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ELEGIES for New York Avenue by Melanie Henderson December 4, 2013

Filed under: Art - The Product,Melanie Henderson — anotefrommel @ 3:04 pm

ELEGIES for New York Avenue

poems by

Melanie Henderson

ISBN: 978-1-59948-330-6, ~96 pages

Cover/List price: $14 (Only $12 if purchased from the MSR Online Bookstore)

November 2011.

* * * WINNER of the 2011 Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award * * *


Melanie Henderson’s verse in Elegies for New York Avenue is the blessed sound of the street and stoops of Washington D.C., the lives of the special people on the porches and parlors, the unseen, but the people who are the world, and are the city that is loved so well here. Her first collection of word is more than a triumph; it is one long magical song that showcases a poet with a big heart and an even bigger literary vision that heals and holds up together.

—Brian Gilmore

“Delicious in their sheer sonic energy, the poems in Elegies for New York Avenue take us on a headlong, heady rush through story and memory, portrait and lyric, lament and celebration, every line sounding the way for another, linking again and again to a surprising intimacy and reality. The mosaic of neighborhood and family that Henderson creates is spellbinding. Each piece, each person, each emotion is emblazoned in these poems by precise words and honored by an attention both tender and fierce. These poems throw off sparks. Catch them!”

—Joan Houlihan

In her debut collection, Elegies for New York Avenue, Melanie Henderson carves out a totem of love and loss from the mercurial landscape of memory. Her elegies are lamentations for the living—childhood friends that no longer haunt the avenue, a brother mixing beats with Go-Go and hip hop heat, altars for aunties and cousins, portraits of a father slipped into the shadow of a gun and the promise of a son—that tease and trace history, worrying the present’s past in lyrical, lilting, pristine poetry. Henderson does for DC what Bearden did for Harlem. In her verse, she collages in a lost world of Black pride, struggle and integrity into a precarious present palpable as hope.

—Tony Medina


Reading @ the American Poetry Museum August 10, 2018

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Join the the American Poetry Museum, Center for Poetic Thought, 716 Monroe Street, NE, #25, Washington, DC 20017, for a reading this Sunday, August 12th @ 3 pm – Lisa Pegram and Melanie Henderson


The Next Verse Poets Mixtape Volume One: the 4 X 4 June 9, 2016

Filed under: Art & Culture,Art - The Product,Melanie Henderson — anotefrommel @ 10:00 am

The Next Verse Poets Mixtape
Volume One: the 4 X 4

featuring: Melanie Henderson, Fred Joiner, Lisa Pegram & Enzo Silon Surin


The Next Verse Poets Mixtape 4 x 4



5 x 7 | 62 pages | Poetry

ISBN 978-1-941604-02-1

Publication Date: June 15, 2016

THE NEXT VERSE POETS MIXTAPE is a poetry sampler of ethnographic significance. 4 poets represented by 4 poems each offer insight into the shared experiences of black Americans in today’s political and social climate. Poems such as “Notes to a Little Black Boy”, “Seven Ways of Looking at Black Flowers”, and “How to Nullify a Super Hero” speak loudly about negotiating the delicate promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In addition, poems like “Lamb & Vodka”, “Drum Lesson”, “Nostalgia”, and “Once, When We Were Not Gods” highlight place and its lingering presence in our beings in ways that are akin to us all. These poems, both layered and plain, coax reverence as each poet explores the intricacies of the familiar.

This collection will be printed as a limited edition of 250.
The first 44 copies ordered will include four bonus tracks (1 additional poem per poet) as an homage to soon to be outgoing 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama.



Don’t forget to BOGO: Buy One and Get One, for a friend 🙂

 about the next verse poets

New Publisher on the Block! Cherry Castle Publishing


I joyfully took on the role of Poetry Editor for an exciting new press, Cherry Castle Publishing.


Cherry Castle Publishing, LLC is one of America’s newest and most energetic publishers of great literature—a press where words grow mighty trees. It is a press that honours the vibrant multicultural voice of American literature, one book at a time. Our fundamental commitment is to practice literary equality and to embrace work that is informed by the social, political and cultural vigor of our times.


The press has put out exciting new work, We Didn’t Know Any Gangsters by beloved DC poet Brian Gilmore, and “This” Ameri-can-ah by prolific poet Curtis L. Crisler.


Truth Thomas, the founder of Cherry Castle Publishing, delved into children’s literature with the amazing protagonist, Mya, who challenges the images and morality standards fed to her by her television in My TV is Not the Boss of Me.


New work is forthcoming from the press, including the exciting anthology, Songs for a Passbook Torch, which will include works by varied poets and writers in honor of Nelson Mandela’s freedom-fighting legacy.


Stay abreast of this fresh new publisher’s news and publications at: http://www.cherrycastlepublishing.com/index.html.


In love and poetry,


Melanie Henderson



P.S. We continue to accept submissions for the Mandela Anthology. If you have a gem or two or three that addresses the tough beauty of this ancestor, feel free to send. Check the guidelines below.


We are looking for poetry and short essays that:
(1) honor Nelson Mandela’s freedom fighting legacy (first and foremost);
(2) offer tribute to Winnie Mandela for her related activism, and all appropriate others active in the anti-apartheid struggle;
(3) shine light on the past and present fight for racial justice in SA (particularly in the context of police brutality);
(4) shine light on the profound similarities between police brutality in SA under the height of Apartheid, and current race-based police brutality in America.
Songs for a Passbook Torch, edited by award-winning poets, Truth Thomas and Melanie Henderson, is scheduled for publication when all the type is right. Payment will be in the form of one contributor’s copy.

Send your work as a SINGLE attachment (.doc; .docx; .rtf; PDF). Submit up to five previously unpublished poems and essays (honoring a 3,000 word limit) to:


Please direct questions to editor@cherrycastlepublishing.com
THE SUBMISSION PERIOD FOR THIS ANTHOLOGY IS CURRENTLY OPEN-ENDED. Decisions for inclusion in the anthology will be made on a rolling basis




TIDE’S IN! – Tidal Basin Review, Winter 2015 Issue! January 29, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — anotefrommel @ 3:21 pm

T ∫ B ∫ R

tidal basin review

The Tidal Basin Review Launches the 2084 Issue!

The complete E-Issue of the Tidal Basin Review is available at www.TidalBasinPress.org.


Cover Art by Allen Forrest

January 27, 2015 – Washington, DC


Tidal Basin Press, Inc. launches the WINTER 2015 Issue (The2084 Issue) of the Tidal Basin Review.

Tidal Basin Review is an electronic literary journal with a print-on-demand option. Tidal Basin Press, Inc. seeks to amplify the voice of the human experience through art that is intimate, engaging, and audacious. We make every effort to include work that propels the present artistic landscape and to publish the wide spectrum of American voices.

The 2084/Winter 2015 Issue features visual artist, Allen Forrest, a special essay from Henry Giroux, interviews with poets, Derrick Weston Brown and Alan King, and the creative works of 23 writers imaging our world 100 years after 1984, the prophetic novel by George Orwell.

View the full E-Issue and order your print copy of the 2084 Issue of Tidal Basin Review atwww.TidalBasinPress.org.

Winter 2015 Contributors: Liz Ahl, Joshua Bennett, Derrick Weston Brown, Joan Colby, Curtis Crisler, Carol Dorf, Milton Ehrlich, Allen Forrest, Henry A. Giroux, Claire Hermann, Jen Karetnick, Alan King, JW Mark, Britt Melewski, Jonathan Moody, Keith Moul, Barry W. North, Randy Parker, Adrienne Perry, Ken Poyner, henry 7. reneau, jr., Joseph Ross, Penelope Scambly Schott, and Scott T. Starbuck.

Press Contact:

Melanie Henderson, Managing Editor



Poetry and Conversation at the Central Pratt Library, 11/5/2014, 6:30 p.m. October 24, 2014

Poetry and Conversation with Ailish Hopper and Melanie Henderson

at the Central Pratt Library

November 5, 2014, 6:30 p.m.



2013 Pushcart Prize Nomination December 4, 2013

Filed under: Art - The Product,Melanie Henderson — anotefrommel @ 3:20 pm

Melanie Henderson received a nomination from I. Giraffe Press/Iris G. Press/Fledgling Rag for the 2013 Pushcart Prize along with the following writers:


YONA HARVEY/”Cutthroat :: The Rising Cost of Fuel”



ALAN KING/”Freeze”

AMANDA NEWELL/”Vacation Photo, Gulf of Mexico”

DAINA SAVAGE/”Separation”


“Nostalgia” is a section of a 4-part poem entitled BONES written after the discovery of old African burial sites in Georgetown, D.C., September 2012)



It’s not any different
than Southwest Washington,
or any other old black hood.


Georgetown is marble and
brick over blood and bone.
The tragedy is not its newness


—or even its color. It’s a failure
of courtesy not to speak to us:
ghosts on lampposts, right brown


shoes sturdy on left knees,
elbows propping up hatted heads
from the chin; it’s a failure


to remember we built those old
rock churches, and monuments,
those houses crumbled to erect


condos that block out light.
Take off your hat when entering
this city; there are spirits around you.


“Wish You Were Here” November 2, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — anotefrommel @ 9:11 pm
Tags: ,

It’s been just over a week. I have felt every second, yet recall most of it as a blur. I feel something other than sad—  Devastated? No, not quite. I don’t think there is a word for losing a friend in body and knowing this is how it will be for the rest of your waking days. As Marlene would say, I have “ugly cried,” I have wept, I have been silent, I have been brave, weak, tired, restless, terrified, peaceful, and tearful all over again.

In recent years, I was lucky if I saw Marlene more than once a year (and some years, I was that lucky 😉 But, we witnessed each other nearly everyday, sometimes via phone calls late at night. She’d be up working tirelessly touching and retouching photos for a client. Those phone calls only ended as one of us would start to make less and less sense because the morning was upon us; via gchats randomly throughout the day, some that made us guffaw and snortle with laughter. My goodness how we laughed until I had to beg her to cut it out because my cheeks hurt. Apparently, she was the remedy for my out-of-shape laughter muscles.

Our exchanges became integral to my daily life. We challenged each other. Walked each other through trials with tough love and that truth we sometimes didn’t want to hear. No matter the content of our conversations, we always knew every word was composing something much more eternal than mere chatter. We had been building sisterhood, constantly reminding each other of the magic and powers of such a thing. She taught me so much about friendship—things I thought I knew, but hadn’t quite mastered and still haven’t. We were constantly growing each other up and making the other a little less silly. But man, we were so silly after we got through the tough stuff, whatever that may have been at the time.

Tomorrow, I and the masses of people she touched with her big heart, quick wit, and breadth of talents will say ‘goodbye’ to her. I just cannot think of how I can. I know she will never call me again. Her name will never pop up on my g-chat screen. She will never post “I love you, Sis” followed by a slew of hearts on my FB page. She will never drop into town and opt for the couch, a glass of Malibu and pineapple, and endless talk. I know this, yet I still just cannot imagine it.

She posted the following picture on my page this year with the caption “Wish you were here.”

“Wish you were here” by Marlene Lillian Hawthrone

Tonight, she just doesn’t know what I would give to hear her laugh again.

There is just something special about the family we choose.

I miss you, Sis, and will love you always ❤


The Sister I Chose. October 27, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — anotefrommel @ 12:18 am

Marlene Hawthrone (November 26, 1982 – October 24, 2012)

I am waiting for the phone to ring,

to hear Nina sing about birds flying high,

a sun up in the sky. I am waiting

to hear the rapid fire of your day,

what dawning of love lit in brightly

colored wedding gowns and matching

suits got snagged in the teeth of your lens.


I am waiting to hear how you touched

and retouched a new human who had

no warning of your impossible wit, or spirit,

waiting for you to carve out a second

of your day and hand it to me within

the vast limits of four sealed lines.


I am waiting to swap secrets of great shame,

sass and delight, secrets so big, only hearts

as big as ours could promise to bury them

with our skins singed in the fire of growing older,

and a little less silly.


I am waiting to claim again with you some

greatness, to lift each other out of failure & defeat

with many hard, long sermons delivered

from the valley of sisterhood, I am waiting

to hear ‘I love you. Goodnight.’


I am waiting to meet your curly-haired

offspring years from now while you dote

on my little one’s zest as if Rumi is pulling

back your ‘fro and whispering in your ear.


I am waiting for you to live for you, to leave

behind anything and everyone who thinks

they can hold or direct the secret light in your eyes.

I beg they let you see less of them and more of you.


I am waiting for you to show up and disappear,

promise and change your mind; You have become

a firefly, and I, a wistful child waiting for your

promised and indeterminable green glow.


A Poetry Reading by Nikky Finney and Melanie Henderson June 22, 2012

Filed under: Events and Readings,Melanie Henderson — anotefrommel @ 11:41 am