Friday, September 28, 2007


Stop the Censorship

From friends at the excellent media reform organization Free Press:

Dear Sarah,

You've probably heard that Verizon censored text messages sent by the pro-choice group NARAL. They claim it was a glitch. And they feel really, really bad about it.
Sorry, Verizon. That's not good enough. This is just the latest example in the long list of phone company efforts to block, filter or interfere with the free flow of information over 21st century communications networks.

Take Action: Tell Congress to protect free speech:
In August, AT&T censored a live webcast of a Pearl Jam concert just as lead singer Eddie Vedder criticized President Bush. AT&T said it was a glitch.

Both Verizon and AT&T illegally handed over private customer phone records to the National Security Agency. The phone companies first denied it and then started a secret campaign with the White House to gain immunity from any lawsuits.

This pattern of abuse shows that powerful phone companies cannot be trusted to safeguard our basic freedoms. The democratic principles of free speech and open communication are too important to be entrusted to corporate gatekeepers. Whether it's liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, pro-choice or pro-gun, the phone companies can't pick and choose what messages get through.

Censorship by AT&T and Verizon shows us what we can expect in a future where these network gatekeepers gain control over the free flow of information. Congress must reaffirm its commitment to free speech on the Internet, on cell phones, on our airwaves -- everywhere!

Take Action: Tell Congress to protect free speech:

We've had it with phony apologies from phone companies. Congress must act now to protect free speech and the free flow of information.

Thank you for all that you do,
Josh Silver
Executive Director
Free Press


In the Valley of Elah Recommended by AntiWar Filmmaker

From Chun Pan:

I am the filmmaker that made the documentary "Skipping in Camp Casey."

I want to heavily recommend the movie that I just saw, In the Valley of Elah, with Tommy Lee Jones and Charlize Theron. It is the first Iraq anti-war movie that I have seen in the American mainstream cinema.

As a filmmaker I can testify to the power of this film and how it could possibly affect the American public. I wouldn't call the movie pretty or entertaining. It goes beyond that. It depicts a generation of soldiers whose moralities are molded by the circumstances of this tragic war.


Thursday, September 27, 2007


Dan Vera at Shirlington Busboys October 1

Busboys and Poets has opened a new branch in Shirlington, VA, and I will be hosting the poetry night Monday, October 1, when we'll feature DC Poets Against the War stalwart and Vrzhu Press editor Dan Vera. Followed by an open mic!

The reading starts at 8:00 pm, but come early for dinner or a drink and make it a festive occasion. Busboys and Poets, 4251 S. Campbell Ave., Arlington, VA. (Directions at

Dan Vera is managing editor of the gay culture journal White Crane, founder of Brookland Area Writers & Artists, cofounder of Vrzhu Poetry Press, and a member of the Triangle Artists Group. He has studied history, anthropology, theology, and justice & peace studies at Southwestern University and Iliff School of Theology in Denver. His work has been published in DC Poets Against The War: An Anthology, Delaware Poetry Review, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Konch, Shaping Sanctuary, Red Wheelbarrow, and Raddish. His poetry has appeared on Pacifica Radio’s nationally broadcast Peace Watch program. He lives in the Brookland neighborhood of Washington, DC with his partner Peter and their operatic dog Roofus.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Whiskey Makes Best Fall Reading List

Whiskey in the Garden of Eden has been honored with a spot on Best Books for Fall Reading 2007 at The Monserrat Review. Woo hoo! See the list here.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


DC Poets Against the War and American University present:

Poetry Reading and Reception

on the Abu Ghraib paintings of Fernando Botero

Saturday, November 10, 2007, 6-9 p.m. - Poetry Reading at 7:00 p.m.

Katzen Arts Center, American University Museum
Free and open to the publicWheelchair accessible

A reception/viewing paintings will begin at 6 p.m. Poets will begin reading 7:00 p.m. from a new collection of poems, Cut Loose The Body, published by American University and DC Poets Against the War for this event, and a booksigning will follow.
Katzen Arts Center, American University Museum
Ward Circle, intersection of Massachusetts & Nebraska Aves., NW
Washington, DC
For directions and Metro info:

As part of the exhibit of Botero's Abu Ghraib paintings (on display at the Katzen Arts Center from November 6 - December 31, 2007), D.C. Poets Against the War and the American University Museum are proud to host an evening of poetry with the nationally recognized "poets of witness" of our time -including Iraqi poet Sinan Antoon, Brooklyn's D. Nurkse, Myra Sklarew, E. Ethelbert Miller, Consuelo Hernandez, Kyle Dargan, and more. Admission is free.

For more information, contact the American University Museum (202-885-1300, or Rose Berger (


Espada Rocked the House

Poet-essayist-translator-activist Martín Espada gave a terrific, rousing reading at Busboys and Poets on Thursday. Check out photos by Rachel Giffiths here. To a packed house, Espada ranged across his oeuvre, reading poems of Chile, farmworker resistance, the obligatory cockroach poem ("Every Puerto Rican poet has to have one") and ending with the magisterial "Imagine the Angels of Bread," which he dedicated to the activists. Very moving.
Martín Espada will be back in DC in March for Split This Rock. Don't miss it!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Get Involved - Split This Rock Volunteer Gathering Oct 4

At such a time, our polemical prose is not enough. We need the power of song, of poetry to remind us of truths deeper than the political slogans of the day.
-- Howard Zinn, Historian

Split This Rock Poetry Festival:
Poems of Provocation & Witness is only 6 months away –

Volunteers are needed to make this historic gathering a roaring success!

Come to a get-together for potential volunteers and learn how you can be involved. Help is needed in the areas of publicity/marketing, outreach, fundraising, accessibility planning, administration, hospitality, and more!

Volunteer Get-Together
Thursday, October 4, 7 pm

626 Quebec Place, NW, Washington, DC
GA Ave/Petworth stop on the green line
Refreshments will be served!
For more info and directions: 202-787-5210

Split This Rock Poetry Festival, March 20-23, 2008, calls poets to a greater role in public life and fosters a national community of activist poets. Building the audience for poetry of provocation and witness from our home in the nation’s capital, we celebrate poetic diversity and the transformative power of the imagination. Some of the most important poets of our time will be featured, including Jimmy Santiago Baca, Lucille Clifton, Joy Harjo, Martín Espada, Galway Kinnell, Mark Doty, E. Ethelbert Miller, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Alix Olson

Split This Rock Poetry Festival
1112 16th Street, NW, Suite 600 - Washington, DC 20036 - 202-787-5210 -


CELEBRATE GRACE PALEY in the Pacific Northwest

If you're visiting Oregon in December:
Celebrating Grace Paley’s Life and Work – 12/11/07

Grace Paley's writing and political activism are being commemorated around the world. Here in Portland, our celebration will be on the evening of her 85th birthday, December 11, 2007, at Broadway Books in NE Portland.

In New York and Vermont, the places she lived, and anywhere/everywhere else she's been important to readers, writers and activists struggling to be conscious, to make real art out of what we know as real life – people are mourning her death by celebrating her life. More info coming this fall about the event, which will feature Oregon activists and writers talking about Grace, reading from her poems, stories and essays, with audience participation – and birthday cake! (Contacts: or or ).

Monday, September 17, 2007


Am I an Old Fogey? On (really) not liking Death at a Funeral

The first thing you have to know about me, with regard to this mini-review, is that my mother is English and I was raised on Upstairs, Downstairs, James Herriot books, everything British. So I have an avowed weakness... included in my very small video/DVD collection are Sense & Sensibility, An Ideal Husband, Room With a View, etc.

So, needing an escape in the midst of a very grueling week, not to mention a husband and son watching the umpteenth Nationals game on TV, I took myself off to see Death at a Funeral on Friday night.

And, I really didn't like it. So am I getting old? I just don't find old people poop jokes funny. Corpses falling out of coffins during eulogies - funny? Not so. Accidental ingestion of halucinogens? Only mildly amusing - results in a naked guy on the roof. So?

I like Rupert Graves (Freddy, in aforementioned Room With a View) but he doesn't do much here. And no one does - the writing is limp, the acting only OK. Sunday's Washington Post Book World had a review of the diaries of Michael Palin (of Monty Python fame) and I grinned just reading the review. There's lots of baggy ridiculousness in any given Python episode, granted, but the flashes of brilliance (sometimes sustained flashes...) made up for the animated farts and the like. Those guys could write. And I guess that's what I missed at the damn Funeral: funny language, not just a dead man with a hidden gay sex life with a dwarf. Ha ha.


Day laborers win right to a living wage in Baltimore

From Anu Yadav:

Day laborers who clean Baltimore's Oriole Park baseball stadium wonthe right to a living wage last week, after a three year campaign.The group of folks is the United Workers Association. Here's their website:

Good friends of mine are a part of this campaign, and this is a huge victory that we in DC should be aware of. To me, it's hopeful in what often can feel like dark times. It's important for us to remember victories near and far -- of others and of our own -- celebrate them,and use them to keep our own light going.

Here's the story:,0,6339831.story

They had been gearing up for a major hunger strike and cancelled itupon receiving word of their victory. A friend said it well, this is historic, and I'm proud to help share the news. Congratulations UWA!!!!!!!!


Thursday, September 13, 2007


March against the war with the young poets Saturday, Sept. 15

DC Poets Against the War invites you to march this Saturday with young poets from Archbishop Carroll High School and their teacher, DC PAW activist Joseph Ross.

It's time to bring the troops home and end this immoral war!

The group will be meeting Saturday, September 15, at 12:30 pm on the front steps of St. John's Church, the yellow church on the corner of 16th and H Streets, across Lafayette Park from the White House. The closest Metro stations are Farragut North and McPherson Square. Look for the banner bearing the words of D.C. poet Samuel Miranda: “I Will Bring You Flowers, No Matter How Many Bullets You Bring.”

You can read about the young poets' experience marching in the January mobilization here:

For more information on Saturday's demonstration:


The Kimnama - The Kim Roberts Story

In April Sunday Kind of Love featured the launch of Vrzhu Press, DC's latest poetry press. One of their first titles is The Kimnama by local literary light Kim Roberts.

Kathi Wolfe has published a wonderful interview with Roberts on Scene4, here:, prompting me to take out the book and reread portions, with great pleasure. The language is simple and lovely. The book is a long poem based on the journal Kim kept during a sojourn in New Dehli; while there's no attempt to be comprehensive (indeed, how would that be possible?), the accummulation of observation and detail paints a gorgeous picture. Roberts always employs a light touch:

At Birla House, the Gandhi
Memorial Museum
you can see the great man's bedroll,

his glasses, his cane, watch
books and shoes.
You can follow his footsteps

to the backyard shrine
to the place he was shot
and see the stone monument

and the mural. Inside, dioramas
tell the story of his life
in crude miniature.

(With apologies to the poet - the lines are not left-justified, as here. In each stanza, the second line is indented quite far under the first and the third is indented, though less far. This gives the piece a swinging movement that's sustained throughout the 40 pages.)

Emotional issues live at the heart of the work -- faith, compassion, our human differences and similarities -- always treated with nuance and understatement. And yet the poet is unafraid to let love stand as the final and central touchstone: "You can love many things," says Vipul, one of the poet's interlocutors in the piece, "one love/does not erase another."

Roberts is giving a number of readings from The Kimnama in the coming months. Here are the ones for September:

Wednesday, September 19, 7:00 pm
With Ellen Cole
Poesis Reading Series, Pentagon City Borders Books, 1201 S. Hayes St, Arlington, VA, (703) 418-0166
Hosted by Cliff Bernier - Free Admission

Friday, September 28 at 6:30 pm
With Hiram Larew
Zu Coffee, 923 Bay Ridge Avenue, Giant Shopping Center, Annapolis, MD, (410) 990-0731
Hosted by Rocky Jones - Free Admission

Saturday September 29 at 3:00 pm
Attic: Maryland State Poetry and Literary Society publication reading, dedicated to the memory of Barbara M. Simon.
Other readers: Charles Rammelkamp, Forestine Bynum, Michael Fallon, Alan Barysh, Alan Reese, Karla Mancero, and Yvette Neisser Moreno.
Baltimore Book Festival, Outdoors around Mount Vernon Place, 600 block of N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD, (410) 752-8632
Free Admission

Sunday, September 30 at 1:30 pm With Hiram Larew
Vrzhu Press reading
Baltimore Book Festival, Outdoors around Mount Vernon Place, 600 block of N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD, (410) 752-8632
Free Admission

For information on other readings, check out Kim Roberts' fabulous new website at:

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Whiskey at #5

Whiskey in the Garden of Eden is #5 on the Busboys and Poets Bestseller List. How cool is that??

Thanks to all of you!

Friday, September 07, 2007


Split This Rock Invites Panel Proposals

Split This Rock Poetry Festival

Split This Rock calls poets to a greater role in public life and fosters a national community of activist poets. Building the audience for poetry of provocation and witness from our home in the nation’s capital, we celebrate poetic diversity and the transformative power of the imagination.

Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness
March 20-23, 2008, Washington, DC

Split This Rock Poetry Festival will bring poets and writers to Washington DC on the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, in the midst of the presidential election. The festival will feature readings, workshops, panel discussions, youth programming, film, activism, and walking tours - opportunities to build community, hone our activist skills, and celebrate the many ways that poetry can act as an agent for social change. To read more about the festival, see our website at:

In addition to featured readings by guest poets, Split this Rock invites proposals for panel discussions and workshops on a range of topics at the intersection of poetry and social change. Possibilities are endless. Challenge us. Let’s talk about craft, let’s talk about mentoring young poets, let’s talk about working in prisons, connecting with the activist community, sustaining ourselves in dark times, the role of poetry in wartime. Let’s remember great poet activists and discover new, let’s think international, visual, collaborative, out of the box.

A panel may consist of 3-4 persons, with one person designated as facilitator. Please title your panel and include brief biographical information for each participant, along with a two paragraph description of your panel—what are the questions you wish to explore—why is this conversation timely and necessary at this time—how will this panel further the goals of Split This Rock? How are the members of your panel uniquely qualified to lead a conversation on your proposed topic?

We have a strong interest in interactive conversation and community building, so please indicate how you will involve participants in the discussion.

Please note that panel presenters must register for Split This Rock Poetry Festival. Some scholarships will be available. There is no limit to the number of proposals you may send, but please be sure that all proposed presenters have agreed to be part of your proposed panel. Also, we are a small, mostly volunteer group, so please send only your favorite ideas.

Send proposals in the body of an email to: by December 1, 2007. Please include full contact information for yourself and all proposed panel presenters. Please use or recreate the attached form. Just copy or retype the questions into an email and paste or write your answers in. You may also mail your proposal to: Split This Rock Panel Proposal, 1112 16th Street, NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC, 20036. Please be sure to save a copy of your proposal, as emails do sometimes go astray. We will acknowledge receipt of your proposal, with a timeline for hearing back.

Questions? Email us at We look forward to reading your proposal!

Split This Rock Poetry Festival


Convener/Facilitator Name:
Mailing Address:

Email Address:

Participant Name:
Mailing Address:

Email Address:

Participant Name:
Mailing Address:

Email Address:

Participant Name:
Mailing Address:

Email Address:

1. Please include a one paragraph bio for each participant.

2. Please describe in 250 words or less the purpose of your panel.

3. Describe your method for involving festival participants in the panel.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Martín Espada Reading at Busboys Thurs Sept 20

Scroll down for a poem!

DC Poets Against the War and Busboys & Poets Presents:
Poet-Essayist-Activist Martín Espada

Thursday, September 20, 6:30 pm
Busboys & Poets
Corner of 14th & V Streets, NW
Washington, DC

Free and open to the public. Wheelchair accessible.
Sandra Cisneros says: “Martín Espada is the Pablo Neruda of North American authors.” And The Nation Magazine calls him, "The political poet of his generation." Not to be missed!

Martín Espada has published a dozen books in all as a poet, essayist, editor and translator. His eighth collection of poems, The Republic of Poetry, was published by Norton in October, 2006. His last book, Alabanza: New and Selected Poems, 1982-2002 (Norton, 2003), received the Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement and was named an American Library Association Notable Book of the Year.
An earlier collection, Imagine the Angels of Bread (Norton, 1996), won an American Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has received numerous awards and fellowships, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Robert Creeley Award, the Antonia Pantoja Award, the PEN/Revson Fellowship and two NEA Fellowships. Espada is a professor in the Department of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, where he teaches creative writing and the work of Pablo Neruda.

Espada will also be featured at Split This Rock Poetry Festival in DC in March, 2008 -
Cosponsored by DC Poets Against the War and Busboys and Poets. For more information: 202-387-POET or
Made possible in part by a grant from Poets & Writers.

The Republic of Poetry

For Chile
In the republic of poetry,
a train full of poets
rolls south in the rain
as plum trees rock
and horses kick the air,
and village bands
parade down the aisle
with trumpets, with bowler hats,
followed by the president
of the republic,
shaking every hand.

In the republic of poetry,
monks print verses about the night
on boxes of monastery chocolate,
kitchens in restaurants
use odes for recipes
from eel to artichoke,
and poets eat for free.
In the republic of poetry,
poets read to the baboons
at the zoo, and all the primates,
poets and baboons alike, scream for joy.
In the republic of poetry,
poets rent a helicopter
to bombard the national palace
with poems on bookmarks,
and everyone in the courtyard
rushes to grab a poem
fluttering from the sky,
blinded by weeping.
In the republic of poetry,
the guard at the airport
will not allow you to leave the country
until you declaim a poem for her
and she says Ah! Beautiful.

from The Republic of Poetry

Read more poems here:

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


New Review of Whiskey, More Photos from Launch

Lush and lyrical, courageously clear-eyed, these poems command attention by their sassy, smart language and loving spirit.

That's what Jennifer McPherson, one of the editors of The Comstock Review, has to say about my new book, Whiskey in the Garden of Eden. Needless to say, I am humbled and delighted. You can read the quick review here. Click on the "B"s and scroll down to Browning.

And for some gorgeous photos from the release party for the book, check out this slideshow by Dave Phillips: Thanks, Dave!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


Susan Tichy Workshop & Reading September 16

Please spread the word and sign up for the workshop today!
Scroll down for a poem!

Sunday Kind of Love: A Busboys & Poetry EventReading & Workshop with Susan Tichy
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Workshop, noon - 3 pm
Reading, 4-6 pm
Open mic following the feature.
Hosted by Sarah Browning, DC Poets Against the War, and Regie Cabico, Sol & Soul

Workshop - Writing Isn't Lonely: Collage & Collaboration in Political Poetry
In this workshop we’ll read some politically and socially active poems that ask us, the readers, to work actively with the poet to find and complete the meaning, poems in which the dance of creation and the whole process of reading and discovery (and even mistakes) is part of the “message,” not just its vehicle. …And then we’ll do some writing, based on the language and forms of these poems. Pulled-text, collage, diction clouds, N+7, erasure, Boolean poems—sound nuts? Good, come and see for yourself. Susan Tichy will also talk a little about why she believes collage and collaborative writing can be a powerfully political, and spiritual, practice.

To Register for the Workshop: Email Sarah Browning at Include your full contact information. Then send a check for $25 made out to “DCPAW” to DCPAW, 626 Allison Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20011. Scholarships are available - to apply, include in your email an explanation of your circumstances.

Susan Tichy is the author of Bone Pagoda, A Smell of Burning Starts the Day, and The Hands in Exile, a National Poetry Series volume. Her poems and mixed-genre works have appeared in the U.S. and Britain, and have been recognized by awards from the Eugene Kayden Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. She teaches in the Graduate Writing Program at George Mason University, serves as Poetry Editor of Practice: New Writing + Art, and will be featured at Split This Rock Poetry Festival in March, 2008. When not teaching, she lives in a ghost town in the southern Colorado Rockies.

Busboys & Poets
14th & V Streets, NW
Washington, DC
U Street/Cardozo on the Metro green line
Wheelchair accessible
Free and open to the public
For more info: 202-387-POET, womenarts2 (at) aol (dot) com

Nui Sam

by Susan Tichy

On the steps of the pagoda
A man was begging

A man with no eyes was begging
On the steps of the pagoda

It might be fire it looks like that
It might be Willy Peter

A smooth tight kind of burning
To the bone it might be that

Someone had drawn red circles
Maybe he had drawn them

Someone had drawn red circles
Where his eyes would be

It might be lipstick it looks like that
It might be red lipstick

They make a place to look
When you are looking

A place to put your eyes
It might be that

from Bone Pagoda (Ahsahta Press, 2007)

Sunday Kind of Love is made possible this year in part by a grant from the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, a public agency supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Monday, September 03, 2007


A Poem for Labor Day - Gary Snyder

For work, for workers, for the great labor of the universe, a poem. (With thanks to the Academy of American Poets,

Hay for the Horses

He had driven half the night
From far down San Joaquin
Through Mariposa, up the
Dangerous Mountain roads,
And pulled in at eight a.m.
With his big truckload of hay
behind the barn.
With winch and ropes and hooks
We stacked the bales up clean
To splintery redwood rafters
High in the dark, flecks of alfalfa
Whirling through shingle-cracks of light,
Itch of haydust in the
sweaty shirt and shoes.
At lunchtime under Black oak
Out in the hot corral,
---The old mare nosing lunchpails,
Grasshoppers crackling in the weeds---
"I'm sixty-eight" he said,
"I first bucked hay when I was seventeen.
I thought, that day I started,
I sure would hate to do this all my life.
And dammit, that's just what
I've gone and done."

From Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems by Gary Snyder, published by North Point Press. Copyright © 1958, 1959, 1965 Gary Snyder.

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