Many thanks to the Ignite DC organizers, sponsors, attendees, and speakers (amazing group of folks — I learned so much from them and laughed too!!!). A big thanks to everyone on Twitter and Facebook who mentioned my talk, took photos, and shared my links.
Enjoy your day and weekend!
PS: Blogging While Brown is my next social media event! Visit www.bloggingwhilebrown.com or http://twitter.com/bwbconference. Blogging While Brown begins on June 18 at the Washington Convention Center in DC. I will teach a yoga class for social media users from 8:15 am to 8:30 am on June 19. I am so excited about attending the conference. It will be my third Blogging While Brown conference! I am also excited about going to the Blogalicious/Red Pump Project meet up at Tabaq on June 19. So get ready for lots more videos, photos, and Facebook/Twitter posts!!!!
I started my morning with yoga, meditation, and Reiki. My sun salutation practice was truly juicy. I listened to jazz musician Duke Ellington’sBlack, Brown and Beige CD, a jazzsymphony written for his first concert at Carnegie Hall, on January 23, 1943. I discuss Black, Brown and Beige in my debut novel Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One. His composition “Come Sunday” featuring Mahalia Jackson plays a key role. Click on the YouTube video below to listen to a part of the CD. It is one of my favorites!
Did you know Ellington’s full name was Edward Kennedy Ellington? He was born on April 29, 1899 to James Edward Ellington and Daisy Kennedy Ellington in Washington, DC. He lived a long, creative, and fulfilling life as a pianist, composer, and band leader. FYI He led his band from 1923 until his death on May 24, 1974.
Here’s my first six-word memoir for April: Poetry. Jazz. Earth. My Soul Necessities.
Do you have a six-word memoir for April, poetry, jazz, or Earth Day awareness? Share it in the comment section below.
This morning I recorded an author chat on BlogTalkRadio which celebrated jazz, poetry, springtime, Cherry blossoms in Washington, DC, green living, and Mother Earth (in celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day). Several poems discussed neo-soul singer Erykah Badu, jazz singers Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, jazz musicians Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Thelonius Monk. They were published in my new book That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery. Click on the the BlogTalkRadio widget below to hear my 15 minutes of poetry.
Who are your favorite poets?
What are your favorite poems?
Who are your favorite jazz musicians and singers? Any favorite jazz songs or CDs?
Who are your favorite green living activists?
Enjoy your day! Make it a poetic, jazzy, and green living kinda day!
Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for poetry, jazz, and Mother Earth,
Today is really special for me. International Women’s Day always reminds me of my trip to the U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women held in September 1995 in Beijing, China. My trip to Beijing was one of the most powerful experiences in my life. This morning, I discussed my trip during my author talk on BlogTalkRadio. I also shared woman-centered poetry including two poems I wrote while attending the conference in China. Click on the link to listen to a recording of my show (12 minutes): www.blogtalkradio.com/anandaleeke/2010/03/08/author-chat-with-ananda-leeke.
Who are your favorite women poets?
How are you celebrating International Women’s Day?
Enjoy your day and week!
Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for women’s power, passion, and progress,
My sistalove friend Dehejia Maat is a multitalented woman. She shares her gifts as an actress, artist, poet, singer, yoga teacher, mother, and spirit woman. She recently published Deep Rooted Soul Sista Poems. Her book is available on Amazon.com: http://bit.ly/aNbzkt.
Guess what? Dehejia also released a fantastic CD entitled Melanin Wine (Earth Mix) which is available on Amazon.com: http://bit.ly/couuRI.
Dehejia currently serves as the theater director for the Dragon Box Theater in D.C. She established the No Goddess Left Behind writers workshop. Her current projects include The Joy of Billie Holiday (an original one woman show) and The Yes That Leads to Infinity (her second book of poetry). Click here to learn more about Dehejia and her creativity: www.dehejiamaat.com.
Today I am celebrating poet and literary activist E. Ethelbert Miller, the “godfather of poetry” in D.C. I met Ethelbert in the early 90s at Howard University’s Afro-American Studies Resource Center. Ethelbert has been the Director of the Center since its inception in 1974. During our first meeting, Ethelbert became my literary mentor and brothalove friend. Since then, Ethelbert has played a major role in my literary work. That’s why I had to write a poem about him for my new book That Which Awakens Me (available on Amazon.com – http://tiny.cc/7uFsg). See the poem below. By the way, I call Ethelbert “E-bert.”
FYI – Yesterday, Ethelbert sent me a Twitter message about his February 11th interview on NPR’s Speaking of Faith. The show’s theme is “Black and Universal.” It is rich and juicy! I think the interview will give you an opportunity to really learn about Ethelbert is as a person and how he thinks. Click here to listen to the interview: http://speakingoffaith.publicradio.org/programs/2010/black-and-universal.
Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for E-bert’s Passion for Poetry and Black folks,
Excerpt from That Which Awakens Me
Copyright 2009 by Madelyn C. Leeke
Inspired by E. Ethelbert Miller’s City as Memory: Lyrical City
Writing Workshop held at Busboys and Poets on May 3, 2009.
Toni told me I had to go and meet Ethelbert if I wanted to
take my poetry to the next level.
Every couple of weeks, she reiterated her recommendation.
Before I made the call, I walked to Vertigo Books on Dupont
Circle and read some of Ethelbert’s poetry.
His words felt like jazz improvisation that could easily be
featured on one of WPFW’s radio shows.
It teased me to the point of curiosity.
So I took the plunge and called Ethelbert.
The first thing I noticed when he answered the phone was a
genuine kindness in his voice.
My ears heard the welcoming tone of a long lost friend.
Hints of New York City appeared in the middle of his soft
The rhythm of his conversation opened my heart and invited
My first visit with Ethelbert happened on a sunny day.
I think it was springtime in 1994.
I had just published my second chap book of poetry and was
We met in his office located in Founders Library on the campus
of Howard University.
His desk was filled with paper and books.
I think we might have even had some tea.
Our conversation was just that … a conversation.
It included shared interests, questions, stories, laughter, pauses,
and comfortable silences.
It traveled down Georgia Avenue, waved at the Wonder Bread
Factory, found itself on 4th Street, got dizzy going around
Anna J. Cooper Circle, and came all the way back up to
Georgia Avenue before parking itself in front of the School of
Before I left, I mustered the courage to ask him to review my
His smile offered a generous grin as he extended his hand to
receive a copy of my lavender chap book of poetry.
We hugged and agreed to meet again.
That afternoon as I walked across Howard’s campus to Soul
Vegetarian Café, I realized I had just received my first taste of
Ethelbert’s mind and humor.
And it was delicious.
Ethelbert left me a message on my answering machine.
It was the kind you wanted to keep forever.
It started with one of his trademark phrases, at least the ones
he used with me.
“Hey Love. This is Ethelbert. I read your work and would like to
talk with you about it.”
I quickly called him back and scheduled an appointment.
This meeting was different from the last one.
I can’t remember what the weather was like, how his office
looked, or whether we had tea.
All I can remember is he talked and I barely listened.
When he opened my chapbook and attempted to review each
poem, I could only focus on the red pen marks that decorated
most of the pages.
Although Ethelbert was kind in his delivery, I was naïve and
unprepared to receive his comments and suggestions as the
D.C. godfather of poetry.
They stung me and left an open wound.
If I had been by myself I probably would have started singing
the blues like Billie Holiday about how my creative heart lost
its virginity before it is was ready.
It took me a minute to digest and accept Ethelbert’s comments
I purposely stayed away from his delicious mind and humor
They were a dangerous combination.
At one point, I felt comfortable calling him to say hello, but
when he asked me what I was working on, I gave him a vague
response because I didn’t want him to know about or review
my work ever again.
One day I found the courage to read Ethelbert’s feedback.
It forced me to unpeel layers of myself and dig a little deeper
to find my own voice.
I was at work early one morning.
From my office window, I could see autumn leaves falling
from trees in Dupont Circle Park.
D.C. traffic was moving at its normal pace.
It kept me company as I logged onto my computer.
My AOL account announced loudly, ”You’ve got mail!”
It was a message from firstname.lastname@example.org.
By this time, Ethelbert had become E-bert in my world.
My eyebrows raised themselves up and past my forehead as I
read his request for a poem that would be included in a poetry
anthology he was editing for Black Classic Press.
As I sipped green tea from my Starbucks cup, I wondered,
“Why did he write me?”
Maybe he made a mistake.
Turns out it was no mistake.
E-bert wanted an original poem by moi.
My creative heart was no longer naïve.
So I sent one I had just written about my grandfather dying
with no expectation of publication.
When E-bert wrote back and said my poem was fine, I couldn’t
believe my eyes.
I called him to make sure he was really serious.
Something happened inside me when I heard him say, “Hey
love, your work is beautiful. Keep writing.”
It took me a few years to figure it out.
It was an act of someone noticing my maturation as a writer
who travels inside herself daily to fi nd her voice in each
It was a gift my creative heart needed to receive.
Yesterday I posted a collage with a poem made from magazine clippings. Some folks have asked for a typed version of the poem. See below. Please share it with others. Consider making one of your own. If you do, feel free to post it in the comments section below.
Thanks for stopping by.
Peace and Creativity,
Just for Women Manifesto by Ananda Leeke (based on collage)