Showing posts from 2012
an update on the Bop anthology
---Here is an update to those who are interested in the progress of the anthology of Bop poems that Tara Betts and I are doing.
We have not secured a publisher, despite some inquiries.  We have not sent out additional inquiries in the past several months to conflicts in our respective schedules and the necessities of having to adjust to personal emergencies.  During the winter break we will be sending out queries to publishers once again.  
The journal Brilliant Corners, edited by Sascha Feinstein, will have the Bop as its focus in the forthcoming December issue.  You will have a chance to read the original essay I wrote for the Bop in 1997, when I was a member of the first faculty to be invited to teach at Cave Canem.  There is also a small section of poems chosen by Mr. Feinstein from the manuscript of the anthology.  We plan to include this issue of Brilliant Corners in our queries to editors.
We are quiet happy with the manuscript of the anthology, but i…
Save the Children
In thinking about the tragic murder of Heaven Sutton, the 7 year old girl in Chicago who was hit by a gangbanger's stray bullet, I come back to the intersection of personal and social trauma of the 1960s'. 
At that time several forces intersected in the lives of black people, such as the loss of old social institutions created during segregation, the violence of urban rebellions, the Vietnam War, the shift in the American economy toward global economics, and the personal trauma of child abuse.  A vortex of violence was created in the 60's, and Heaven was caught unaware in what that vortex of violence has bequeathed to us, a tragedy that should have us looking more critically at what happened in the late 60's when black communities became battlegrounds and then were emptied of economic opportunity.
There is plenty of data and research available, but what I am suggesting is that we have not looked closely enough at this period as a beginning of the viol…
Men, Work, Violence, Men, Work Guns
I pulled over into a rest stop in Connecticut a couple of weeks ago because I was getting a little sleepy.  At 2 o'clock in the afternoon I'm settling too much into the Satellite radio, and things are getting a little droopy, so I pull over to sit for a few seconds and then get out to walk into the McDonald's for a coffee.  
It's before Zimmerman has turned himself in, and I have already had a warm greeting from a black man I don't know, a stranger.  It was just a warm exchange of smiles and a nod of the head, the kind of moment that reminds me of what I've read about the signs used during the time of the Underground Railroad, tilts of the hat from a certain kind of hat at a certain corner, etc.  
At this second stop the black man I saw must have been in Islam at some point.  He is especially excited to see me wearing a hat that looks like it might be on the head of a Muslim, but it was actually made by one of my Taiji classma…

That Summer in New Hampshire

That Summer in New Hampshire Water Song Part II

When my ship comes in is a phrase we all know, or a certain generation knows, and it's about the thing hoped for but not quite seen.  The poet's success is some ship out in the bay for many of us, and maybe it's when we realize it's better for the ship to stay out on the water that we come to understand the real prize of this thing called being a poet.
I left Baltimore and drove up to Indian Pond, New Hampshire, without a clue as to how long it would take.  I had been on the road for eight hours and realized it would be a few more before I got to the turn I was supposed to take to get to Catrina's house.  There was supposedly a mailbox there at the road just past the junction where New Hampshire met Vermont, but it was dark.  There were no lights on the road, just the road itself and the way it revealed it's curves and dips to my Datsun 510.  
Recently, I had to explain to my students just what a Datsun was.  "…