Weekly Poem Project: listening, and the listeners

I’ve heard so much about Evie Shockley. “She’s amazing,” one of my colleagues recently gushed. I’d never read any of her poems– or read any of her scholarly work about poetics and African American poetry. So when I saw that she was receiving the Stephen Henderson Award for “outstanding achievement in poetry” from the African American Lit […]


West Baltimore, Sunday morning

I drove through West Baltimore today, and was really struck by how “normal” everything was. It was the usual scene: spiffily dressed people heading to church, the Baltimore Sun vendors on the street corners, dogwoods blooming, lawnmowers, even a yard sale. The Shoppers grocery store at Mondawmin Mall has reopened (the header photo shows what […]

Night falls, Wednesday

I hear no helicopters. I hear no sirens. Even though the curfew is not beginning for another 12 minutes, I’m oddly serene, not anxious at all about what will happen, as I’ve been for the past few days. Maybe it was today’s wonderful, youthful, peaceful demonstrations that have given me hope that perhaps we are […]


Weekly poem project: aubade

“Morning is when I am awake and there is a dawn in me.” Henry David Thoreau famously declared this sentiment in his treatise on the purpose of life, Walden (1854). After tussling with his crotchety observations about materialism, social climbing, and bad architecture in the “Economy” chapter of Walden, my students read these words with […]