Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Sane madness

"The courage of the poet is to keep ajar the door that leads into madness."
-Christopher Morley, writer (1890-1957)
(With thanks to the other Tom.)


The Katrina-Iraq Connection

At a press conference for Camp Democracy yesterday, Kelly Dougherty, Cofounder of Iraq Veterans Against the War, said: "During the year I spent in Iraq and over a month spent along the Gulf Coast, I've seen first-hand the results of the Bush administration's policies. One of the most shocking things for me was to witness greater destruction in our own country than in war-torn Iraq. The similarities were sickening, displaced families, poverty, destruction of entire neighborhoods, and the militarization of the cities, to name a few. Every day I witness the leaders in Washington lie to the public and propagate fear, while their actions show that they don't care about the soldiers and veterans, the Iraqi people, or our own citizens along the Gulf Coast."

DC Poets Against the War will host an open mic Sunday, September 10, 3-5 pm in Tent 5 at Camp Democracy. Join us!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


The Great Spam Challenge

For a week or so last month I kept track of the subject headers of Spam I received. Types of Spam seem to come in waves (penis enlargement one week, African scams the next...). This was a particularly creative time in Spam Land, yielding the following marvelous constructions. How about The Great Spam Challenge: Write a poem using one or more of these and I'll post it on the blog. Have fun!


Yank gentility
anchovy cross-examination
innovative con man
adventurous tourism
droppings washable
passersby gentle
Spartan acorn
slap colored
reconciliation overreact
enunciate whole wheat
puritan crowning
rodeo harangue
wall camp
blue jay unbelievable
rotunda chauvinism
cockiness upholster
conscientious objector experimental
painkiller scholar
jackknife family tree
quarterfinal jackass
fury sagebrush
admirably bore
alcoholic byway
indecency debriefing
puritanical pyramid



That's me - I have been a woefully bad blogger of late. So many apologies!

Contrast me with Lorna Dee Cervantes, now guest blogging over at the Poetry Foundation: She writes and writes. A stew of beauty and I-don't-know-what. Here's her own blogspot: - poetry and reports and photos.

Readings and plans for readings and school starting and September is upon us. Just about. Please don't give up on me. More very soon.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


So We Don't Forget: Poetry, Like Bread, Is for Everyone

Tomorrow night I'll be reading a few Salvadoran poems at the fundraiser for Voices from the Border. Here's one by Roque Dalton:

Like You

Like you I
love love, life, the sweet smell
of things, the sky-blue
landscape of January days.

And my blood boils up
and I laugh through eyes
that have known the buds of tears.

I believe the world is beautiful
and that poetry, like bread, is for everyone.

And that my veins don’t end in me
but in the unanimous blood
of those who struggle for life,
little things,
landscape and bread,
the poetry of everyone.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Back into the Fray

August should be allowed to go gently into the good night, it seems to me. But here in DC it's the start of the fall season. I'm giving two readings this weekend (details below), my son starts 3rd grade on Monday, and my husband starts teaching next week. My Chicago bones rattle at these before-Labor Day exertions, but when in Rome...

So, here are the two weekend readings. Friday night I'll be reading a few Salvadoran poems as well as my own. A staffmember with Voices on the Border will read them in the original Spanish and I'll read the translations. Given the other performers and the important issues involved, it should be a great event.

I promise a real post sometime soon.


Join Voices on the Border
to celebrate art, justice, and community
with performances by
Esther Iverem and Sarah Browning of D.C. Poets Against the War
Alfonzo Velez

Friday, August 25, 2006
8 pm
Playbill Cafe
1409 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC
$20 suggested donation
(includes 2 drinks)

For more information:

The police force’s violent reaction to a recent protest in El Salvador has been called the worst human rights violation since the 12-year civil war that ended in 1992. The protestors, who were young students (many still in high school), were raising their voices against the rising cost of living in San Salvador, including high bus fare and energy costs. They were met with violent police, helicopters shooting live ammunition, and snipers on top of a children’s hospital. The current situation is extremely precarious, as the right-winged government is calling the students “terrorists” and trying to rescind their right of freedom of expression. Voices on the Border is working with other groups in solidarity with Latin America to work with politicians in putting pressure on the Salvadoran government to stop the use of force and protect citizens’ right to peaceful protest.

About Voices on the Border:

Since 1987, Voices on the Border, a national grassroots network of individuals and groups in the United States, has responded to the needs of organized communities and progressive groups in El Salvador. They facilitate the "partnering" of U.S. donors and community groups with local communities in El Salvador; help fund grassroots groups; and promote sustainable, equitable community-based development.The work of Voices on the Border has focused on the eastern region of El Salvador, historically one of the poorest and most neglected regions, and one of the areas hardest hit by El Salvador's civil war, which ended in 1992. The organization began as a campaign to support the needs of 8,000 refugees from this area, then living in a Honduran border camp. In 1989 and 1990 they returned to El Salvador. Voices on the Border accompanied them as they returned and continued to support communities of returning refugees as the war ended and reconstruction began. The process of re-building a new El Salvador based on peace, equality, and justice continues.

Voices on the Border:



Cordially invites you to attend The 3rd Annual Summer Poetry Reading and Story-telling
A Community Literary Outreach

Saturday, August 26, 2006 at 4 PM

House of Creative Writing
508 G Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024-2724

Featuring poets & novelists:
Sarah Browning, Blair G. Ewing, Judith McCombs, Angela M. Peabody, Jessie Seigel, Ninie G. Syarikin

OPEN MIKE will be launched after featured readers

Event is FREE, but reservation REQUIRED
Youths are welcome
Reception follows the readings

For more information and reservation:
Phone: (202) 554-8159

Invitation may be downloaded at the website, at the EVENTS section.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006



I'm observing the traditional August torporfest and taking a break until the week of August 20. See you then!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


A Morning Prayer


Lord let me suffer much
and then die

Let me walk through silence
and leave nothing behind not even fear

Make the world continue
let the ocean kiss the sand just as before

Let the grass stay green
so that the frogs can hide in it

so that someone can bury his face in it
and sob out his love

Make the day rise brightly
as if there were no more pain

And let my poem stand clear as a windowpane
bumped by a bumblebee’s head

- Anna Kamienska, translated from the Polish by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh


On our responsibility to history

Those who are alive receive a mandate from those who are silent forever. They can fulfill their duties only by trying to reconstruct precisely things as they were and by wresting the past from fictions and legends.

- Czeslaw Milosz, Nobel Lecture, 1980

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