Monday, February 19, 2007

Info in Recent Emails (Phyre, Glave on Jamaican Near-Lynching, Morgan Monceaux, Hebert, MiPOesias)

Since I no longer know whether I'm coming or going and really have zero time to write original blog entries, I'm going to post a few things people have forwarded to me and let the various things I've been thinking about steep.

The first is from Charles Stephens and others who've been working on Phyre, a LGBT celebration that's taking place this week (February 18-24, 2007) in Atlanta, Georgia.

From the site:

What You Need To Know About Phyre=(fire)

America’s fascinating history is rich with heroes and heroines that have built the foundation of her democracy and her freedom. As a result of the contributions of these sheroes and heroes, we are a better, much fuller and dynamic country. While American history brilliantly documents the contributions, as well as the perspective, of European males succeeding in the “new-frontier” or struggling in the Great Depression, the history nearly omits the existence of African-Americans who too were part of the foundation. When African-Americans have documented our history, we are limitedly successful because much of our history has been erased, denied, or forgotten. During February, while the nation dedicates time to remembering and honoring our African-American past; a coalition of community partners, PHYRE, based in Atlanta, Georgia, is honoring African-American history by dedicating the week of February 18, 2007 - February 24, 2007 to celebrating and remembering lesbian, gay, and bisexual African-American women and men who too have shaped the American mosaic through their contributions in politics, social justice, film, art, music dance, religion, and literature.

As African-American communities move forward with creating institutions, building monuments, memorializing and celebrating our greatnesses by demanding visibility, inclusion, and recognition, PHYRE’s vision is to expressly add that our history is rich also because of contributions from African-American persons who among them are lesbian, gay, and bisexual. In the words of Alice Walker, “We have to talk about liberating minds as well as liberating society.” The PHYRE project aims to assure that the truths about lesbian, gay, and bisexual African-American’s is known, understood, and celebrated. As the truths become more and more evident, America and all her children will be free.

During the week of February 18 - 24, 2007 PHYRE will celebrate the truths by hosting an array of community-wide events that honor and remember African-American lesbian, gay, and bisexual American history. The events are arranged to promote dialogue, as well as, to promote cross-cultural awareness of the contributions of African American lesbian, gay, and bisexual persons. The organizers plan on making this tribute an annual event that is rooted in Atlanta, but stretches across all communities in the United States, with hopes that within Black History month, America will dedicate one week to honor the contributions of its black lesbian, gay, and bisexual past. All events will be free of charge and open to the public.

For more information contact the PHYRE Information Line at (678) 280-7750, visit us on the web at, or via MySpace at

The events include a silent auction, a film series, tributes to the ancestors, and other important cultural and spiritual work, so if you're in Atlanta, please check them out.


Another recent email comes from author Thomas Glave, who writes about having spoken with one of the young men who was nearly lynched in Jamaica just a few few weeks ago. As reported in the Jamaican Observer (and extensively on Rod 2.0's excellent site, C pointed out to me), three young men found themselves trapped in a pharmacy as a frenzied crowd of 2,000 quickly gathered outside and began calling for them to be cast outside so that they could be killed. The pretext was that they were too overtly flaunting their (homo)sexuality and flouting the social codes of the deeply heterosexist and homophobic society in which they live. Police rescued the young men, but Thomas reports on what happened to one young man after they were delivered out of the hands of the mob.

Warm greetings, all. Please excuse this "mass" email. Here is some *awful* news -- *again* -- from Jamaica. Today, I called one of the guys who was attacked; he's physically OK, but, as you can imagine, going through a lot in other ways. This article doesn't even come close to describing how vicious the police were to him in particular, calling him names "dutty nasty battyman," for example (literally "dirty nasty faggot"), cursing him, hitting him in his stomach with their rifles, and hitting him in his eye and on his head. After they took him to Half Way Tree police station -- where they told him not to show his face again if he knew what was good for him -- he found his way to Medical Associates Hospital, not far from where the whole thing happened, where he was treated for his injuries, and released.

He called friends in New York and Switzerland, asking them to call the police in Jamaica; it's because of the calls from "foreign," some people believe, that the police came at all and got the guys out of there. Those of you who know the "connected" people in Jamaica in the LGBT community will be able to find out more by talking with them.

Rod notes in his most recent entry that Jamaicans Forum for Lesbians, All Sexuals and Gays (JFLAG) is now demanding an investigation into the allegations of police violence and taunting at the Half-Way-Tree station, where some police supposedly warned the young men never to set foot again.


Reggie Harris wrote to alert me and others to an article this past Saturday in the Baltimore Sun on Morgan Monceaux/Master Nagrom (at left, Sun photo by André F. Chung) an artist and activist we know who is finally get some measure of his due for his artwork, which includes his ongoing Black Divas series, a group of paintings of noteworthy Black classical singers, some of the totally forgotten, for which he conducted extensive research and on which he has been working furiously, especially since he experienced another flare-up of a very serious illness. Half a decade ago, I went to Nagrom's studio in Rhode Island, and had the opportunity to see some of his work and chat with him. Among the many impressive projects I recall were the First Lady series, which I thought must have taken a herculean effort to complete and some of which were displayed at the National Portrait Gallery last year, and his erotic paintings and drawings, which received a solo show at New York's LGBT Center a few years back. The Vietnam veteran and former theology student has published several books and, according to the article, isn't setting a deadline anymore: he says of life in general, "Each step takes you closer to a realization of who you are and what you're here to do." Here's to hoping that he has many more years left of thinking, dreaming, creating, painting.


I also received a press release from Barbara Kensey of Kensey & Kensey Communications (, on a forthcoming play by Tsehaye Geralyn Hebert, whom I met two years ago at Chicago State University's annual Gwendolyn Brooks Conference for Black Literature Creative Writing:

“Visual Connections” All-Woman Photography exhibit in eta Gallery

CHICAGO (January 19, 2007) eta Creative Arts Foundation presents “Bedtime Story,” a tale of love, loss, redemption and hope in a Louisiana hamlet written by Tsehaye Geralyn Hebert and directed by Kamesha Jackson. Opening Thursday, February 15 thru April 8, 2007, show times are 8 pm Thursday through Saturday; 3 & 7 pm Sunday at eta Square, 7558 S. South Chicago Avenue. The popular “2-for-l” tickets Thursdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 7 pm continue, subject to availability, except opening and closing nights. This production is partially supported by ComEd. General admission is $25 w/student, senior and group discounts. For tickets and information, call 773-752-3955 or visit the web site at

Set a few years after the riots of 1919 in the Louisiana Bayou, a Grandmother’s innocent bedtime stories are the key to what unearths long held secrets that threaten the foundation of the Gremillion household.

“This play poses and grapples with the question – Can love truly heal all wounds,” says Kamesha Jackson, the director. “Tsehaye Hebert’s Bedtime Story is a beautifully woven tale full of characters that (almost) anyone can relate to on some level.”

Adds Hebert, “It’s a love letter to my family, my state, my African American southern roots and to survival beyond anything we can imagine.”


Poet Sandra Miller, the editrice of 1913 Press and 1913: A Journal of Forms, and publisher of Seismosis, has sent out another announcement for 1913 Press's Rozanova Prize.

"All writing is collaboration."
...I think Robert Kelly said that.

1913 says:
There's till time to submit to
for a collaborative and/or visual book,
to be published in a beautiful perfect-bound edition by 1913 Press.
Winner also receives standard royalties contract and 25 copies of the book.

are as open modalities as you want to make them.

(Cross-outs, cut-ups, collage, conversation, wiki-work, decollage, bricolage, multi-authored texts, non-authored texts, hooked on homophonics, anxiously influenced work, chance...)

Please see 1913 a journal of forms and 1913's book publications for fine examples:
Seismosis by John Keene + Christopher Stackhouse
and Sightings by Shin Yu Pai

DEADLINE: March 13, 2007
$20 entry fee

ALL entries will be considered for publication by 1913.
All contest entrants will receive a copy of the winning book.

Multiple entries are accepted, but must be sent under separate cover

either online:

or by mail to:
1913 Press
Box 9654
Hollins University
Roanoke, Virginia 24020

Please email the with any questions at all.

1913 looks forward to the opportunity to read your work...and collaborate!

*After Olga Rozanova (1886-1918), Russian avant-garde (Cubo-Futurist, Proto-Suprematist, Neo-Primitivist) artist who began constructing book art objects in 1913, in collaboration with Kruchenykh, Klebnikhov, and Malevich. Rozanova died young and unexpectedly, a week before the October Revolution anniversary.


Finally, I just received word from poet and scholar Evie Shockley, announcing the new issue of MiPOesias, which she edited:


i invite you to celebrate with me and the contributors among us: ~QUEST~ : A Special Edition of MiPOesias Magazine featuring new work by African American poets has been released! check it out:


don't miss the audio components of this issue -- most poets have mp3s of their poems that you can access on their individual pages, but on the MiPO home page and/or the cover page of the issue, a podcast compiled of readings by each of the poets who recorded audio will load and play. you can also download this podcast from the iTunes store for free; search the podcasts for MiPoesias.

don't miss the amazing artwork of krista franklin on the cover page!

there is some really exciting work in this issue! enjoy --


The lineup of contributors is amazing! They are:

A. Van Jordan
Aracelis Girmay
Brandon D. Johnson
C.S. Giscombe
Camille Dungy
Carl Martin
Cherryl Floyd-Miller
Christian Campbell
Christopher Stackhouse
Derrick Weston Brown
Douglas Kearney
Duriel E. Harris
Ed Roberson
G.E. Patterson
Geoffrey Jacques
giovanni singleton
kim d. hunter
Kyle G. Dargan
L. Teresa Church
Lenard D. Moore
Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon
Marilyn Nelson
Meghan Punschke
Mendi Lewis Obadike
Opal Moore
Raina Leon
Reginald Harris
Reginald Shepherd
Tara Betts
Thylias Moss
Tonya Foster
Treasure Williams
Tyrone Williams

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