This is the first part in a series on the D.C. Writers’ Homes project. Each Friday for the month of January, one writer who hits close to the UMD campus will be featured.
Roberts and Vera have what they call a strange hobby. They research D.C. and surrounding communities for still-standing homes of authors and record the information on D.C. Writers’ Homes, their online resource that lists about 125 D.C., Maryland and Virginia houses where local authors once lived. The website was released on December 1.
“I don’t think we’re very good at claiming our history,” said Roberts, who teaches the course in traditional verse forms for the Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House at the University of Maryland. “I think that there’s much more interest in preserving people’s private properties. I wish more of them were marked by plaques.”
It was his fourth time hosting the open mic night at the Busboys and Poets in Hyattsville, but you would never know. Pages Matam, donned in a red bowtie and black fedora hat, seems like he’s been hosting his whole life.
“I love being on the other side of the mic,” he said. “Performing is tiring. Facilitating others is another release after a long day of working.”
Poetry has always been a form of activism for Yellow Rage, a two-person Asian Pacific American spoken word poetry group.“It’s been about education and raising awareness,” said Yellow Rage member Michelle Myers. “It’s about trying to initiate some sort of positive change in the world.”
Myers and Catzie Vilayphonh, who are currently on a college tour, have been writing and performing poems since 2000 when the two met at a workshop set up by Asian Arts Initiative (AAI), a community based arts organization. The topics they’ve covered range from APA women stereotypes, heritage and search for home to human trafficking, sexual slavery and other issues facing the APA community.
He’s been described as the Indiana Jones of the university’s Jewish studies department.Professor Matthew Suriano, who began teaching at this university in the fall, has built up a reputation among students and colleagues for excavating ruins, reading ancient Canaanite languages and working as a serious scholar. This summer, Suriano plans to take up to eight students along with him to participate in an archaeological dig at Tel Burna in southwestern Israel.
“It’s one of the few prominent [sites] in Israel that up until two years ago had never been touched,” Suriano said.
Before the Jan. 15 Borderlines open mic even started, Henry Mills chose random audience members to translate Spanish haikus and sections of poems into English. Candles flickered on tables and the smell of pizza floated throughout the room of about 40.
Though the Spanish texts were only written in one way, the English translations varied.