ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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Sorrow and grief can be found in that place within the blues where words end

and moans begin. The singer is speechless because the hurt is so bad.

The only thing one can do is ride the song



Sketch Bio E. Ethelbert Miller


E. Ethelbert Miller,  former chair of the Humanities Council of Washington DC, is a core faculty member of the Bennington Writing Seminars at Bennington College.  He has been the director of the African American Resource Center at Howard University since 1974.

His In Search of Color Everywhere (1994) was awarded the 1994 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award. The anthology was also a Book of the Month Club selection. 

Mr. Miller was one of the 60 American authors selected and honored by Laura Bush and The White House at the First National Book Festival, September 8, 2001.

Mr. Miller has served as a visiting professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and adjunct professor at American University.  In 1996 he was the Jessie Ball DuPont Scholar at Emory & Henry College. He was scholar-in-residence at George Mason University for the Spring 2000 semester, and the 2001 Carell Writer-in-Residence at Harpeth Hall School in Nashville, Tennessee.

Mr. Miller is the founder and director of the Ascension Poetry Reading Series,  one of the oldest literary series in Washington, D.C.  He currently serves on the boards of the Institute for Policy Studies, and Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts.

He is also an advisory editor for the African American Review, an advisory board  member of Arts & Letters: Journal of Contemporary Culture, a contributing editor to Callaloo and Editorial Advisor for the Black Issues Book Review. Mr. Miller is one of the editors of Poet-Lore magazine.  Mr. Miller is a Commissioner  for the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. He is an honorary member of the Arts Club of Washington.

Mr. Miller is a former board member of the PEN American Center, The PEN/Faulkner Foundation, the Edmund Burke School and the Associating Writing Programs.

For several years he hosted the popular weekly radio program Maiden Voyage on WDCU-FM,as well as Vertigo on the Air on WPFW-FM.  He is often  heard on National Public Radio (NPR). He currently hosts Humanities Profiled on DCTV.

In 1979, the Mayor of Washington D.C. proclaimed September 28, 1979 as E. Ethelbert Miller Day. Mr. Miller was awarded the Mayor's Art Award for  Literature in 1982. He received the Public Humanities Award from the D.C. Humanities Council in 1988. In 1993 the literary community of Washington awarded him the Columbia Merit Award. On July 17, 1994, the Mayor of Baltimore made him an honorary citizen of the city of Baltimore.

Mr. Miller was awarded the 1995 O.B. Hardison Jr. Poetry Prize. In May 1997 he was presented  with the Stephen Henderson Poetry Award by the African American Literature and Culture Society.  In 2001, the Mayor of Jackson, Tennessee, proclaimed May 21, 2001 as E. Ethelbert Miller Day.

Mr. Miller received an honorary doctorate of literature from Emory & Henry College on May 18, 1996.

In 1997, Mr. Miller working with the Inter-Governmental Philatelic Corporation (IGPC) was responsible for placing twelve African American writers on postage  stamps issued by Ghana and Uganda. The writers honored were: Maya Angelou, Rita Dove, Mari Evans, Henry Louis Gates Jr, Charles Johnson, June Jordan, Toni Cade Bambara, Sterling A. Brown, Alex Haley, Stephen Henderson, Zora Neale Hurston and Richard Wright.

Mr. Miller has traveled to Iraq, England, Russia, Cuba , Tanzania, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Nicaragua. He presently lives in Washington D.C. with his wife Rev. Denise King-Miller and his two children, Jasmine-Simone (Boston University) and Nyere-Gibran (Gonzaga).  


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Chronological Bibliography of Works by E. Ethelbert Miller

Miller, E. Ethelbert.  Andromeda. Boulder Creek, CA: Chiva P, 1974.

_____. The Land of Smiles and The Land of No Smiles.  Boulder Creek, CA: Chiva P 1974.

Synergy: An Anthology of Washington D.C. Black Poetry. Edited by Ahmos Zu-Bolton, II and E. Ethelbert Miller. Washington D.C.: Energy BlackSouth P,  1975.


Women Surviving Massacres and Men. Ed. E. Ethelbert Miller.  Washington, D.C.: Anemone P, 1977.

Miller, E. Ethelbert.  Migrant Worker.  Washington, D.C.: Washington Writer’s Publishing House, 1978. 

_____.  Season of Hunger/Cry of Rain.  Detroit, MI:  Lotus P, 1982. 

_____.  Where are the Love Poems for Dictators?  Greensboro, NC: Open Hand, 1986, 2001. 

In Search of Color Everywhere.  Ed. E. Ethelbert Miller. New York: Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 1994.

Miller, E. Ethelbert. First Light.  Baltimore, MD:  Black Classic P, 1994.

_____. Whispers, Secrets and Promises. Baltimore: MD: Black Classic P, 1998.

_____. Fathering Words: The Making of An African American Writer.  New York: St. Martin’s,   2000.

_____. Buddha Weeping in Winter.  Red Wing, MN: Red Dragonfly P, 2001.

Beyond The Frontier: African-American Poetry for the 21st Century. Ed. E. Ethelbert Miller.

           Baltimore, MD: Black Classic P, 2002.

Miller, E. Ethelbert. How We Sleep on the Nights We Don’t Make Love . Willimantic, CT: Curbstone P,


For more E. Ethelbert Miller information, check the following sites:

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The 5th Inning by E. Ethelbert Miller

The 5th Inning is poet and literary activist E. Ethelbert Miller's second memoir. Coming after Fathering Words: The Making of An African American Writer (published in 2000), this book finds Miller returning to baseball, the game of his youth, in order to find the metaphor that will provide the measurement of his life. Almost 60, he ponders whether his life can now be entered into the official record books as a success or failure.

The 5th Inning is one man's examination of personal relationships, depression, love and loss. This is a story of the individual alone on the pitching mound or in the batters box. It's a box score filled with remembrance. It's a combination of baseball and the blues.

To see a clip of Ethelbert reading The 5th Inning click here:

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



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#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

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#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

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#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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The New Jim Crow

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

By Michele Alexander

Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama's political success and Oprah Winfrey's financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today... than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits. Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don't know the truth about mass incarceration—but her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.—Publishers Weekly

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Blacks in Hispanic Literature: Critical Essays

Edited by Miriam DeCosta-Willis 

Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a collection of fourteen essays by scholars and creative writers from Africa and the Americas. Called one of two significant critical works on Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late 1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of Carter G. Woodson and Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an historical context for understanding 20th-century creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone writers, such as Cuban Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist, and scholar Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the significance of Negritude in Latin America. This collaborative text set the tone for later conferences in which writers and scholars worked together to promote, disseminate, and critique the literature of Spanish-speaking people of African descent. . . . Cited by a literary critic in 2004 as "the seminal study in the field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which most scholars in the field 'cut their teeth'."

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

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update 29 February 2012




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