A Christmas Post

A lot’s happened since October. I started two new jobs — one full-time (communications specialist for a national nonprofit) and the other part-time (senior editor at a global hip-hop journal). Though the former, more so than the latter, leaves me less time and energy to blog here, I couldn’t be happier. With both positions, I […]

How Zoe Valentine Works

Editor’s note: This is part two of an on-going series about successful bloggers and their habits. Read  part one here and click here to read part three. A lot’s happened in the nearly five years Zoe Valentine’s entertained and informed readers with her blog about what she calls “the most mundane of things” in her […]

The Obvious

Never bet against your wife. My cousin Alvin tried to teach me that through his marriage crash course. “Love”–Alvin’s pet name for his wife, Natasha–“is always right,” he once told me. “Even when she’s wrong, she’s right.” Conventional wisdom tells guys being “wrong” is better than sleeping on the couch. You’d think I’d heed that advice […]

DRIFT, A Cyber Conversation on Process

EDITOR’S NOTE: My friend, poet and educator Curtis Crisler, recently taught my debut poetry collection, DRIFT, to his students at Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne. He emailed me his students’ questions, which resulted in this cyber conversation: What did you say to the girl who approached you to apologize for her behavior towards you? All […]

Rejoicing in the Church of Poetry

I’m coming off a high after graduation last month. I finished the Stonecoast M.F.A. Low-Residency Program at the University of Southern Maine, a two-year journey I started for time to write and complete another manuscript to shop around. It allowed me to expand my network, see Maine (a place I otherwise would not have visited), […]

Curtis Crisler: Migration of a Latchkey Boy

Curtis Crisler’s unnamed speaker is a griot of sorts. His distant kin, fleeing from Jim Crow and southern domestic terrorism, joins the 5 million African Americans who decide to roll out. But they aren’t the first to do so. Others left before them during the first Great Migration (1910 to 1930), which swept two-thirds of 1.6 million […]

The Residency and Immersion

Jaed Coffin’s goal is to aim for the big idea when he’s working on a writing project, often immersing himself in his subjects’ worlds. And he didn’t expect anything less from his students, who he urged yesterday to do their subjects’ stories justice by giving readers the big picture. There was a lot to take […]

Blackbird Poetry Festival

This time of year, Poetry gets a lot of attention from the mainstream public. News organizations around the country that would otherwise snub her appearance play paparazzi, recording her whereabouts and goings-on. Thousands of businesses and non-profits celebrate her vital place in American culture through readings and festivals, through book displays and workshops. And for […]

The Ear Hustler (flash fiction)

“YOU LOOK GOOD,” the guy tells the woman. They’re standing behind a teacher in a coffee shop where the audio selection shifts from jazz to acoustic world music to blue grass, then back to jazz. Grounded coffee beans claim the space with their fragrant presence. The guy has close-cropped white hair. He’s wearing a gray […]