G. Mudd Building, Room V14, 520 W St, NW Washington DC
(At the corner of 6th and W St, NW)

The program is co-sponsored by the Pan-African Liberation Organization & Physicians for Human Rights "Howard University
Chapter." Invited Panelists Include:

* Obi Egbuna of the Pan-African Liberation Organization
* Ronald Issac of the National Conference of Black Lawyers
* Skipper Baley from Pastors for Peace
* Alim Muhammad the Nation of Islam Health Minister
* Sonia Umanzor for FMLN of El Salvador 'Mary's Place for Maternal and Child Care'

For more information, please call 202-635-5099.
You are invited to be part of a live studio audience for NPR’s News-Talk Show:


Hosted by Neal Conan

on Thursday, September 22


2-3 pm


If you can attend, please RSVP to The NPR studios are located at 635 Massachusetts Avenue, NW; the Metro Stop is Chinatown/MCI Center on the Yellow, Green, and Red Lines. Please come to the NPR lobby one half hour before the show you plan to attend, where you will be greeted and taken to Studio 4A. Please call me with any concerns or questions; we’re looking forward to great shows.

Our panel discussion will include:

Douglas Besharov, senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute’s, and director of AEI’s Social and Individual Responsibility Project.

John McWhorter, Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, Associate Professor of Linguistics at UC Berkeley, author of Losing the Race, and Authentically Black.

Tricia Rose, Professor of American Studies at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

David Shipler, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author of The Working Poor: Invisible in America.

Juan Williams, Senior NPR Correspondent.


3-4 pm

New Orleans Jazz: live performances and interviews

Performers will include:

David Mooney, jazz guitarist, born and raised in New Orleans.

Derek Douget, saxophonist and Louisiana native, director of the Ellis Marsalis Quintet.

George Brumat, owner of the Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro, one of New Orleans’ most famous jazz clubs.

Alain Toussaint (live from the studios of WNYC), New Orleans pianist, producer, songwriter.

Neal and our guests will take your questions and comments during the show, and we look forward to your attendance and participation!

Sue Goodwin

Executive Producer, Talk of the Nation


635 Massachusetts Avenue, NW

Washington D.C. 20001

Tel: 202.513.2340
October 6, 2005
A Tribute to the work of June Jordan, with Cave Canem co-founder Cornelius Eady, Joy Harjo, Bob Holman, Yusef Komunyakaa, Jan Heller Levi, Donna Masini, Adrienne Rich, and others. Co-sponsored by Cave Canem, Copper Canyon Press and The Hunter College Graduate Writing Program. The Sylvia and Danny Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College, 695 Park Avenue, New York, NY. 7:30 pm. Admission $12, $7 for students and Poetry Society of America Members. Call the theater box office, 212-772-4448, to reserve a ticket.

I find it funny that I'm never invited to any of these June Jordan events. It's a good thing I gave the letters she wrote me to the University of Minnesota. The E in my name must stand for Ellison - or some other invisiblE- man.
I'm playing some Arthur Blythe.Alto Sax. In The Tradition. So much to do. Yesterday I chaired an IPS executive meeting. Our organization will be moving to a new location in December. We will be located at 1112 16th Street, NW (16th & L ). Serious attention is being given to fundraising. Some of you have probably received letters from me. I hope you can support our programs. IPS is the leading progressive think tank in the US.

Tonight is the second class on Richard J. Barnet at IPS. 6:45PM at 733 15th Street, NW, Suite 1020. Peter Kornbluh will be leading the discussion of Barnet's INTERVENTION AND REVOLUTION. This is the book Barnet wrote back in 1972. Kornbluh worked with Barnet. He now works at the National Security Archives.

I've been in contact the last few days with a number of writers I admire: Ai, Afaa Michael Weaver, Jerry Ward...

The Walter Rodney Conference is at Howard University on September 29th and 30th. Speakers include: Rex Nettleford, Asha Rodney, Rupert Lewis, Ron Walters, Horace Campbell, Sulayman Nyang and others. for additional information contact Dr. Grace Virtue:
202 238-2335.

The National March on Washington to End the War in Iraq is September 24th.
People will gather at the Washington Monument at 11AM or call 202 299-1055

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Who said the postman always rings twice?

Responsibility of Blacks in Cyberspace

An Open Letter to E. Ethelbert Miller

"things that sound too horrible to be true did happen." -- David Carr

E, peace and blessings,

I have discovered as a student of literature that numerous persons can read a document and that each reader has a different interpretation on what is the truth contained therein. If your point is that there is such a thing as rumor and that rumors can be "worse than what actually happened," we sing the same tune and there is no gap in our understanding of how the world works. I suspect where we diverge is the larger interpretation of Carr's sentiments and perspective.

From my view, our folks--black people--suffered the most from the rumors propagated by corporate media and sustained by numerous persons of their ilk. That we suffered the most by this insidious activity can be sustained by this quote from Carr's editorial:

"I think that citizens of New Orleans have been stigmatized in a way that is going to make it difficult to be accepted wherever they go," said Jonathan Simon, who teaches criminal law at the University of California, Berkeley.

These "citizens of New Orleans" are black folk. So our folks (all over America) are the primary victims of rumor -- as looters, rapists, murderers. These "urban myths" are the stuff of 6 o'clock news and black weeklies. The criminal image is usually that of young black males. So much so that everyone now fear "black boys." And these our brothers, uncles, fathers, sons have been the victim object of "political spin," ritualistic murder, and "responsible governance." This situation has been propagated not only by corporate media, but also by persons in the highest seats of government and society.

Wasn't it our 3rd President TJ who wrote "scientifically" of our kinship to the orangutan: matter of fact there was an entire "science" that rose in the 19th century from the best minds of America that sustained Negro inferiority in every sphere of human existence. And at this hour we still have a difficulty instituting "black history" courses in our public schools to counter the damage of these "urban myths" and "rumors."

On another point we might also agree, "accurate information [is still at a] premium." We see it in the indecisiveness and ineptness of Mayor Nagin in trying to repopulate the city. In a small matter like whether there was a fire on Dillard's campus, we are unable to sustain what is indeed the case, whether the Arts & Science building burned. A friend as close as Baton Rouge does not know the truth of the rumor We black folks all still suffer from the lack of information and a distrust of those in high places.

And there is good cause for this lack of trust, especially after the horror of the superdome and the convention center and the numerous survivor stories that are being collected by corporate media, web sites, and blogs. All of this has been seared into our consciousness and that it will be sometime before we get over this trauma, this wakeup call.

Government failed us. The wise guys caused of great distress, insecurity and terror.

So with this "brave new world" we face I do not see it as my primary task to dispel rumor as rumor. That is not the problem we face. From the time we left the shores of Africa to the present hour, our problem is one of power, more precisely, the lack of it. The quote from Carr's which probably caught your eye and to which you really want me to direct my attention is: "Web and talk radio fueled these rumors." But these outlets ("web" and "talk radio") are dominated, not bys us (you and me), but rather by persons from white middle-class America, that is, not from Black America. We are anthills up against great mountains of power and power that do not have our interest first and foremost.

That is, I'm not against rumor as rumor. My force will be directed against rumor that does harm to humanity, especially and particularly black humanity, which is under severe humiliating attacks. The question before us, then, is how do we counter these rumors that undermine and debilitate us and how do we counter those individuals who now sustain them, who do not have your humanistic sensibilities.

For me, those of us who have education, training, skills, and instruments of power, we must speak the truth as we know it and as forcefully as we can and consider every rumor that is a potential threat against us and that might have some truth of how we have been undermined and dispersed. If we have the power to discover the truth or falsity of such rumors, we should indeed dispel them. But if you suggest rather that we who are in cyberspace should act as censors of information, then you ask us to wage war with windmills. What good is such a romantic venture?

Well, I suppose wearing the mask of a "non-partisan" is one way to go. But that's not for me. I have no faith in "media objectivity." For media serves power--its impetus is commercial. And he who pays the piper calls the tune.

If you wish, however, to place on the table--confer--what is the proper role of blacks in cyberspace, I am open for that discussion. I encourage you to organize such a talk and conference or make it part of some larger conference. Academics love this sort of thing and there are probably businesses and foundations willing to finance such an academic undertaking. I have no problem with that and would probably be willing to attend it.

As ever and always, Rudy

Monday, September 19, 2005

Dead at 70 - Donn Clendenon, the MVP for the 1969, New York Mets.
A special Issue of National Geographic magazine will go on sale this Friday. It's a special issue on Katrina. $4.95 450,000 copies for distribution. Profits go to the hurricane relief.
Quotes of the Day?

The president is Lucy, and he's holding a football. We're Charlie Brown.
- Bob Herbert NY Times 9/19/05

Today, states that had slavery in 1860 are much more likely to vote Republican than states that didn't.
- Paul Krugman NY Times 9/19/05

Lil'Kim goes to jail today.
I found this thought by Robert Pinsky to be very interesting:

"What if victims and thugs, large numbers of the bereft and the violent, are who they are because in some deep way they are not part of our society? This question doesn't exculpate people or pity them because of poverty or age or race. It is a cultural question, with political and historical implications."
Book World, Washington Post 9/11/05
Today is my Mom's birthday. She's 86. Happy Birthday to Madame Enid.

I was in the Howard University post-office and purchased several of the new Arthur Ashe stamps. They are really nice. Ask your local post-office to sell them.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

So what's going on in Belfast? Are the riots still going on?

Look for Michael Jackson to jump in with a Katrina Diaspora recording similar to "We Are The World." Everyone who needs good PR is going to try and do something; what were people doing before the flood? What were they doing with all their money? I think of my brother before he died giving almost all his possessions to his friends who were poor. Once a monk, always a monk.

The Final Call newspaper had a good article in their September 13th issue. It was an interview with Vanessa Williams (another one?) who is the executive director of the National Conference of Black Mayors (NCBM). Her organization is trying to help the smaller towns and cities hit by Katrina. The NCBM consists of 562 Black mayors.
31 cities headed by Black mayors were hit by the storm. Another 54 are affected by the influx of populations seeking refuge in neighboring cities.

It might be a good idea for organizations and other cities to "adopt" a small black city in the south. This type of sisterhood might make it easier to coordinate relief efforts. We could target things, as well as invite people from specific areas to report back on the relief effort taking place in the area. Leave no small city behind.

Tomorrow author Damali Ayo will be at Borders (600 14th Street, NW) at 6PM.
She is the author of "How To Rent A Negro."
Today we had the 29th Letelier-Moffitt Sheridan Circle Memorial tribute at 10AM.

This information is taken from the program:

Until September 11, the most infamous act of international terrorism ever to take place in Washington, D.C. was the 1976 car bombing that killed Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier and 25-year old American Ronni Karpen Moffitt. Letelier and Moffitt were collegues at the Institute for Policy Studies, where Letelier, former ambassador to the United States and Defense Minister under Salvador Allende, had become one of the most outspoken critics of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. A massive FBI investigation traced the crime to the highest leves of Pinochet's regime.

At today's program Andres Bianchi, Ambassador of Chile to the U.S. spoke. So did Cristian Letelier, Orlando's son.

I read the following poem that I wrote:


(for Daniela Ponce)

It is always raining somewhere -
And widows stand in front of windows watching it fall.
They wait for husbands and sons and lovers to return.
They hold rosaries and flowers, and they wait for love to bloom (again).
But it is raining and the earth is wet and the politicians and soldiers
walk across the earth turning everything to mud, and there is mud on
everyone's shoes and boots and the world is dirty and in need of a kiss.

The widows talk to the rain with tears on their tongues.
The widows speak the language of memory.
When they turn away from the windows they walk across the room and
undress. They place their garments of mourning on their beds. The widows
hope their black clothes will go to sleep and maybe dream (again). In dreams
the sun is always walking down the street, laughing and playing a flute of
light. The light strikes shoes and sandals and everything starts to glow
(again). In dreams the widows are young girls who have just discovered their
smiles. The terror of death has not been born. There is no sound of war
marching. There is only dancing everywhere on the earth. It is raining
somewhere else. It is raining outside our dreams.

E. Ethelbert Miller, 9/16/05

On Wednesday,October 19th, IPS invites you to the 29th Annual Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Awards. The program will be held at the National Press Club Ballroom, 529 14th Street, NW.
Reception at 5:30 PM
Program at 7P.M.

Domestic Award to Barrios Unidos
International Award to Judge Juan Guzman Tapia.
I had a good day. Many things accomplished. I completed some Bennington work...packets going out on Monday. I was down at Busboys & Poets for a couple of hours. I had a wonderful time, making new friends and talking with old ones. The place is jumping. The poet Carolyne Wright has a reading there on Sunday at 4:00 PM.
I'm reading over at Sheridan Circle at 10AM at the IPS, L-M Tribute. Bring flowers.

The best thing I've read about the Katrina Diaspora is in the latest issue of THE Nation magazine. It's by Adolph Reed Jr. Many years ago the guy taught at Howard.
I don't think anyone comes close to making as much sense as this guy. Whew. Everyone should read it. Excerpt:

Race is too blunt an analytical tool even when inequality is expressed in glaring racial disparities. Its meanings are too vague. We can see already that the charges of racial insensitivity and neglect threaten to divert the focus of the Katrina outrage to a secondary debate about how Bush feels about blacks and whether the sources of the travesty visited upon poor New Orleanians were "color blind" or racist. Beyond that, a racial critique can lead nowhere except to demands for black participation in decision making around reconstruction. But which black people? What plans? Reconstruction on what terms?

I think right here is the slogan that should be coined for the next few months:

Can we avoid creating the type of temporary shelters that now exist in Florida?

Sport News:
Ichiro finally had 3 hits in a game raising his average to .303
Guzman is hitting for the Nationals. I told folks this would happen. If the Nationals can just keep getting those Vs...look for them to win the wild card.
Take Dallas on Monday. The Redskin season can end very quickly if they get beat bad on national television. They are weak at QB but you never know about Mark B. He might just have another tank of gas in him. I always liked the guy - class act on and off the field.

I finally got around to reading that long interview with Octavia Butler in Black Arts Quarterly (Vol. 10.2/Summer 2005) coming out of Stanford University.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Politics & Prose Bookstore will be celebrating its 21st Anniversary on Sunday, September 25th. I'll be on a poetry panel with Linda Pastan, Myra Sklarew, Stanley Plumley and Jane Shore. We will be reading and talking about poetry starting at 12 NOON.

So as we are trying to get help to the folks of the Katrina diaspora - check this small news story that was in the NY Times yesterday:
Somalia: Relief Ship Released. Gunman who had held a ship with United Nations food relief for nearly three months released the vessel and 940 metric tons of rice donated for the country's 28,000 tsunami victims. Piracy is common along Somalia's coastline but this was the first instance of a hijacking of a ship working for the World Food Program.

Three months!!!!
This type of stuff makes me very angry. It's why folks will vote for fascism in a minute. Organized crime are folks without an ideology who don't care about anything but themselves. They have no moral compass. 28,000 people - how many died because they couldn't get the food that was being shipped to THEM???

Now let's turn to our country. How many people are going to think only about themselves...get money...steal...offer people false hope and split? The Katrina hustle. Greed is just something I'll never understand. How can people be so cruel? Especially during a crisis and a time of need.

Speaking of folks want to reduce those jail terms for the white-collar crimnals in the US. I say let them join a Somalian gang outreach program. Which is worst raping one person or stealing from one bank against destroying the lives of so many by billions of dollars of fraud and thousand of lost jobs - each with a family??? Measure that and you don't have to be Moses asking God for another commandment. The American public is still being "Milken."
Reimbursements are good if you're still alive to collect.

Friday, September 16, 2005

So the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation decided to scale back their actitivies out of respect for the Hurricane Katrina survivors. Can you explain to me why people want to always party so much?
Here is another example of class within the race. We need to look into this too.
Once again you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. Many of our black organizations are middle class. When will we truly "ground" with our brothers and sisters?

If overalls come back it will be more a fashion statement and not out of memory of people active in SNCC in the early 1960s. We can only correct some of the ills we now see if we do grassroots work. Simple medical care should be provided (free of charge)by black doctors, dentists and nurses. We also need to make connections between the poverty in New Orleans with that of Haiti and Africa. We should be undertaking a global response to things in 2005. That's why it would have been cool to accept support from Cuba after the Katrina hit. Immediately black folks would be receiving care and kindness from folks who looked like them and spoke Spanish.
We would have been able to push some old Cold War politics off the shelf. The same way with the UN - must we quote Malcolm again? We should be asking for UN assistance. It's not about American's losing pride and not being powerful to care for one's's about opening new doors of friendship and agreements between nations. New relationships and partnerships can be created. Mother Nature is not Republican or Democrat. Now if greed is going to take advantage of the Katrina diaspora then one might as well look for the fire next time.
During the first Richard Barnet class held at the IPS office this week, IPS Co-Founder Marc Raskin recommended that folks read GENIUS IN THE SHADOWS: A BIOGRAPHY OF LEO SZILARD, MAN BEHIND THE BOMB by William Lanouette.
Szilard initiated the letter to President Roosevelt that got the Manhattan Project started. Szilard would later warn people about the dangers of nuclear weapons.

Last night my friend Melissa gave me a copy of Janet Burroway's WRITING FICTION.
This is a good text (5th Edition) for teaching the narrative craft. Thanks Melissa.

I'm reading FATHER JOE by Tony Hendra and having a good time with it. A funny book in many places.

There is an IPS Book Party this evening at Busboys & Poets (14th & V Street) 6:30 PM. That's where I'll be. Yes, I can be treated to a glass of wine. :-)

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Why Computerize Your Medical Records?
There is a good discussion of this in the latest issue of AARP/Bulletin, September 2005. Read the remarks made by David J. Brailer, National Coordinator for health information technology at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

"Right now somewhere between 10 and 15 percent of health care consumers have personal electronic medical records."
Sherman Alexie will be at Howard Community College at 12:30 and 7:30 PM on October 6th. The first event is a free reading. The second is a showing of his film Smoke Signals followed with a discussion.

RAP (Regional Addiction Prevention Foundation is celebrating its 35th Anniversary on September 24th with a festival at Langdon Park in Northeast Washington, D.C., from Noon to 7PM. The park is located at Franklin & 20th Streets SE (Red Line, Rhode Island Station).
Congrats to founder Ron Clark.

6 Part film and discussion series on The World War I Years at Howard University (Founders Library, Browsing Room) 2PM-4PM on Thursday, September 22 to November 3rd.

IPS Book Party for the Field Guide to the Global Economy is Friday at Busboys&Poets at 6:30 PM. Busboys is located at 14th & V Streets.

Yesterday the first session of THE RETURN TO R&B: READING BARNET IN THE 21ST CENTURY
was held at the IPS office. It was excellent. Ann Barnet and Marc Raskin provided so many wonderful stories about Barnet. So much history filled up the room that one had to find an extra chair for it. I strongly encourage everyone to pick-up some of Barnet's books. Here are some titles:
Intervention & Revolution
Roots of War
Global Reach
The Lean Years

The second session of the Barnet classes will be held at 6:45 PM on September 21st.
A discussion of Intervention and Revolution with be directed by Peter Kornbluh.
Classes will be held at the IPS office:733 15th Street, NW, Suite 1020.

Talking about history. I was Xeroxing a chapter out of Suzaane Juhasz's NAKED AND FIERY FORMS, MODERN AMERICAN POETRY BY WOMEN:A NEW TRADITION and a slip of paper dropped out - it was a note for Dr. Claudia Tate.
Wow...miss her. So many African American intellectuals gone...

Hey now...I'm doing some fundraising for my son's basketball team at Widener University. I have some raffle tickets (great prizes). You can get 6 tickets for $5.00. Give me a call if you want to obtain some. I have to collect all the money by the end of next week. Widener will play a few games in the DC area this fall. Nyere will be wearing # 13.

So there it was on page A24 of yesterday's Washington Post:
"Health Records of Evacuees Go Online."

This is huge!

"The federal government is making medical information on Hurricane Katrina evacuees available online to doctors, the first time private records from various pharmacies and other health care providers have been compiled into centralized databases.

Electonic health records are controversial among many privacy advocates, who fear the data could be exploited by hackers, companies or the government.

Sue A. Blevins, founder of the Institute for Health Freedom opposes national electronic health records for individuals.

Here is a quote by Blevins - "many things are done during a crisis that society normally would not accept."

Katrina baby - why did you open up the door?
Now folks who have nothin, have nothin more.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Information for folks:

Subject: Texas Library Association is accepting book donations

The Texas Library Association is accepting book donations (can be from anywhere) to help the Gulf libraries prepare to re-open for business. The Association is accepting book collections to help libraries fill their shelves.

TLA will ship the donated materials to Gulf Coast states as soon as libraries are ready to receive the materials. To make a book donation, you can ship materials to Braker Self Storage, ATTN: Katrina Book Drive, 2607 West Braker Lane, Austin, Texas 78758.

State library officials in the Gulf Coast report that many libraries have been completely demolished. Those facilities will have to be completely rebuilt and re-equipped. The items most needed include new or very lightly used children's books, adult fiction and nonfiction, reference materials (e.g., dictionaries, almanacs), and Gulf Coast-area collections. They ask that materials have recent publication dates.

Since it will likely be several months-perhaps even a year or two-before libraries are able to take these collections, the Association has partnered with the Texas Mini Storage Association (TMSA) to collect the books and store them in climate-controlled facilities until area libraries are able to receive collections.

Ginny Sutton, executive director of the TMSA, said "We are thrilled to help in any way we can. We want to let our Gulf Coast neighbors know that we are here for them over the long term. We want library officials to know that our member facilities, led by Braker Self Storage in Austin, are very happy to help in this noble effort to replenish the libraries in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama."

Additional information, including information about local relief programs in the affected states, can be found at

-- Robert P. Doyle
Illinois Library Association
33 W. Grand Ave., Suite 301
Chicago, IL 60610-4306
phone: 312-644-1896
fax: 312-644-1899
Yesterday I had to attend a Humanities Council Board Meeting. We outlined a number of programs for the next couple of months. We also need to hire a new Director of Programs. So let me know if someone is out there looking for a job. The person in this position will also be the producer of my television show HUMANITIES PROFILED.

I can see where going to Busboys & Poets too much might be dangerous. I met my friend Sally (she was in my workshop at P-Town) who was in town for a business meeting. We had a wonderful chat - and then IPSers came in and things became fun and when I got home it was about 8:30 PM. Wine was in the head and work was in the bag.
Be careful dear Bert. Busboys is such a cool place. We are having an IPS book party there on Friday at 6:30. Come party and meet folks.

Today is the first of the IPS programs that will examine the life and work of co-founder Richard Barnet:
Things will begin around 7PM.
Address: 733 15th Street, NW, Suite 1020
The Institute for Policy Studies office.

IPS will also have its Sheridan Circle Memorial Ceremony on Sunday, September 18th at 10AM. A tribute to Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt.
Bring flowers.

My television interview with Roger Wilkins is running this month on Comcast 5, and Starpower 10. Check your television schedules.
I know the program will air on 9/17,22,24,29 and 10/01.

Suheir Hammad sent me postcards for her new work.
ZaatarDiva - book and CD for $12
I think Suheir is one of the best political writers out there today. She is one of my best poetry friends.

I have one Bennington packet going into the mail. I have 4 more to do. Target date is Saturday for all the work to be done.

I completed the judging of the Fitzgerald Conference short stories. NEA proposals I better get to late tonight.

I still want to finish three books this week - Work by Mark Doty, Becky Thompson and Tony Hendra.
Like Ichiro I'm trying to keep my average above .300. My man is having a poor year and is hitting .300. Go much more to do.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Politics and Spirituality: Seeking A Public Integrity
January 14-16, 2006
Hyatt Capitol Hill
Washington, D.C.
Speakers: Jim Wallis, Anne Lamott and Richard Rohn
Sponsored by The Center for Action and Contemplation and Sojourners

Tonight my friend Robyn is putting together the Under the Influence Film Series.
Features, documentaries and shorts in which addiction and recovery play a leading role. 6:30 PM until 9:30 PM
Admission is Free.
The film tonight is DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES
For more info:

New book coming out from England:
DANCE THE GUNS TO SILENCE: 100 Poems for Ken Saro-Wiwa
Book will commemorate the life and achievements of Ken Saro-Wiwa
The book was commissioned and produced by African Writers Abroad (PEN) and published by Flipped Eye Publishing. Price: $12
One of my poems was accepted for the anthology. Other poets included are Kamau Brathwaite, Merle Collins, Martin Espada, Mutabaruka, Veronique Tadjo and Linton Kwesi Johnson.

The Nation magazine has good articles about the Gulf Coast and Hurricane Katrina.
September 26, 2005. $2.95. It's the 9/11 Anniversary: A Special Section.

I suggest one keep reading the business sections of the major newspapers: NY Times, Wall St.Journal, Washington Post,to follow the economic development for the Gulf States. Look for "restoration" to take place and not rebuilding. The best piece I've read so far was by Joel Garreau in the Washington Post on Sunday in the Outlook section (9/11/05). The title of his article was "A Sad Truth: Cities Aren't Forever."

Key quote:
"Sentiment, however, won't guide the insurance industry. When it looks at the devastation here, it will evaluate the risk from toxicity that has leached into the soil, and has penetrated the frames of the buildings, before it decides to write new insurance - without which nothing can be built."

New money is going to be made in the Big Easy. There will probably be "historical signs" where black folks once lived. Folks will be given tours of where Katrina hit...the buses will have good A/C...and folks will take pictures. No one pays to look at poverty unless its behind glass or in a book. That's why it's always invisible until it strikes out and upsets the status quo. What often follows are conferences, reports, books, and bandaids. Look for someone to step forward and want to build low incoming housing for 10 or 20 families. Now is that really going to help the thousands who need affordable housing? No, but it will look and sound good in the media. Look for the New New Orleans to become maybe a high tech area. Which political party will be the first to have their Presidential Convention there?
Oh - and what a story if the New Orleans Saints made it to the SuperBowl in Detroit. How many people will still be homeless and watching the game? How many survivors of Katrina would be paraded out during halftime? Coin toss? Call it.

Look for a number of high profile blacks to help Bush with his image. Is that you Papa Jakes? How long can the war stay on the second page? We also need to redefine homeland security. Where is all our money going?
Oh - buy sweaters and watch your heating bills this winter.

You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.
- Bob Dylan

Out of all of this,love endures, and we must continue to love our neighbor as well as the stranger, who knocks on the door asking for shelter from the storm.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Information from IPS (Institute for Policy Studies):

We have sifted through many of the hundreds of aerial shots posted recently
by NOAA, matching leading suspect facility (leaking oil refineries and
storage facilities, devastated chemical plants) addresses with maps and
landmarks, and have posted the most significant on our SEEN Gallery. The
best way to enter is through our newly-updated pollution page, at: . The thumbnail photos
lead to much more detailed photographs, a virtual toxics tour from the air.

The most horrific from air:
By far the worst: The DuPont chemical/Chevron oil refinery complex in
Pascagoula, Mississippi. Lots of bad history just got worse.
(Another DuPont facility further west, on the Bay St. Louis, reportedly went
six feet under and flushed a bunch of poisons into the surrounding
neighborhood of DeLisle, but there are no aerial NOAA photos available.)
#2: All of Meraux, in St. Bernard Parish, home to leaking Murphy Oil
refinery. A sharp eye can follow the flow of poisons from the industrial
site, through neighborhoods, to Lake Ponchartrain.
#3: An oil spill in the Mississippi River from the Moss storage terminal in
Venice, La.

Daphne Wysham
Director, Sustainable Energy & Economy Network

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Here are a few things to follow after the storm:

1. Bush ratings. Bush isn't running for office again so low ratings don't mean anything. How will history remember him? 9/11, the fight against terrorism, The Katrina Mardi Gras affair, or his Supreme Court picks? Take your pick. Oh- and don't forget the 2 Wars. What follows Bush is what we should focus on. The Katrina situation might make it easier for a Republican candidate to try and break with the Bush agenda. Do the Dems have a first round pick next election season? It's sad when a Party or team stays in last place too long. Not even Red Sox fans will back losers

2. Look for one more major event to hit us in the head before the end of the year.
This might be anything from another natural disaster, bad war news, or what my Mom might call "the devil just up to no good again."

3. Try and follow stories that will just disappear from the news - The Rowe affair, the decision not to accept Katrina assistance from Cuba, etc. I was surprise to see the VP surface. Now that he has - so will Halliburton and its relief efforts. Look for "mucho" aftermath New Orleans stories to begin to surface like zombies. Some will wander the internet forever. Like those chain letters out to do harm. Here are places where nonsense might take root:
In a comment made by Dick Gregory, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson or Louis Farrakhan.
Maybe a word label will be placed in sauce by Cornel West on a talk show. Oh...and check for a long poem from a black poet linking all of this maybe to Israel or how we could have been protected if we had built New Orleans using the knowledge from Egypt. Yes, and if the levee was destroyed by "white" people to flood the 9th ward then blame it on someone with a mysterious trumpet- who has a new jazz sound and was denied a job at the Lincoln Center.

4. So who will get the big book,or movie deal? This is going to be on television by spring 2006. Who will tell the tale and from what angle? Will it be a story with special effects? A love story? A terrible story about race? Will it be one story about a single parent saving their family? However it's done, it will make a large number of people invisible once again. For every "warm" story you see or read about there are countless others that are sad and can't get worse because it's on the bottom. It's the "bottom blues." Months from now someone will kill someone because they willl just snap...the sad seed planted by all this horror. The mental health of a people is often invisible behind a mask. Anti-government feelings might last long after Bush is gone.
Oh, and look for the Far Right to be very upset about the government taking folks guns away and forcing folks to leave their homes. In the long run this type of "issue" is what survives the storm and alters our landscape forever.
Good News from NO regarding the Library:

NOPL Archivist Wayne Everard writes: "There was no water in the Main Library except for the usual slight backup from the sewerage system and a couple of minor leaks evident on the first floor. I was in with Irene and Linda Santi a good bit of the day yesterday. Two windows in the Technology Center were blown out and there was some damage in there, but that was probably good in that it confined damage to that one room. There is no evidence that anyone was living in the building; we suspect that the police/National Guard went in a broken window, looked around and left through the back door. With help from City Hall we got plywood up over the two windows. But the news is very good."

NOPL Assistant Archivist Irene Wainwright adds: "The New Orleans City Archives, which we hold, is relatively safe. Although the majority of our records (as well as the 19th- and early 20th-century records of the Orleans Parish civil and criminal courts) are housed in the basement of the Main Library, some 18 feet below sea level, the basement remained essentially dry. Wayne Everard, our archivist, and I were able to get access to the building yesterday, along with another NOPL staff member and a representative of Munters. We discovered that the basement sustained no flooding, although there is a very small amount of water in one area, possibly caused by sewer backup. This water caused no direct damage to records themselves.

"The Main Library itself (across the plaza from city hall, about four blocks from the Superdome) came through almost unscathed. Several windows blew out in the area of our Technology Center causing quite a bit of damage there, but the damage is confined to that closed-in room. There is also evidence of very minimal roof leakage on the first floor-most of it missing the books. On the whole, however, the Main Library is in excellent shape. Earlier reports that vandals had entered the building are incorrect. Our branch-run van was looted and we believe another van was stolen from the parking lot, but it is clear that no one got into the building, either to vandalize or to shelter there.

"The NOPL system itself has been hit hard-probably about half of our 11 branch libraries are under water. But these we can (and will) rebuild. The fact that the archives have survived leaves us almost delirious with relief. We are working now to arrange for Munters to stabilize the Main Library building until we can all return and begin the rebuilding process.

"Thank you all for your expressions of concern and offers of assistance. We are unbelievably lucky, and I think I now believe in miracles."
Who Runs Your World?
WETA and BBC will sponsor a discussion of power.

Does the United States run the world? If so, how? Missiles, money or music: which is more powerful?

September 15th at 3:30 PM
DAR Memorial Continental Hall, The O'Byrne Gallery
17th Street, NW Entrance between C & D Streets.
On the panel will be my friend Dr. Nancy Snow. Snow is a Senior Fellow at the College of Communications at Cal State Fullerton. Other participants will include:
Jeffrey Baxter, Dr. Joseph Nye, and Congressman Curt Weldon (R-PA).

Brochures are out for the 10th Annual F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference.
October 22, at Montgomery College, Rockville, Maryland
The keynote speaker is Pat Conroy.
I will be moderating a morning panel on "African American Writing in the 21st Century" at 10:15A.M. On the panel will be Patricia Elam, Kenneth Carroll, and Merle Collins.
In the afternoon (1:30 -4:30 PM) I will be leading a workshop on memoir writing.

Friday, September 09, 2005

I took a morning flight out of National this morning. While at the airport I ran into my buddy Maria. We were two of the founding members of the Humanities Council of Washington DC many years ago. We laughed about the empty nest syndrome. All the kids out of the house. It was fun...we plan to get together before the month ends.
I'm in Indiana working with my friend Julia. I packed several tapes that will be transcribed for the book of interviews she is editing. I also will edit 1 year of my E-Notes for the second memoir. A lot to do in a few days...but I'm in an excellent working space.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

I'm trying to kick a cold down the stairs. I'm not doing too well. I received my video copy of the Edward Jones interview I did for HoCoPoLitSo. It will air on television again in a few weeks.

I have fiction coming out in the following Prentice Hall book:
Publication date is January 2006

I'll be speaking on a panel "The Role of Humanities in International Peace" on October 1st at Wilson Senior High School. It will be a brief 15 minute presentation.

Sarah Browing is putting together COMMEMORATION, COMPASSION & COMMUNITY: A DAY-LONG FUNDRAISER FOR THE VICTIMS OF HURRICANE KATRINA on September 11th (9AM -11PM) at Busboys & Poets, 14th and V Street, NW

I've been corresponding with folks in Chicago at the American Library Association about future help for Louisiana libraries.
Here is the address for the Louisiana Library Association -Disaster Relief:

LLA - Disaster Relief
421 So. 4th Street
Eunice, LA 70535

New season opening for the African Continuum Theatre. I plan to go see I HAVE BEFORE ME A REMARKABLE DOCUMENT GIVEN TO ME BY A YOUNG LADY FROM RWANDA. This is a play by Sonja Linden. I plan to go see it on September 17th.

On September 13th there is going to be the 7th Anniversary Fundraiser for The National Black L.U.V. Festival.

I have a poetry reading tonight at The Nora School, 955 Sligo Avenue in Silver Spring. It's in support of Robert Giron's anthology POETIC VOICES WITHOUT BORDERS
which was recently published by Gival Press. Other poets reading will include:
Karren Alenier, Christopher Conlon, Robert Giron, Peter Klappert and Gregg Shapiro.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

If you wonder what survived Katrina it's speeches. Race is always an issue in the US.
I keep my Baldwin by my bed. So why are we so shocked about poor black people being left to die? It happens everyday, everywhere, everyday.
This could be Somalia or Haiti. It was Malcolm and others telling folks to understand the South and the Congo. New Orleans was more than music and food. It was a very poor city. There are parts of DC that are just as poor too. Do we need a hurricane to see it?

People should pray with their eyes open.
The day after taking your son to college. You return to the house and sit in his room. This is the first time its been very, very clean. It's like a museum. Nothing but basketball trophies and a few pictures on the wall. So what do you do now? Is this the first day of something? Or is everything over?

Today I received a wonderful book from my friend Don Mee. She was recently in Australia and purchased for me, THE BEST AUSTRALIAN POETY 2005 edited by Peter Porter. This book looks like a nice lunch meal. Yum.

Sad note back from Jerry Ward. He lost all his Richard Wright material because of Katrina.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

A wonderful day to be on the campus of Widener University. The entire family drove up to drop the kid in the dorm. :-) He was happpy to see us that he could get on with life. The basketball coaching staff met us in the student center and we got everything done in about 30 minutes. Can we package this experience and share it with other schools? My son has his books, schedule, meal plan, etc. I'm looking for him to return to DC in November. Widener might play 3 games in the area. It will be nice to see my son playing in a new uniform. He hasn't peaked and is still developing into a fine ballplayer. I can see a new confidence on his face.

The drive back to DC from Chester, PA was quiet. Something to write about in my second memoir. Another chapter about to begin. I feel good. More to report after I rest and rise.
Two quotes in today's Washington Post from members of the Arkansas National Guard back from Iraq and now in New Orleans:

"It's just so much like Iraq, it's not funny," said Atkinson,of Woodlawn, Ark., "except for all the water, and they speak English."

"It's like Baghdad on a bad day," said Spec. Brian McKay, 19 of Mount Ida, Ark.

Monday, September 05, 2005

This is what IPS is doing:

Hurricane Katrina and the Sustainable Energy & Economy Network

Sept. 6, 2005: Join SEEN director, IPS Fellow and Earthbeat co-host Daphne
Wysham and an array of specialists in a radio special on Hurricane
Katrina, live on Tuesday, Sept. 6, at 10 a.m., Washington, DC, time. The
show will also be streamed live on WPFW-FM, Pacifica Radio, Washington DC.

Also visit our website for the latest on Katrina and a list of eco-relief
suggestions, background on global climate change and the hurricane, and
other items of interest:

For an extensive catalogue of other timely news and information on the
Iraq war, defense contractor profiteering, and other issues, also visit
the Institute for Policy Studies website at:
Well, it didn't take long for this story to make it to the Washington Post. Just like I thought: See page A32.

"Havana - Cuban President Fidel Castro held a televised meeting with about 1,500 doctors equipped with medical supplies, in hopes of persuading the Bush Administration to allow them to treat victims of Hurricane Katrina. Castro said the United States had not responded to his offer to send medical workers and 26 tons of supplies to the devastated U.S. Gulf Coast."

So what should the Bush people do? Wouldn't we help Cuba if it was in bad shape? So why shouldn't Cubans (many of them black) help other Black people in need? Old Cold War politics will probably prevent this from happening. Who will be the losers?
This is the type of door that opens during a crisis and helps to improve relations between nations.

Of course folks often take the hard line and say no. Iran did this after an earthquake. They refused help from Israel. Some people will carry "politics" to the grave only to be buried under it. I refuse to weep.
Morning music - "Ballad of John and Yoko" - The Beatles Again Album.
Oh..and "Can't Buy Me Love."

So where are we today? Last night I read Christian Caryl's excellent article "Why Suicide Bombers Do it" in the latest issue of the New York Review of Books. Must reading for folks.

One of the best ways to counter the threat of suicide terrorism is to eliminate the conditions of occupation that give rise to the phenomenon in the first place.

Talking about conditions, a few more thoughts about NO/MISS/Alabama. That's my term so that folks are not overlooked.

Wynton Marsalis is taking part in various fund-raisers to help hurricane victims.
One is going to be in New York at the Lincoln Theater's Rose Theater on September 17th.

One can go online to and obtain aerial views of any address affected by Katrina.

So you're the Prez - do you appoint C.Thomas as head of the Supreme Court? Is this a way not to lose the black vote for future Republican candidates? Desperate times lead to desperate acts. Folks are dealing with damage control. Look for an increase in militancy developing within the Black community. Some of this will be frustration at help arriving too late. Think about the person who had a love one die in front of them - and it could have been avoided. A prayer service, a blanket and a bottle of water is not going touch the deep hurt and anger. Seeds are being planted in the minds of young Black people. So it's 10 years from now and someone is on a rooftop shooting at cops. Why? No different from what we see around the world. There is also just a small window of good will. There are short term and long term solutions. Look for the window of good will to evaporate like water after a few weeks. If folks are still living in bad conditions there are going to be small riots breaking out. This will turn host communties against the "refugees." It seems we are just taking people in right now...there is shelter, and there is getting people back on their feet. We can't do this unless we deal with the poverty/class issue. If a large body of the people now homeless were poor to begin with, how do we really help them? What were we doing before Katrina? The poor are always invisible. I'm afraid that we are just going to see a large dislocation of people. Our society can "absorb" only so much without a challenge to its structural foundation. If Jackson is correct about looking at the hull of a slave ship, then we must extend the metaphor and ask the type of questions Lincoln was thinking - What do I do with the emancipated slave?
Can we send them to some other country? Which gets back to this "refugee" question - what if Cuba decided to take in maybe 200 -300 black families? Would people go? How would America explain this? And what if those families Cuba took were being treated better six months later than folks still stranded in Houston? This could be a public relations nightmare. It's also the slick type of thing Fidel would do - like going to Harlem when he was a young revolutionary. Cuba knows how to play the race card too. Or maybe Chavez makes an offer. Would that be another reason to kill him?
So you're Black and living in a stadium and a bus is taking you to a boat...Where is this Middle Passage going?
Remember: life is a breath;
soon I will vanish from your sight.
The eye that looks will not see me;
you may search, but I will be gone.
Like a cloud fading in the sky,
man dissolves into death.
He leaves the whole world behind him
and never comes home again

- From The Book of JOB.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

So how do we prepare for what might be coming next? America right now seems to have it's hem caught in the door of history. She keeps pulling and things might just get worst. For example, between now and 2010 or 2015, how will we respond to a major earthquake in California? We know it's coming just like another storm...
Will we simply blame another president?

When do we "really" begin to change our energy policy?

Might it be necessary to begin moving large numbers of our population away from coastal areas?

If you told someone the Towers would be gone back in 1991 who would have believed you? Now maybe New Orleans is gone too. What's next another Great Chicago fire?
We might have to reinvent America. What happens if we discover our federal goverment can't take care of us? Do we look for new political structures? So it's two years from now and folks from New Orleans are still living in temporary shelters in Houston.What if folks want the "refugees" to leave? What if Houston residents object to the federal policies that are affecting their communties? Will the Lone Star state attempt go it alone again? We need to think outside the box. Our landscape is changing.

Somewhere, a young child in New Orleans might begin to start praying to a different God. Tell the folks in the Homeland Security Office this one -
The child is sweating, it's 90 degrees, he has no water and someone appears out of nowhere and says..."As Salaam Alaikum." Maybe it's a guy with a dirty beard and warm eyes...and maybe he was selling incense and oils just before the storm. But now he is helping people in need. Rumors spread about a man who saved the elderly and pulled women from the waters. He had a long robe and he spoke a strange language...

Well just think of Master Fard going door to door in Detroit selling silks or that Minister once known as Sweet Lou taking a ride in a space ship over Mexico. These are strange times - just ask anyone who has been living in the Dome the last few days. This ain't a baseball or football you're watching.
Percival Everett's new novel was reviewed in the Washington Post Book World today.
The title is WOUNDED. The publisher is Graywolf.

New books coming out this fall that you might want to read:

Mirror to America by John Hope Franklin
The March by E. L. Doctorow
On Beauty by Zadie Smith
Female of the Species by Joyce Carol Oates
Cinnamon Kiss by Walter Mosley

To of the list for me is going to be MEMORIES OF MY MELANCHOLY WHORES by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

J. M. Coetzee has a long piece on Walt Whitman in the latest issue of the New York Review of Books.

I plan to complete "Club Des Amis" by Tony D'Souza this evening. It's the short fiction in the THE NEW YORKER (September 5, 2005).

I watched the Nationals defeat Philadelphia. Frank Robinson is taking charge, trying to push this team into the playoffs. He banned music, card playing and cell phones in the dressing room. Yes, it's business baby. We need more Franks in our lives, not hot dogs. If you want to win you have to will yourself into it. You push yourself beyond even pain. This is the key lesson that I think I learned from my son. Now that he is leaving for college, I look back on what I learned from his childhood. Too often we think just about teaching our children. Well, the little people teach too. My son pushed himself into playing an entire basketball season with a bad back.
I remember being in a high school gym in Virginia a few months ago, and he was knocked down hard. The entire gym stopped and went silent. I just reached from my wife's knee and the air pushed out of my lungs as if it was finding a way to restart.
I watched my son on the basketball court not moving...
And then he gets up and is helped to the sidelines. You wonder how he is walking but you're happy that he can. It's several minutes later and he is telling the coach he is going back in,and you see him pushing the ball down the court,and pushing himself too;looking at the score and realizing that time is running out but that he controls the seconds. Life is nothing but seconds ticking away, and each one as precious as a drop of water.But the better taste is the taste of victory and this is what he desires more than anything. This is what he can taste.
I heard back from folks that Mona Lisa Saloy is OK. She is in Baton Rouge. Here is her email address:

So much to do in the world and the world keeps changing. This is what life is all about. How much do we value life over material things? How important are the basics in life? I think about people everytime I drink a bottle of water. How precious is this stuff? How much do we waste everyday? How important is family? Someone to call during an emergency. Friendships are never the same after a crisis. Some survive and others never return to the level above sea level. How much do we really care about our fellow human beings? Do we count our blessings because we Have while others have not? It's Sunday and we pray to Jesus, but what about the rest of the week? How many of us what to get back to normal conditions? And what if you were poor before the storm? Is normal being poor again?

How many people will profit from this? They will fill their tanks with the misery of others and get extra mileage from it. So you're a witness to what happened but you have no report on the tragic but you celebrate that you have the comfort of a roof above your head; or maybe you simply have the skills where you can walk into a new job and place. But so many others will be looking for a grocery cart to put what little they have in. A four wheel home. One of the major problems in the world today is the refugee problem. That's why it's so important that Americans not be listed under this label. To be a refugee is to become invisible. It means your lifeline is maintained not by a government but by charities and religious people who understand fundamental Christianity. To be a Christian means you must wash the feet of others. Humility is the tablecloth of faith.
It's Sunday morning. 7AM and my son invites me to the basketball court. This is our farewell. He's grown. Our cat Rebbe follows us for about a block. I tease my son about how just a few years ago I was shouting at him not to play ball in the street, now I'm yelling at Rebbe to get back on the sidewalk. The nearby playground is empty.
I haven't been on a basketball court in months. I watch my son hitting jumper after jumper. It's automatic. "I'm ready, for college." he grins. I take a few shots and my son shakes his head. "How, did I ever let you beat me?" he laughs. It feels good being out with the sun coming up and my son leaving home.

Afterwards we walk to the supermarket to buy a few things. We talk with neighbors who are surprise to see the two of out together. My son drives now - so why walk?
I like these moments when it's just the two of us walking down the street and I think of my own father, and I can count the number of times we did this, and still the number is less than the fingers I have, and maybe I keep subtracting instead of adding. I don't know.

I do know that in a few days it will be 9/11 again. Look for someone to give free baseball tickets to people from New Orleans and Mississippi. It's a media moment.
A camera will focus on a young child who maybe never went to a baseball game and he will be eating a hotdog and having a good time. And the V/O will say -priceless and this is why the game of baseball is so important. They won't remind folks that there are winners and losers. How many black people swinging at air and having no relief pitchers to help them.

Extra innings and it's 2005 in America. Who is pitching this shutout against our rights and full equality? I can see the television getting some Black singer to sing the national song the only way we know how. Yes, and the flag is still here and there. And this is all America. We are not refugees but citizens who demand that our country protect us the way we have protected them, and still do, war after war.

I read in the newspaper about the damage to the Jeferson Davis library in Mississippi. Hmmm.
No wonder there have been so many references to slavery the last few days. Is someone catching those Davis books in nets and reading them aloud? How much history will sink after all this is over? How much will float to the top bloated and misunderstood? Will the "old" South rise again?

If there is going to be a New-New Orleans look for black people to be reduced to historical signs- saying they once lived there. Investors might come in and restore the place so that only a certain "class" of folks can return. Are we going to provide "new" housing for low income folks? What about jobs?
Questions not too many people can answer right now, and in the words of Bob Dylan, "sometimes even the president of the United States, sometimes has to stand naked."
Prayers to the Rehnquist family.

Now look for a "judicial" hurricane to hit: A Supreme Court shift to the Right.
Everyone might be looking for shelter now; especially women.

And after the waters parted - there was Clarence Thomas, and he was not alone. But he was black and his friends dressed in black...and the old folks took this as an omen.They shook their heads and prayers fell from their mouths into the earth but did not grow. It was not the best of times. It was Judge/ment Day.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

>>INFO: south bronx issue of mosaic

Mosaic Literary Magazine 15

For all of its seven years Mosaic has called the Bronx home. In this issue
we focus on poets who were born here or, as in the case of James Baldwin,
spent formative years in the borough.

Poet and educator Dr. Tony Medina talks with Cave Canem fellow Jacqueline
Johnson about the current state of poetry.

James Baldwin's friend and editor Sol Stein talks of their early days at
DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, NY.

E. Ethelbert Miller slowed down just long enough to discuss poetry,
scholarship, and Howard University.

Boogie Down Productions: Work from five Bronx poets featured in the book,
"Shout Out."

Plus book reviews

Visit to get your issue.
The whole planet's watchin'
And the Sun God is watchin',too

Jah will stop this reign
Watch our world turn
To help those in pain

Just because they're dark 'n' lovely

- Stevie Wonder

When you don't know where you're going, go by a way you don't know.
- Chinese proverb

Today in DC the sun was out. It was a beautiful day. It was the kind of day you sit in a cafe with your lover and talk about the news or write a Frank O'Hara type of poem. It was the kind of day when everything except the sun seems far away. War, New Orleans, etc. So you listen to the conversations and people are talking about Black people and Bush, and everyone has an opinion. Cellphones ring and you here about someone "getting out" or someone is "safe." You sip your drink and look at cars passing in the street. You could be president of the United States on vacation.
Your bike is parked at the curb.

But blaming Bush is like giving theater tickets to Lincoln. The last thing we need is a special commission to look into why things failed in NO/Miss/Alabama. Another 9/11 report and we don't make changes or we say we can't afford to make the changes.

So now we have all these Black people in temporary shelters and I'm waiting for someone to sing a sorrow song to General Howard and maybe start another Freedman's Bureau. "What to do with the New Orleans Negro?" Is that going to be the title of a secret document in some government agency?

Rumors spreading and you never know if some poet in New Jersey might write a poem
about a conspiracy. Or maybe we've just been ignoring Black people in the South since the Communist Party and the Nation of Islam had plans. How many black home owners will never own a home again? So much to think about. I look at people sitting in the cafes on this nice day and wonder how long they will think about what's going on.

Folks are donating stuff. Know where your donations are going. Tomorrow is Sunday.
Jesus is going to have to walk on water again. We are a people in need of miracles.
Is that a burning bush?
From an old WASA newsletter:

The 2005 hurricane season, which began June 1 and continues through November 30, has already spawned a number of tropical storms, several of which have become hurricanes.
Forecasters have predicted 12 to 15 named storms in the Atlantic this season, with seven to nine likely to become hurricanes.

So what's coming next?
Yes, it looks like Haiti and that could become a problem too. Haiti is always off the map. Black people in poverty. The scab of America is off and look who is bleeding. I remember a few years ago when Sen. Wellstone undertook an RFK type of journey around the South. He wanted to put poverty back on the American agenda. Shortly after that I wrote to him and invited him to Howard. He came and gave a speech...that was when many of us was hoping he would run for President. That seems so long ago.

Let's not forget poor whites who are also missing faces in all of this. Now and then you see a white face in a sea of blackness. White problems in rural America are just as serious as the big urban black ones. Some of these problems are BBQ pits just waiting for racism to heat up.

Faith is when you see the sun behind the clouds.

Now is the time to reconstruct hope. We survive the floods...we look for the rainbow sign...remember what God told's the fire next time.
I'm heading down to a morning breakfast meeting at Busboys & Poets...some folks interested in doing a fundraiser for NO/Miss on September 11th.

Missing from all this has been our VP. Is he well? This would be the type of situation where one would expect his organizing skills to help Bush get a handle on things. Look for Bill Clinton to be in the Big Easy hugging black people in a few days. Bush 1 too.

Our musicians (especially the jazz ones) should try and host a world-wide concert to assist our government and people get back on their feet.
Since we are now "refugees" we should get UN support behind this too. No need to think we are too proud to ask other countries to help.

We also need to build new alternative cities for folks. Many people can't or won't want to return to New Orleans and parts of Mississippi. I keep including Mississippi in my E-Notes so that it won't become Missing Mississippi. It's just like the two wars we are fighting - not one but two. I don't feel anyone should be living in a tent or hotel for 3-4 months.

Assistance should really be sent to folks who have kidney problems, diabetes, AIDS, etc. Special assistance should be given to very young babies and the elderly. If we don't help them immediately then they will become part of the rising death numbers.

Medical schools across the country might want to give special credit to students who might want to volunteer for 1-2 weeks rotating stints.

The key is to coordinate things well. We also need to move forward with plans to deal with another storm. So rebuilding levees is a very important task.

All of us better start budgeting and getting ready for all the oil/heat price increases...they will start coming this weekend.

OK...what are our Labor Unions doing? Poets are meeting.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Here is an excerpt from a song my friend Andrea Wyatt wrote:

Ride away from the superdome with Jesus,

Ride on through to Houston by dawn,

Shiver on an air-conditioned bus

With nothing but the clothes you got on.

Who you gonna ride with, Jesus?

The rich man in the suv?

Who you gonna ride with, Jesus,

Come on, Lord, and ride with me.
How long have we been gone? Race like warm Coca Cola is now coming out of the mouths of everyone talking about New Orleans. Why are people so surprise? The South is BlackFolks.This is where our numbers are. We are also poor people. We live one check away from a hurricane. This is not Brooklyn, Chicago or Detroit - this in New Orleans and also Mississippi. Many of the folks were three steps behind the Civil Rights Movement. Just go back to what King was trying to do in 1968. Here are pictures of the poor folks that wanted to come to Resurrection fact - folks should direct those buses to DC. Hmmm. Folks camping around the Government until answers and supplies are given before promises. So much anger going around it's not good.
What can we learn? We just can't live in the present. We have to make sure we protect our enviornment and that we listen to folks talking about how the river bends and the trees grow.
Can you imagine if the situation in New Orleans had been an act of terrorism? Folks would be blaming other folks and running around trying to lynch someone. Or folks who looked like the "sinners." If we have problems getting food and essentials to key parts of the country then we have problems. Let's throw into the mix a nuclear plant damaged and radioactive material walking around like it's carnival time. What would we do? The sad thing about all this is that in a few days the story is going to be pushed off the front page and folks will want to know about how Madonna is doing? Or where Michael Jackson might buy a new home. Meanwhile, poor black folks will become invisible. Black folks who were middle class will be looking for work and maybe not finding it. Look for the migrations to take place (again)...folks moving into Texas and California...or heading up North. Look for the military to recruit folks into the National Guard. How can someone turn that down? Don't you want to help "your" state get back on its feet? I could write a poem and pitch that one.
I keep looking at the pictures...the one on the front page of today's NY Times says it all. A body floating by under an overpass in downtown New Orleans.Another woman in the picture not even paying attention. The dead body looks like it was taken down from a cross. If you want to know where the blues come from it's right there...survival music...and it ain't a pretty picture.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


National Endowment for the Arts Announces New Director of Literature
submitted by National Endowment for the Arts
Details August 24, 2005

The National Endowment for the Arts announced today it is appointing San Francisco Chronicle Book Critic David Kipen as the agency's Director of Literature. Among his new responsibilities, Kipen will design and lead national leadership initiatives, develop partnerships to advance the literature field, and recommend panelists and manage the review process for literature applications. He will assume his new responsibilities on September 6, 2005.

Since 2000, David Kipen, 42, has been the book critic for the San Francisco Chronicle where he reviews six to eight books each month. He is also a book critic and essayist for National Public Radio's "Day to Day" program and presents Santa Monica station KCRW-FM's weekly commentary and podcast "Overbooked."

National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia said, "The National Endowment for the Arts has a tradition of Literature Directors who have regarded literature as one of mankind's highest arts and most moving means of communication. David Kipen upholds that tradition with a wealth of knowledge and experience in the world of the written word. I know that he will not only carry on the great work of the NEA's Literature program, he will explore new ways of connecting Americans to great writing and great writers."
The other problems:
Excerpt from the New York Times (8/31/05):

If flooding - rather than strong winds - turns out to be responsible for most of the damage caused by Katrina, many displaced homeowners may be in for more frustration.
While most have insurane that protects them against wind damage, such insurance rarely covers floods. Homeowners must buy flood protection separetely.

In Hancock County (MS), 1 in 4 households are insured against flooding. In Jackson and Harrison Counties, the number is 1 in 10.

This is not good.
Dear Ethelbert,

Love you, love you and bless you and all who've asked and expressed concern. My
internet access is limited and people are waiting in line to use the three
computers here at thehotel. I've sent the following to NBC Nightly. Please do
me the favor of forwarding it to any interested news service you can.

Much love always,
Brenda Marie

To Whom It May Concern:

Those of us who did leave the City before the hurricane are scattered and
waiting to return to begin again. Reports of looting, shooting and fires are
distressing; but we hold on to faith that order will be quickly restored. What
is most important is that those housed at the LA. Superdome not be forced to
remain in what is clearly an untenable situation. Medical attention and
supplies, food, clothing and transportation out of the City must be provided
them. Repairs of levees and pumps must begin now.

Many Americans know New Orleans primarily as a tourist destination, a playground
of tourists and wealthy businessmen. The fact is that this is one of the
greatest cities this country has known. It is unique in the history of the
nation and through such industries as oil & gas, shipping and transportation and
the growth and spread of jazz and the music culture that has grown out of it,
has provided the backbone for much of what the rest of the world knows and
thinks of as "American." Years ago we were dubbed "the City that Care Forgot," "
Big Easy," "Silver City" not only because we knew how to enjoy life, because we
were and are an open-handed and open-hearted people. New Orleanians the world
over intend nothing less than the salvation of our City. Report that.

I, my Mother and my companion left New Orleans on Sunday afternoon, traveled
through Mississippi and Arkansas, and landed eventually in Shreveport, LA. at
the Isle of Capri Casino Hotel. My brother remained in the City and still has
land-line telephone service and water. Presently, I am able to make but not
receive calls on my cell phone. We are safe and anxious to return to our City.

New Orleanians are a people of unimaginable strength and resilience and New
Orleans will be rebuilt as a great city. I am returning to begin again as soon
as possible. Report that. Tell that to the world again and again.

Brenda Marie Osbey
Poet Laureate
State of Louisiana
3319 Dumaine Street
New Orleans 70119

I love Michael Wilbon but his words in today's Washington Post are silly and is the type of response someone makes on the otherside of a television set. Well, make it a newspaper. If I'm in New Orleans do I really want to watch the Saints play football right now?
Next week? Giving people football right now is like giving a person a drop of water and not even a bottle. Short-lived joy is very American. We even want short wars. If we would deal with long term problems and solutions maybe the levees wouldn't be breaking.

Do you want to think of a real problem right now? Imagine a second storm hitting the area within 2-3 weeks. Twin storms.

Oil prices - jumping out of windows. The economy looking like a US soldier without a proper protective vest. Go figure.

It's impossible to stop Natural can't pull God over and ask to see his ID.
The word was always outside our borders. NO(w) we talk about refugees in New Orleans.
The word slips into our vocabulary like Rwanda and people are seen walking with just what they can carry. Looters everywhere and someone will find even liberals wishing they had guns. So- if people are refugees then look for the nearby states (like nations) to feel the economic impact. More homeless walking around in Houston five months from now. Do you really care if the NO Saints can't play home games this season? Do you really care about home field advantage if your own home is gone?