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Framing 2009, Envisioning 2010

Tzyna Pynchback, one of my good writer-friends and I decided to have a conversation about 2009 in all of its beauty and ugliness. We examine the personal and the public and what I think this blog is all about–interrogating culture. What it all means and what can we gather from the music, films, and books that … Continue reading

Remember Maya Angelou before Celebrity?

I came across this interview with Maya Angelou from the 1980s, and it occurred to me that this is the woman whose voice and words I fell in love with. I read her autobiographies and world literally opened up to me. I don’t hear this person speak when I see her interviewed these days. Granted, she’s … Continue reading

A Conversation With Randall Horton

In the lingua franca of ninth street, the reader encounters a barrage of pathologies threatening the District’s residents such as death, drug addiction, and hopelessness. How did you emerge a prodigal son—if you will allow me to read this as autobiographical—there’s a running suit of poems titled “notes from a prodigal son”? The poems titled “Notes … Continue reading

Starting a Poetry Band

One of the challenges of being an artist is having to decide which “art” to push centerstage. We’re all so very complex. Even as writers, there’s such a fertile ground. And, God forbid you don’t choose, you’ll descend into a dilettante. And it will begin to affect other areas of your life. It’s difficult to move forward … Continue reading

Lauryn Hill Does Nina…

For my senior thesis at Howard University, I wrote a play about the life and times of Nina Simone. In this play–which I hope to get on a stage soon–I make a comparison to Nina Simone and Lauryn Hill. One of my favorite songs is Sinnerman. Watch Lauryn’s rendition. What do you think?

A Black Shadow Returns

contributed by Melanie Henderson   Most mornings, I drive to work. But after a weekend of tree-trimming with babyboy, baking, and gift-wrapping, I was running a little low on energy and time. So, I took a walk to work so the sounds of the city could wake me. While walking down K Street near what … Continue reading

Rita Dove Quotable

I love this woman, this poet. I have ever since I remember reading her poetry in high school. Imagine my amazement when I discovered she was a black woman! “Have you ever heard a good joke? If you’ve ever heard someone just right, with the right pacing, then you’re already on the way to poetry. … Continue reading

Sade Returns

There are few artists that I hold in the same esteem as Sade. For starters, how many recording artists can come out with an album every ten years and still remain relevant? My moms would play her music in the 80s as she’d give me a bath in the kitchen sink. Hers was a soothing … Continue reading

Obama’s Speech on Unemployment

In October, I left my job or I was fired. My position was terminated. However you slice it my future was uncertain. Surprisingly, I was clear-sighted through it all. I remember it was the tail-end of October. The trees were shedding much like the big and small companies around the nation. I was grateful that … Continue reading

Etheridge Knight quote

    ”Black Poets should live—not leap from steel bridges, like the white boys do.”  Source: poem hunter.com 1933-1991