Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Recently arrived in the mailbox is this massive, and lavishly illustrated (my own favorites are the shots of Keith & Mendi Obadike, and of George Lewis in performance) book from the Center for Black Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. This volume, edited by Anna Everett and Amber J. Wallace, grows out of two amazing conferences hosted at the Santa Barbara campus, but this is no collection of "proceedings." Rather, the book is a carefully assembled and assiduously critical collection of essays on race and technology.
Contributors include Elisa Joy White, Raiford Gaines, Daphine Washington, Guy Berger and the aforementioned George Lewis (whose essay is a great thing to read while listening to his trombone playing), along with a critical introduction by Anna Everett.
The book comes with a remarkable DVD that offers highlights from the conference presentations. The DVD alone is a powerful resource that many of us will be citing from in conferences to come.
For information about the book, email the Center at: .

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Audience members explaining Baltimore's unusual system for judging poetry performances.

Earlier this month I traveled to Baltimore to read in the i.e. series with poets and old friends Beth Joselow and Phyllis Rosenzweig. Beth has a new book from Chax Press, BEGIN AT ONCE. We hadn't seen each other for more than six years, so it was a delight to read on a program together.

The reading was held at THE CARRIAGE HOUSE, a building off an alley that has been converted into a performance space with a beautiful, wooden, elevated stage sporting a grand piano and a xylophone-looking device featuring bells in chromatic arrangement.

P. Inman, profiling ----

Tina Darragh was also there, seen here with Beth Joselow. She and Pete were to read in the same series another date. I was just thinking of her because I'd gotten the new release of THE COMPLETE MILES DAVIS ON THE CORNER SESSIONS -- a great package that made me go to my book shelf and pull down my copy of Tina's FROM ON THE CORNER TO OFF --

Phyllis --

Tom Mandel, piano in background!

For more photos, with a good view of the converted space and stage (and those shots I wasn't able to take of myself) click here.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


Dawn broke with the strong scent of freshly cut pages in the air Saturday, so I headed off for the 9th annual Santa Barbara Book and Author Festival.

I'm not entirely sure what this guy's connection to Santa Barbara is, but there he was.

Al Young, California's current Poet Laureate, was also on hand. This was the first time we've seen each other since the American Literature Association in May of 2006.

I spent most of the time when I wasn't on stage out at the poets' table, visiting with local poet and activist Sojourner Kincaid Rolle, who has a new CD of her poetry, BLACK STREETS. Here she is with Catherine Daly, who was displaying her beautiful book PAPER CRAFT.

Catherine Daly organized the SERIOUS PLAY panel that I read on. Here she is with our fellow poets Yunte Huang and Michelle Detorie.

Professor Luis Leal was celebrating his 100th birthday that day. I hope I can spend my 100th birthday at a book fair. Leal has also endowed an annual book award. This year's winner was Alejandro Morales, author of THE RAG DOLL PLAGUES. It was heartening to see a long line of young students waiting to speak with him and to collect autographs on their copies of his novel.

This was also my first opportunity to hear a reading by Shirley Geok-Lin Lim, who I've known for years, and whose anthology THE FORBIDDEN STITCH I have often used in my courses.