Jakmel Ekspresyon: Creating & Supporting Artists in Haiti

Jakmel Ekspresyon is an arts center in Jacmel, just outside Port-au-Prince, Haiti. They have been active for more than two years in their mission to cultivate and assist local artists in and around Jacmel, in a non-discriminatory community. They do some magnificent work as you can see from their website and their facebook page. I […]

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Apples & Crosses: POET LORE Fall/Winter 2012

I received my new copy of Poet Lore a few days ago and I haven’t been able to put it down. From its evocative front cover, a Library of Congress photograph “Suffrage parade, New York City, May 4, 1912” to “Coronagraphy: a sonnet sequence” by Samiya Bashir, this issue is rich. Editors E. Ethelbert Miller and […]

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Fall for the Book 2012

We’re entering the season for book festivals and we’re fortunate, in the Washington, D.C. area, to have several. One of the finest is the Fall for the Book Festival, organized by George Mason University and the City of Fairfax, Virginia. This year, Fall for the Book will host more 150 authors during its weeklong celebration […]

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Labor Day 2012 & My Father

My father, Sam Ross, believed passionately in organized labor. He knew, from his own experience, how crucial it was for workers to organize themselves into unions. He knew the power  which organized workers could bring to a workplace– whether that power was used to protect themselves from unsafe working conditions or whether that power was […]

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Edwidge Danticat’s “Create Dangerously” is a Gentle Manifesto for Artists

Edwidge Danticat, is among the best fiction and non-fiction writers of English these days. Her novels about life in Haiti (Krik Krak, Breath, Eyes, Memory, and The Farming of Bones) create vivid stories of sympathetic characters undergoing remarkable sufferings. Her talent as a storyteller is wide and rich. More recently, she’s been writing non-fiction. Her 2010 […]

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“Everything We Wanted to Do”

  It was a few days after Christmas, in 2008, and we were packing up the house my parents lived in for nearly 60 years. My mom had died four years earlier and my dad was unable to live there alone anymore. We worked for several days packing and shipping the furnishings around which we […]

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The Opposites of August

August is my favorite month. It always has been. I love August because it is the month, in the northern hemisphere, when one can feel summer in its full, unrestrained power. August means sunshine. August means rich, full, green trees. August means short pants and bare feet. August means the beach. August means swimming. When […]

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“Voices of Haiti” — Our Common Humanity

I have never seen a more stirring and crafted fusion of poetry, photography, and music, than in “Voices of Haiti: A Post-Quake Odyssey in Verse.” Poet Kwame Dawes, composer and poet Kevin Simmonds, singer Valetta Brinson, and photographer Andre Lambertson combined their significant collective talents to create a masterpiece. “Voices of Haiti” gives voice to HIV-positive […]

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The Necessary Truth of Deserts

When I was a boy, my family frequently camped at Joshua Tree National Park, a huge and beautiful desert park in Southern California. It was there I learned to savor and love deserts. While we often think of deserts as barren, empty places, they are nothing of the sort. At first glance, deserts can seem, […]

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Many thanks to Dennis Wills, of DG Wills Books in La Jolla, California, where we had a terrific reading on Saturday night, July 7th. I’m so grateful to the many friends and family members who made their way to La Jolla on a cool, quiet Saturday. DG Wills Books is an amazing bookstore, packed from […]

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Remembering My Father: Sam Ross 1918-2012

It’s hard to find photographs of my dad by himself. That alone, speaks volumes about the man he was and the life he lived. This photograph, taken at a little restaurant in Ramona, California, near San Diego, captures his generous spirit: his smile, his joy at being with one of his granddaughters, his good humor […]

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Neruda’s Last Books

Last week, I received the last two William O’Daly translations of Pablo Neruda’s poems from Copper Canyon Press. Neruda’s second-to-last book, The Separate Rose, is a book-length poem about his trip to Easter Island. The final book is The Sea and the Bells. This book is made up of poems found on Neruda’s desk after […]

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Split This Rock 2012

The Split This Rock Poetry Festival, 2012 is now a few weeks behind us and I want to share some reflections on this terrific event. For me, it was 4 days of renewing friendships, making new ones, hearing remarkable poetry, and gaining energy for the journey. The photograph to the right, taken by Alan King, […]

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Piotr Gwiazda’s “Messages”

Piotr Gwiazda’s new book of poem Messages is a beautiful book that certainly has something to say. Pond Road Press has come up with a unique and interesting kind of publication. Messages is essentially a chapbook of poems, 45 pages, followed by 13 pages of an interview with the poet. This format allows the reader a sampling […]

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Poetry & Graffiti on the Red Line

Knowledge Commons, DC is “a free school for thinkers, doers, and tinkerers…” It’s a creative and innovative organization run by the magnificent and energetic Lucy Burnett. Knowledge Common’s core belief is that everyone should be able to take classes and everyone should teach classes. I’ve participated twice now in their programs and have loved the […]

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Spring’s Slow Walk

This past week, as I walked to my car in the early morning, I heard songbirds everyday. Soaring melodies and low laughs. The sun was just warming the horizon, adding its cast of morning orange to the black sky. This is how we do Spring in Washington, D.C. It’s slow. We’ll have a 70 degree […]

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