A True Story About Hollywood

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following true story is part of the crazy world series I’m doing for the World We Don’t Know (WWDK) blog, the brainchild of Kelli Anderson, my colleague in the Literary Media and Communications department at Duke Ellington School of the Arts, and our freshmen students. Kelli asked me to contribute. So I […]

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 […]

Tim Seibles: A Product of Sweat and Patience

Understanding how Tim Seibles got the National Book Foundation’s attention requires some knowledge of neuroscience and of his persistence to be heard. At any moment, the human mind rapidly shifts between thoughts. It’s that movement Seibles mimicks when arranging the sections of his books. “If we’re really listening, we’ll go from rage to tenderness pretty […]

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 […]

Clint Eastwood’s “Invisible Obama”

Last night, I watched Clint Eastwood talk to an empty chair that stood in as President Obama. He asked a piece of furniture for explanations about his “failed” policies, then answered his own questions. This passed for humor with the convention audience as they laughed ‘til their faces turned red. The entire time I couldn’t […]

I’m on the show THE POET AND THE POEM

According to the Library of Congress’s website: The Poet and the Poem is an ongoing series of live poetry interviews at the Library of Congress with distinguished artists. Webcasts are now available of recent events, including the appearances of two U.S. Poets Laureate and several Witter Bynner fellows. Distinguishing features of the show are the poets’ […]

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 […]

Monica Hand’s *me and Nina*

Farmington, MA: Alice James Books, 2012. 78 pages. $15.95. The world continues to remember Nina Simone (formerly Eunice Kathleen Waymon) as a storyteller through songs, whose body of work created a legacy of compassion, empowerment and liberation. At the time of Simone’s death on April 21, 2003, she was already among the 20th century’s most […]

Tidal Basin Review Doing Big Things!

If you’re like me, you probably wondered what brought on the unseasonably warm weather a couple of weeks ago. And, like me, you’ll see the cause of that was the scorching new issue of Tidal Basin Review (TBR). I’m honored to have some work alongside writers who get down on this issue’s theme of beauty. […]