Episode #3: Living Legacy (E. Ethelbert Miller)

Ethelbert and Bomani talking on a bench in Dupont.

We wanted to have a conversation with the always insightful E. Ethelbert Miller. The poet with a Hip-Hop style, Bomani Armah was guest host on this episode and the dialogue was playful and engaging.

Bomani Armah, Guest Host:


E. Ethelbert Miller is a literary activist. He is the board chairperson of the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS). He is a board member of The Writer’s Center and editor of Poet Lore magazine. Since 1974, he has been the director of the African American Resource Center at Howard University. Mr. Miller is the former chair of the Humanities Council of Washington, D.C. and a former core faculty member of the Bennington Writing Seminars at Bennington College.

He is the author of the following books:

  • Andromeda (1974)
  • The Land of Smiles and the Land of No Smiles (1974)
  • Migrant Worker (1978)
  • VSeason of Hunger/Cry of Rain (1982)
  • Where are the Love Poems for Dictators? (1986, reprinted in 2001)
  • First Light (1994)
  • Whispers, Secrets and Promises (1998)
  • Fathering Words: The Making of An African American Writer (2000)
  • Buddha Weeping In Winter (2001)
  • How We Sleep On The Nights We Don’t Make Love (2004)
  • The 5th Inning (2009)

He is the editor of the following anthologies:

  1. Synergy: An Anthology of Washington, D.C. Black Poetry (1975)
  2. Women Surviving Massacres and Men (1977)
  3. In Search of Color Everywhere (1994)
  4. Beyond the Frontier (2002)


In 1979, the Mayor of Washington, DC 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.

In Search of Color Everywhere was awarded the 1994 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award and was a Book of the Month Club selection. Mr. Miller received the 1995 O.B. Hardison Jr. Poetry Prize. He was awarded an honorary doctorate of literature from Emory & Henry College on May 18, 1996. In 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.” Fathering Words was selected by DC WE READ in 2003 for the one book, one city program sponsored by the D.C. Public Libraries. In 2004, Mr. Miller was awarded a Fulbright to visit Israel.


Additional Participants: AJ, Matt Rosen, Rev Gooden, Quest, Miguel Prado and Natasha Alford.



  1. Homer Greene says:

    Excellent interview!

  2. Sandra Parker says:

    The pacing of this is great. I like the whole movement of the interview and dialogue.

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