E. Ethelbert Miller- Poet and Literary Visionary

Literary Activist E. Ethelbert Pens Meditations of Sound and Peace

National Poetry Month Special


You have to forget the last election.

The blown save.

What matters is now – not tomorrow – just now.

In every inning there is the possibility of something going wrong,

the way sunlight blinds or the way a ball skips towards

the wall or through and under a glove. You stand on the mound

of your imagination and imagine nothing except your own breath.

In your hands the roundness of the world.

How do you feel? Is this what you’ve always wanted?

It’s not about the score or getting out of the inning.

It’s about saving whatever needs to be saved. It can be nothing

more than one’s reputation or helping a child crave the memory

of magic and something to believe in. There is nothing more human

than baseball.

- E. Ethelbert Miller


My ears long for a transistor radio,

my ears are lonely for the past.

What man doesn’t love static

more than a woman? Once I listened

to two stations at once. Under covers

I waited for daybreak fearing the death

of a dead battery. My ears whispered

for sports more than music. How could

I sleep without dreaming I was Cassius

Clay dancing around Sonny Liston in a ring.

- E. Ethelbert Miller

E. Ethelbert Miller is a writer and literary activist. He is the board chair of the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), a progressive think tank located in Washington, D.C. For ten years he has been the editor of Poet Lore, the oldest poetry magazine published in the United States. In 1996, he delivered the commencement address at Emory and Henry College and was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Literature. Mr. Miller has been a Fulbright Senior Specialist Program Fellow to Israel in 2004 and 2012. In February 2006 he was the keynote speaker at the 50th Anniversary of the Fulbright Program in Israel, at the Embassy of Israel in Washington, D.C.

Miller is the founder and former chair of the Humanities Council of Washington, D.C. He served as a Commissioner for the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities from 1997-2008. He is board emeritus for the PEN/ Faulkner Foundation.

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