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Archive for September, 2013

JAZZ-POETRY CONCERT STREAMING LIVE FREE: Joy Harjo, Oliver Lake, Dee Alexander, Saturday | September 7 at 7:45pm EST

Friday, September 6th, 2013


jazzpoetry web concert banner 7sept2013
Joy Harjo    Oliver Lake    DeeAlexander_Jean-BaptisteMillot_depth1
Joy Harjo   |   Oliver Lake   |   Dee Alexander

Tomorrow, Saturday, September 7 at 7:45 PM, City of Asylum/Pittsburgh is having its ninth Jazz-Poetry Concert – a magical evening of poetry and music under the stars on Sampsonia Way on Pittsburgh’s Northside.

In case you can’t make it to this annual free concert, it will be streamed live on the web at

… and you can join in the conversation at #jazzpoetry 

 The magnificent Oliver Lake leads the music, with Dee Alexander, Harrison Bankhead, Miguel de la Cerna, and Ernie Adams. This year’s featured poet Joy Harjo is joined by Israel Centeno (Venezuela), Khet Mar (Burma), Yaghoub Yadali (Iran), Sridala Swami (India) and Wang Jiaxin (China).

pdficon_large  Download a free program book (.pdf) hereYou’ll find bios and photos of all of the participants and more.

Poster JazzPoetry 7Sept2013


‘BEYOND VIETNAM: A Time to Break Silence’ — Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaks at Riverside Church, April 4, 1967

Sunday, September 1st, 2013


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No Whites Allowed in Zoo TodaySouthern Signage

At one time the Memphis Park Commission designated special days to allow Black citizens to attend the zoo | Signage common to the American South well into the 1960s

The full text of the powerful, unpopular, unheralded speech the Rev. Martin Luther King delivered at Riverside Church, New York, April 4, 1967, a speech you may not have heard during the 50th anniversary celebration of the 1963 March on Washington. One year later, almost to the day (April 4, 1968), he was assassinated in Memphis while addressing a gathering of city sanitation workers. Yes, the Reverend Martin Luther King might have dreamed, but Citizen King was waking to a global and domestic nightmare that haunts and dogs us yet.

MLK Riverside Church 4 April 1967

Beyond Vietnam: A Time to
Break Silence

By Rev. Martin Luther King
4 April 1967
Speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on April 4, 1967, at a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned at Riverside Church in New York City

I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice. I join with you in this meeting because I am in deepest agreement with the aims and work of the organization which has brought us together: Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam. The recent statement of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: “A time comes when silence is betrayal.” That time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.

The truth of these words is beyond doubt but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government’s policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one’s own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover when the issues at hand seem as perplexed as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty; but we must move on.

Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. And we must rejoice as well, for surely this is the first time in our nation’s history that a significant number of its religious leaders have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history. Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movement well and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us.

Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam, many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path. At the heart of their concerns this query has often loomed large and loud: Why are you speaking about war, Dr. King? Why are you joining the voices of dissent? Peace and civil rights don’t mix, they say. Aren’t you hurting the cause of your people, they ask? And when I hear them, though I often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling. Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live.

In the light of such tragic misunderstandings, I deem it of signal importance to try to state clearly, and I trust concisely, why I believe that the path from Dexter Avenue Baptist Church — the church in Montgomery, Alabama, where I began my pastorate — leads clearly to this sanctuary tonight.

I come to this platform tonight to make a passionate plea to my beloved nation. This speech is not addressed to Hanoi or to the National Liberation Front. It is not addressed to China or to Russia.

Nor is it an attempt to overlook the ambiguity of the total situation and the need for a collective solution to the tragedy of Vietnam. Neither is it an attempt to make North Vietnam or the National Liberation Front paragons of virtue, nor to overlook the role they can play in a successful resolution of the problem. While they both may have justifiable reason to be suspicious of the good faith of the United States, life and history give eloquent testimony to the fact that conflicts are never resolved without trustful give and take on both sides.

Tonight, however, I wish not to speak with Hanoi and the NLF, but rather to my fellow Americans, who, with me, bear the greatest responsibility in ending a conflict that has exacted a heavy price on both continents. (more…)

CALIBAN #12: Latest issue now up and downloadable

Sunday, September 1st, 2013


pdficon_large Click here or on the cover below to download Caliban #12 in PDF

Caliban 12 cvr

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Caliban Chronicles #9, “The Practical Utopia in Detroit
Revisited,” takes a different and far more hopeful angle on the current bankruptcy crisis.
— Lawrence R. Smith, Editor/Publisher

pdficon_large Caliban Chronicles #9

Caliban 9 Detroit Utopia Issue

In the mid-80s, American politics and writing took a turn to the right. The great American tradition of innovative, imaginative writing, from Whitman and Dickinson through the giants of the 20th century, was overshadowed by an obsession with literary formalism. Lawrence R. Smith founded Caliban in 1986 to counter this tendency. Writers who flourished in George Hitchcock’s legendary kayak magazine, which closed in 1984, moved to Caliban: Raymond Carver, Robert Bly, Colette Inez, James Tate, W.S. Merwin, Michael McClure, Charles Simic, Diane Wakoski, Philip Levine, Louis Simpson, Russell Edson, and many others. Writers who had never published in kayak also joined the Caliban scene: William Burroughs, Maxine Hong Kingston, Jim Harrison, Wanda Coleman, Louise Erdrich, William Stafford, among a host of others. Caliban was an immediate success, praised by Andrei Codrescu in a review of issues #1 and #2 on NPR’s “All Things Considered” and given a Coordinating Council of Little Magazines award for outstanding new magazine. The print Caliban was also awarded three National Endowment for the Arts grants. The Bancroft Library of the University of California, Berkeley, purchased the Caliban archives in 1997.

In 2010, fourteen years after the physical magazine closed, Smith started a virtual version online: it has the same design, format, and even the same typeface. Along with the outstanding contributors that characterized the old magazine, the new Calibanonline features full color, high-resolution art reproductions throughout each issue, as well as short art videos and recordings of original musical compositions.