The Black Poets United And They All Got Down

The panel of poets at a Baltimore City Library quietly considered an audience member’s question: “When did you know you were a poet?” Evie Shockley, a presenter, smiled as the response brewed in her mind. She’d been asking herself the same thing until she took a poetry workshop led by Lucille Clifton. If you wrote […]

Urban Renewal: Major Jackson and Audre Lorde

The speakers in both Major Jackson’s 11-part poem “Urban Renewal” (from Leaving Saturn) and Audre Lorde’s Coal are both city dwellers coming to terms with the changing landscape. They fear possibly being displaced and mourn the once familiar structures city officials left “crumbling to gutted relics.”[1] The speakers aren’t alone in their suffering. “A chorus […]

The Quiet Photographer and The Bullhorn: T.S. Eliot and Amiri Baraka

A well-known poet once defined the poets’ role as that of “forensic scientists.” But, instead of a crime scene, poets comb the world around them, looking for evidence that the poem occurred. In that context, the speakers in T.S. Eliot’s Collected Poems: 1909-1962 and Amiri Baraka’s Transbluesency: Selected Poems 1961-1995 aren’t just concerned residents and […]

Kiana Murphy’s Quest to Change the World

Full disclosure: I’m the senior program director for the DC Creative Writing Workshop. We’re always bragging about our students. The article below features the story of one of our writing club members, Kiana Murphy, who’s got a bright future ahead of her. Given the educational hurdles in her neighborhood, Kiana Murphy’s had to overcome a […]

Two Year Blogiversary!

Today marks the second anniversary for Alan W. King’s Blog. Last year’s anniversary came and went silently. I wanted to do something different this year. When I thought about writing an anniversary post, the idea seemed good. I would retell the story about the circumstances that led to me blogging, how the blog’s evolved since […]