Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I am such a sap...

I cried for twenty minutes this morning after someone sent me a version of the video above from MSNBC. I don't know if it was the story or Whitney, but I just couldn't help myself. I did some research on the backstory and got to thinking about Isa. 11:6 and Disney's The Lion King (I know, I know the three seemingly have no correlation whatsoever, but that's the way my mind works!)

I'm telling you, PETA should option the story and this video. Showing it would be a lot more effective than throwing paint at people who wear furs. Click the picture above, watch the video and try, just try, not to be moved!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ms. Carrie...

She would want you to get up at sunrise and write poems.
She would want you to dance and not help her to the car.
She would want you to know her mother, her sisters, her brothers.
She would love, even at 93, she would accept a proposal.
She would send e-mails in ALL CAPS to get your attention.
She would say, You young people teach me so much, and mean it.
She would walk with us in Greensburg, pick flowers and smile.
She would tell you about us--beautiful and ugly--like Langston.
She would want you to know Ota Benga, how he was loved, lost.
She would covet our music and our words.
She would cook for you and brag about it.
She would gain another son and inspire him to immortalize her.
She would say, Thank you.
We all say, Thank you and Thank you and Love.

Ms. Carrie wrote the poem below as part of her long series about Ota Benga, but I think it's also fitting today:


The - Night Birds sing sorrow songs.
Joy - is no more, they walk
in - the woods alone, singing,
our - hero has gone away, our
hearts - are sad. No one
has - told us why our nights of fires
ceased; - no more days of the hunt with
our - friend, no more nights of the
dance - with the moon. Our teacher
has - closed his books and
turned - our dance

*Lamentations 5:15; King James

She'll be deeply missed...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

It's That Time Again...

Every two years, the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival takes place in Stanhope, NJ and over 100,000 poets and poetry lovers descend on the space. Of course, I'm heading up north with my girls and we get more and more excited each time they add a new poet to the schedule.

My favorite poet, Lucille Clifton, has been at every Dodge Festival since the festival began. There's even word that she packed 10,000 people into a venue there once. Another one of the poets I admire most, Sharon Olds, will also be back this time around. I cannot wait to hear her get down. (I'm secretly hoping to hear "The Premonition" or, at least, "Sex Without Love"...)

In addition to Clifton and Olds, Dodge has booked a slew of poets I know and love. Check out the entire list here.

The only problem is, this year, there are so many fabulous things happening here that conflict with Dodge! First of all, I have a bone to pick with my alma mater because they've planned their annual Lit Fest during the same week at the Dodge Festival! This is sacrilege! The Lit Fest is always in October and now (because we've already paid for Dodge, and poets do not have money to throw away) I'm going to miss one of the coolest brothas that ever stepped to the mic or the page: Mr. Doug Kearney. I'm pretty darn mad about this, as I have been talking him up with friends in Norfolk for an entire year, and now I won't even be able to see him bless the space with his fire, brilliance and general all-out insanity. Still, I can't boycott the Lit Fest because I've just fallen in love with Late Wife and the Lit Fest tapped the Pulitzer Prize-winning author to read as well.

And, if that isn't enough to drive all the writers here crazy, the city is also holding its first ever "Books in the Park" Day. They're asking all area authors to brings their books to sell. A write up that poet Toni Wynn forwarded me says this of the event: "Our event will be a paired with the 3rd Annual AT&T Sunrise to Sunset Acoustic Music Festival. The 'Books in the Park' Festival will be held on approximately 2 acres on the western end of Town Point Park. The area will have a village feel with a Children’s Pavilion, Poet Lounge, and larger tented areas with fiction and non-fiction genres..." A Poet Lounge?! I don't even know what's in a Poet Lounge, but I wanna be there! Alas, I won't be able to go because it's on the same weekend as Dodge :-(

My dream for Dodge weekend would be a marriage of both worlds or to find a way to be in two places at once, but I doubt that either of those things will happen. Nevertheless, below there's photo of Sekou Sundiata during his last performance at Dodge, but if you click on it, you'll find another poet waiting :-) This is as close as I could get to having the best of both worlds at my fingertips...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Get on the Good Foot!

Courtesy of one brilliant, good-hearted poet and journalist, L. Lamar Wilson, you too can check out the items famed auction house Christie's has up for sale from the Godfather of Soul. Just click here to get an eyeful of what helped brand him the hardest working man in showbiz.

also has a wonderful write up about James Brown in their American Masters series. James has to be considered when you think about groundbreaking artist who single-handedly helped change the face of America and its language. I remember reading Sammy Davis Jr's second memoir (which is fantastic, by the way...hey, Pop-Pop, did I ever give that book back to you?) and he discussed the way Brown's anthem "Say It Loud--I'm Black and I'm Proud" spearheaded the shift from colored to black, and how it's influence was felt from the street to the White House and beyond.

the picture below for some poetry in motion from Soul Brother Number me!

Monday, July 14, 2008

TORCH is here! Read, enjoy, submit!

TORCH: poetry, prose, and short stories by African American Women

Spring / Summer 2008 Issue Available Online
In this issue:

FLAME Tayari Jones interview by Ana-Maurine Lara

SPARK Kamilah Aisha Moon


Keli Stewart

Nicole Goodwin

Torch is currently accepting submissions. Please visit for guidelines.

Torch was established to promote the work of African American women. We provide a place to celebrate contemporary poetry, prose, and short stories by experienced and emerging writers alike. We prefer our contributors to take risks and offer a diverse body of work that examines and challenges preconceived notions regarding race, ethnicity, gender roles, and identity.
Within Torch, we offer a special section called Flame that features an interview, biography, and work sample by an established writer as well as an introduction to their Spark, an emerging writer who inspires them and adds to the boundless voice of creative writing by Black women.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

My new favorite superhero: WordGirl!

Leave it to PBS to create the superheroine of my dreams. Her name is WordGirl, and I love her madly. I discovered her flipping channels the other day where I found her nestled between Arthur and Clifford the Big Red Dog. She is a superhero that fights her enemies by using, explaining and defending the power of words!

In the episode above, WordGirl meets the Butcher, master of meat and mangler of words, and tries to prevent him from robbing a bank. She's funny, cool, brilliant, strong, beautiful and everything I want little girls (and boys!) to know they can be, plus she reads books!!! The only way they could possibly make this cartoon better is if, next season, she has a bevy of brilliant sidekicks with names like Sestina, Hyperbole and MetaForce. That would be astounding, amazing, astonishing, absolutely ostentatious and awesome :-)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Cave Canem: Round Four

All I have to say is, Dante Micheaux is one hard-working brotha! Nobody knows how much he was missed from this year's CC summer retreat more than the Blue Collar Scholars--Amanda Johnston and I. What a fantastic experience it was (of course), but we definitely earned our keep. Still, we found a little time to play hard, too :-)

Just a few of my highlights from the week in Greensburg:

The week was full and all-encompassing. So glad Alison, Toi and Cornelius saw fit to let me be a part of it all. Thanks fellows, for fellowship, laughter, and CC love. Til soon.