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With Black Arts poets as his role models, E. Ethelbert Miller talks about poetry as a tool and his responsibility to the Black community.

Selected Bibliography

  • First Light: New and Selected Poems. Baltimore, MD: Black Classic Press, 1994.

  • Editor. In Search of Color Everywhere: A Collection of African American Poetry. New York: Stewart, Tabori, & Chang, Inc., 1994.

  • The Land of Smiles and The Land of No Smiles. Cal.: Miller, 1974.

  • Season of Hunger/Cry of Rain, Poems: 1975-1980. Detroit: Lotus press, 1982.

  • Where are the Love Poems for Dictators? Seattle, WA: Open Hand Publishing, Inc., 1987.

  • Whispers, Secrets, and Promises. Baltimore, MD: Black Classic Press, 1998.

Discussion Questions

1. How does Miller use the metaphor of war in "Rebecca"?

2. How do past and present meet in the poem "The Bronx is Where Dreams are Made"? What chronology and images does Miller use? How do these images tie into the larger images of America?

3. What makes a poem popular?

4. Recount the story contained in "Omar." What changes occur between the oral telling and the poem? Would it be different as a short story? Why does Miller choose to tell it as a poem?


E. Ethelbert Miller is the director of the African American Resource Center at Howard University, a position he has held since 1974. Miller is the founder and director of the Ascension Poetry Reading Series, one of the oldest literary series in the Washington area. He has authored Migrant Worker, Season of Hunger/Cry of Rain, Women Surviving Massacres and Men, Where are the Love Poems for Dictators?, and First Light: Selected and New Poems. Miller is a Washington, D.C. treasure. In 1979, the Mayor of Washington, D.C. proclaimed September 28, 1979 as "E. Ethelbert Miller Day." Awarded the Mayor's Art Award for Literature (1982), he has received the Public Humanities Award (1988) and the Columbia Merit Award (1993). Miller has served on the D.C. Community Humanities Council and as senior editor for the Washington Review of the Arts. His most recent work includes editing the acclaimed anthology In Search of Color Everywhere: A Collection of African-American Poetry (1996) and authoring Whispers, Secrets, Promises (1998).


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