Winter 2009-2010

Dear Friends:  A busy season, so far, in unexpected ways.  A bout with double vision sent me on a surprise grand tour of the medical profession.  I’m basically OK, so, as my son says, “No worries.”  Long-awaited publication:  Callaloo, a remarkable issue, Vol. 38, No. 4, 2009. “Gwendolyn Brooks, Black Poetry, and Me.” The Jack Kaminsky photo of me with Brooks (in 1990) reproduced here appears in it. (Featured in the issue: Middle Eastern & North African Writers; Guest. Ed., Salar Abdoh, City College.) Copies can be ordered from Johns Hopkins Univ. Press at 1-800-537-5487. 

My eighth poetry collection, Art and Politics / Politics and Art, will be published by Syracuse Univ. Press in May 2010.  This will be my third book with them.  See also New York Poems and the two short novels, Stigma & The Cave, 2007, part of the trilogy Patrimonies, which confronts the question:  What kind of world are we leaving our children?  The first of the trio, Blight (Riverrun, 1995, distributed by Syracuse Univ. Press), is an environmental fantasy and has been optioned as a feature film. 

Another significant loss to literature:  the passing of my friend and neighbor, Sarah E. Wright (Dec. 9, 1928-Sept. 13, 2009).  She was a brilliant writer, author of the novel This Child’s Gonna Live, of poems and nonfiction, and she was a political activist.  An impressive memorial tribute, arranged by her husband Joseph Kaye, was held at the New York Society for Ethical Culture on Sat., Nov. 14, 2009.  Among a distinguished group of literary and political figures, I was privileged to speak of her as a writer.

As first vice-president of the unique and vital International Women’s Writing Guild, along with officers and Board members I’ve been concerned with the move of our annual summer conference to Brown University, in Providence, RI, after 32 years at Skidmore College. Conference dates:  Fri., July 30-Fri., August 6.  While we retain fond memories of our previous residence, we look forward with pride and anticipation to our new venue. As Executive Director and Founder Hannelore Hahn, invites, “The Guild welcomes all women connected to the written word.”  Although we are designing a new website, I suggest that you visit the current one.  For further questions about the Conference, call 212-737-7536.

I had a warm introduction to Providence in 2007, when I was chosen as the ninth judge of the annual, prestigious Philbrick Poetry Award (judges listed on right of screen), presented by the historic Providence Athenaeum, the fourth oldest subscription library in the United States. 

This year I’ll be back, giving a workshop.  I’ve given a variety of writing workshops regularly for Guild Conferences since its inception in 1976.  Beginning in 2004, however, it’s been “Poetry One-on-One,” private sessions on manuscripts in progress.  This year, I’m only seeing one registrant per session, for the entire session.  Although the class is already subscribed, it’s possible to be waitlisted, in case of a vacancy.  You may contact me for details.  Peace, D. H.