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“My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love” November 25, 2007: Today was one sensuous experience after another. After a NY Knicks basketball game in Madison Square Garden, (my first and they won against the Chicago Bulls!) I visited the Whitney Museum to absorb more of the great Kara Walker, whose 3rd floor exhibit “My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love” seemed very much a retrospective of her [...] by

A New Athenian Poem November 20, 2007: Individualism is a mature and calm feeling, which disposes each member of the community to sever himself from the mass of his fellows and to draw apart with his family and his friends, so that after he has thus formed a little circle of his own, he willingly leaves society at large to itself. Selfishness originates in blind instinct; [...] by

In Praise of Callaloo November 20, 2007: The distinguished man on the right is Charles Henry Rowell, one of the deans of American letters. Do not let the John Lennon glasses fool you; he's an old-style, southern aristocrat with a passionate love for African-American visual and literary art. This is evidenced by his 30 year tenure as the founding editor of Callaloo, "the premier [...] by

The New Athenians: A Manifesto in Search of a Generation of New Poets & Poems November 19, 2007: What follows below was received in my Inbox this morning. The anonymous senders threatened to pelt my four year old son with potatoes if I did not post their manifesto. I love my son, so here goes: The New Athenians: A Manifesto You stand face to face with your counterpart, opposition, comrade, member of your generation; on the edge of an [...] by

How International Is American Poetry, Today? November 16, 2007: If I drive 30 minutes north of my home, answer all the correct questions about citizenship, provide all the proper papers, and am cleared to proceed across the border, I will effectively land in another country, Canada! And if, per chance, I have some poems in my brown leather satchel, suddenly, my poems become international. Just that simple, [...] by

Literary Podcasts November 5, 2007: Confession #4,080: I am a podcast junkie. A near-brutal, weekly commute last year forced me to seek alternatives to NPR’s apple-pie programming. Don’t get me wrong: I wish I had Scott Simon’s intelligent, bubbly voice, and who does not wish to be interviewed by Terry Gross, if only for the opportunity to elicit her infectious, on-air [...] by

Journal, Day Five November 17, 2006: [Indianapolis International Airport–Gate D1] US Airways Express Flight 3078G 17NOV 1200P Coach Class–Zone 3 Indianapolis to Boston 25 Thoughts for Friday 1. So many successful people in the public sphere suffer from mild forms of narcissism and pretense, especially politicians, art administrators, and poets. 2. Beware [...] by

Journal, Day Four November 16, 2006: ********************** 11:40 a.m. Grant Street Inn Bloomington, IN I just returned from chatting with Cathy Bowman’s bright students: Ali (rhymes with Cali), Sara, Allie, Joyce, Zach, and Emily. They read Hoops and had some insightful observations and posed some intelligent questions that had me, while formulating answers, revisit and [...] by

Journal, Day Three November 15, 2006: 4:12 a.m. 34 Concord Avenue, 3rd Floor [Listening to The Roots Game Theory and staring at this upright Steinway piano in my studio with the tall, glass vase of (tiger?) lilies I inherited from my friend and studio neighbor Anna Shuleit as she was booking it out of town. The air is resonant with their dying. I’ve not bothered to sweep away [...] by

Journal, Day Two November 14, 2006: It was no less a revolution blistering with historic urgency, 10 years ago in June, when poets and teachers Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady auspiciously convened the first weeklong gathering of black poets on the Hudson River in Esopus, New York, one week prior to Father’s Day. Poets of varying ages of African descent came from Colorado, [...] by