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Washington, DC Poetry Tour November 19, 2009

Washington, DC Poetry Tour

Our nation’s capital through the eyes of its great poets.

(Courtesy of the Poetry Foundation)

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/journal/article.html?id=238226

——

NEWS FROM POETRY FOUNDATION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 19, 2009

Poetry Foundation Launches Poetry Tour of Washington, DC

Free downloadable audio tour shines a literary light on the nation’s capital.

CHICAGO-The Poetry Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of the Washington, DC, Poetry Tour. The interactive tour, freely available at http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrytour <http://thepoetryfoundation.createsend3.com/t/r/l/huhudj/l/r> , reveals our nation’s capital through the eyes of its great poets, including Walt Whitman, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Elizabeth Bishop, among many others. From the hallowed halls of the federal buildings to neighborhood side streets, the tour features poems written in and about DC, as well as original photographs by poet Thomas Sayers Ellis.

Narrator and inaugural poet Elizabeth Alexander leads the tour from the stacks of the Library of Congress to Civil War battlefields to the Capitol steps, from the National Zoo to the U Street Corridor to the Busboys & Poets Café. Archival recordings from canonical poets including Langston Hughes, Robert Hayden, Sterling Brown, Randall Jarrell, and Ezra Pound chronicle DC’s rich literary history, while contemporary poets such as Linda Pastan, Quique Avilés, Yusef Komunyakaa, Naomi Ayala, A.B. Spellman, and Jane Shore share their experiences, through both poetry and commentary, of national monuments and monumental poets alike.

The DC Poetry Tour presents the development of the capital’s poetry scene over the last century and a half, from its interplay with musicians Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, and Ben Webster, to the creation of the office of poet laureate, to the legendary literary salons hosted by Georgia Douglas Johnson, to the multifaceted work of numerous poet-activist groups. Local poets and scholars-including E. Ethelbert Miller, director of the Afro-American Studies Resource Center at Howard University; David Gewanter of Georgetown University; and Kim Roberts, editor of Beltway magazine-provide the framework for understanding the moments and movements that have shaped DC’s literary culture.

Listeners to the tour, which includes 34 stops throughout the National Mall and Northwest DC, learn that Washington is not only our government’s headquarters but an important American literary capital as well. Historical images and artifacts provide a glimpse into DC’s storied past, while photographs by poet Thomas Sayers Ellis, who was born and raised in Washington, give viewers an inside look at DC’s neighborhoods and people. Poem text is presented along with original audio recordings and archival images, as listeners step into the national arenas that continue to inspire poets today.

“Tracing the history of American poetry against the culture and geography of our national capital helps readers develop a better sense of our shared literary heritage,” notes Anne Halsey, media director of the Poetry Foundation. “Poetry lovers visiting Washington can download free audio tours and maps to take guided poetry walking tours of the National Mall or Northwest DC-but you don’t have to be in DC to explore the city’s literary history. The full multimedia tour can also be experienced virtually at poetryfoundation.org/poetrytour.”

Beginning at the Library of Congress-the home of the first Poetry Consultant, Archibald MacLeish-the tour discusses the contributions of such heralded poets as Robert Lowell, Robert Frost, and William Carlos Williams. MacLeish declares, “A poem should not mean / But be.” Later, Williams fashions a modernist American poetry: “Never reverse a phrase that is your language as you speak it . . . Then you’ve started to create a culture in your place as you are.”

Contemporary poets from throughout the Beltway also present poems. Poets such as Brian Gilmore, who relates his personal interest in Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Myra Sklarew, who discusses May Miller, recognize the influence of their predecessors, reflecting upon them as President John F. Kennedy did when he spoke of Robert Frost: “Our national strength matters; but the spirit which informs and controls our strength matters just as much. This was the special significance of Robert Frost.”

The Washington, DC, Poetry Tour, an original production of the Poetry Foundation created in collaboration with Tierra Innovation, was written and produced by Curtis Fox. Special collaborators on the project include Grace Cavalieri, Katie Davis, Patricia Gray, E. Ethelbert Miller, and Beltway magazine editor Kim Roberts.

For more information, go to http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrytour <http://thepoetryfoundation.createsend3.com/t/r/l/huhudj/l/y>

 

the folks on langston way October 19, 2009

Filed under: In Photos,People in the World of Art — anotefrommel @ 8:22 am
the folks on langston way

(left to right: katey richie, derrick weston brown, fred joiner, truth thomas, randall's long-time friend, melanie henderson, randall horton, d'ana downing)

 

Trust and Music September 22, 2009

Someone whom I trust, dearly, shared a song with me a few weeks ago. The song was “Be Real Black for Me” by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway. If you’ve heard this song, you already know how genuine and sincere the lyrics are. But Flack and Hathaway deliver it magically. I had never heard this song before except in Scarface’s sampling of it in “My Block.”

 

I was happy to learn there was an entire CD of Flack and Hathaway duets, so I bought it with the quickness.  There’s so much variety in it, a devastatingly bluesy treatment of I (Who Have Nothing), originally by Ben E. King, an almost taunting rendition of You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling, originally by the Righteous Brothers, a song from their church roots, Come Ye Disconsolate, and piano solo, Mood.  The self-titled Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway is probably the best purchase I’ve made all year and it hasn’t gotten old yet. I play it every morning like kneeling for a prayer. I walk differently, speak differently all day because of it. I play it when my son and I are driving home. He especially likes to sing the grand finish of Be Real Black for Me in his strongest, most joyful 2 year-old voice. I love it when he chimes in to duet with me.

 

 

Salim Hylton September 4, 2009

Salim

 

This crowd of mourners

doesn’t make it real,

your Fleetwood will bounce

at the curb any minute now,

black, polished, monumental

1996, chrome grill, chrome lady

leaning from the hood

like leaping breathless

from the Titanic;

 

You will be here,

you should be here

any minute now.

 

– Melanie Henderson

 

Greased August 12, 2009

                                         Greased

    

                              Skin, some cartilage to a burned pop star,

                              invokes no semblance of awe,

                              as the bottomless pigment of purple.

  

                  The prerequisite for giving everything

                  is to lose your American mind

                  and much of your African phenotype.

  

                             A dream for the work of a stanza,

                             Soul’s plastic gel, family.

                             What did they become in the course of a performance?

 

         – Melanie Henderson

 

DCee Love (in Photos) July 20, 2009

Brothers

Brothers

 

Go Go Nate & the Ms.

Go Go Nate & the Ms.

 

 

Wear It Like a Tattoo December 7, 2008

My cousin’s 28th birthday was last friday. He celebrated with tattoo artist Dune of  Top Notch Tattoo Studio on 15th & U Street, N.W., Washington, DC. The artistry was apparent as Dune and his tattoo partner drew freehand designs of tattoos to be inked that night with go-go pumping in the background. The color and the energy were amazing!
Wear It Like a Tattoo, #1

Wear It Like a Tattoo, #1

Wear It Like a Tattoo, #2, Melanie Henderson

Wear It Like a Tattoo, #2, Melanie Henderson

Wear It Like a Tattoo, #3

Wear It Like a Tattoo, #3

 

Wear It Like a Tattoo, #4

Wear It Like a Tattoo, #4