May Miller (1899-1995)

Born in DC, May Miller is a poet and playwright also associated with the Harlem Renaissance. She attended Paul Lawrence Dunbar high school in the District and, beginning at age 16, Howard University. Her father, Kelly Miller — for whom the Ward 7 middle school is named — founded the sociology department at Howard.

Blazing Accusation” is an often-quoted and cited piece —

This blog,, contains a number of Miller poems. It’s offered by Dr. Miller Newman, a niece of May Miller (see also See also this page on the “Howard Poets,” written by Myra Sklarew.

Lillian-Yvonne Bertram (contemporary)

Lillian-Yvonne Bertram is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of Massachusetts-Boston. They teach creative writing there, direct Chautauqua Institution Writers’ Festival, and published several books of poetry. They are one-sixth of the “Line Assembly” project.

An introduction to the poet and their work on the New American Poets site

See also the poet’s page at Poetry Foundation, a few poems on Body literary journal, and the author’s own site.

Publisher’s blurb about the 2019 Travesty Generator. “Like a ghost in the machine, Travesty Generator remixes programming codes and turns them to ruminate on the intersections of race and gender. Rhythmic, hypnotic, and percussive, the poems are iterative and suggest the infinite recursions of nano data.”

Mohja Kahf (contemporary)

Mohja Kahf is professor at University of Arkansas and a writer of Syrian-American background. She was born (1967) in the U.S. into a family of exiles, and lived earlier years in New Jersey and Indiana. Her 2006 novel, The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf, focuses on Indiana; see “Growing Up Muslim in Indiana” interview here. See her page at Poetry Foundation, bio and a few pieces at Best Poems Encyclopedia page, and more at Global Literature in Libraries on Literature of Exile.

Taha Muhammad Ali (1931 – 2011)

Born in Saffuriya, Galilee, Taha Muhammad Ali lived many years in Nazareth and began writing and publishing poetry in the 1970s. Biography at Poetry Foundation. Additional background and poems at Poetry International. Short interview and reading on PBS “weekly poem.”

TVL1 podcast (2014), includes reading from “Twigs” —

In the video below, after Peter Cole reads two of his own poems, he does his half of what would have been a duet with Taha Muhammad Ali, for “Meeting at an Airport” (starts at:325)

Reading in Arabic by the poet and in English by translator Peter Cole, plus English interview.

from the collection So What: New and Selected Poems (with a Story): 1971-2005. Translated by Peter Cole, Yahya Hijazi, and Gabriel Levin. Port Townsend, WA: Copper Canyon Press, 2006.

Reading Contents (Arabic precedes English in each reading):

Start — “Abd El-Hadi Fights a Superpower” [see Poetry Foundation]

2:30 — “Warning”

3:49 — from “Twigs” (stanza 3, the shortest, skipped) [see Google Books]

  • 3:49 — stanza 1
  • 5:00 — stanza 2
  • 5:33 — stanza 4
  • 6:30 — stanza 5

7:33 — poet’s introduction (English) to “The Place Itself, or I hope You Can Digest it”

8:22 — “The Place Itself…” [partially available via Google Books]

10:42 — “Nothing More” [partially available via Google Books]

13:47 — closing remarks from the poet (English)

See also 2021 article on the poet and “mystery of Palestinian happiness.”