Month: October 2017

  • Our Demons and Our Words

    Our Demons and Our Words

    1. Poetry born out of horror has a rough go of it. Some of the things we do to one another are so damaging, it’s near-impossible to wrap words around them. Yet, poets try, and sometimes they even succeed. But behind one poem that works, there might be a couple dozen that failed. Sometimes I […]

  • My Time In Iowa: A Final Reflection on Racism in Higher Education

    After the last few articles on my time at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, I offer this reflection regarding MFA programs in creative writing, their ongoing default to whiteness in their administration, professors, and students, and how this injustice can be undone. Structures teach people how to think, what to believe in, who to value and […]

  • My Time in Iowa, Part 2: The Iowa Writers’ Workshop

    My Time in Iowa, Part 2: The Iowa Writers’ Workshop

    Memory is a tricky thing, so I’m really glad I’ve kept journals for forty years. I’m a detailed chronicler—forty-five tomes, about 1, 480 pages of details on my life and the lives of others. Granted, a journal is one person’s point of view, thus already “slanted.” And when you take into consideration the journals of […]

  • My Time at Iowa, Part 1

    My Time at Iowa, Part 1

    In 1996, when we moved to Iowa, we had three kids in tow. Michelle and I had both resigned from decent paying jobs as community organizers in the South, to move north, where I, unemployed, would study poetry for two years. About ten minutes after we drove into Iowa City, Michelle gave birth to our […]

  • MFA in Creative Writing and Racism

    MFA in Creative Writing and Racism

    Before I tell you about my experience in an MFA program in creative writing, I must first talk about America’s double-helix Original Sin: slavery and genocide. The United States was born in a Jeckyl-Hide nest: we wrote up the most brilliant theory of democracy on file, built a government on it; we also made people […]