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Bus Boys and Poets, DC, New Chapter

New Chapter

When I read stories–regardless of genre–I like a good sense of place. I might even go so far to say that I enjoy when the writer gives the place a personality. For instance, Morrison literally makes the house in Beloved breathe, haunt, and also comment. It almost becomes a character in the novel. Gloria Naylor does a superb job of make Brewster’sPlace sing. James Baldwin writes of Harlem and Greenwich Village like no other.

When we think of documenting history, the places the people gather are equally if not more telling that who was there. I realized this early on. And while I knew that Bus Boys and Poets was a special place, I hadn’t realized the gravity of the place until recently when I was offered a job as Marketing Coordinator with the Marketing and Events team. What makes Bus Boys and Poets different than any other above average place to eat is that there’s a real production at work in inviting the kinds of people that they invite. It’s become so contagious that folks such as Cornell West, Common, and so many others are dropping by to see what it this place all about.

As an artist, I’m fascinated by productions. How movements are staged. How political agencies caucus in backrooms and divide the city, develop and ignore other parts of the city. I think it’s important for any artist to understand how the arena they wish to enter operates. And most important, who are those power brokers making things happen. And how can they find a seat at the table.

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About Abdul Ali

I'm a fellow at American University studying creative nonfiction and poetry. I write across a few genres but it's all brought together by larger questions about culture.

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