Monday, January 12, 2009

WELCOME, 2009!

The annual Sisters~Nineties Kwanzaa celebration was wrapped in our former method of observance. Visit our website at to view the photographs of our special affair--teeming with positive energy, poetry, remembering, recommitment, elders and children, books, recitations, and music.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

October UPDATE

All is well and there have been several major changes with Sisters~Nineties Literary Group (S~NLG). S~NLG now has a web site that includes pages of the Yari Yari Writers' activities and poetry. We are at

As many know, our grassroots literary review ended with the 2007 Kwanzaa edition. After 18 years bedtime arrived. No regrets. My rewards came with each edition when at least one person would say that they learned something new of our African past in reading the publication.

A new addition to the scope of Yari Yari is the Internet radio program "We Are the Future" on WRBG. WRBG is our host station manned by the dynamic Brothas Keepa in Memphis, Tennessee. N'Dea Collins-Whitfield hosts "We Are the Future." This 14-year-old Yari Yari writer has been with the group since she was seven years old. For seven years we have watched her develop into a wonderful writer. N'Dea recently completed her chapbook Trying to Become--a lovely collection of poetry and art she has created. If you want to know what's on the mind and in the heart of teens with missions, you will discover that and more reading N'Dea's chapbook.

The final major change with our literary group is the 2008 Sisters~Nineties Annual Kwanzaa Celebration. We have decided to return to our original format from those early days in Madrid, Spain. Those were far less commercial--much more intimate. Friends of S~NLG will receive invitations to our observance at the beginning of December. More than likely we will post photographs on the web site from our 19th annual Kwanzaa observance.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

S~NLG presents
as readers theatre
"I've Been to the Mountaintop"
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

directed by Fannie Belle Lebby

musical accompaniment by Dennis Lebby

The performance featured Antoinette Crayton, Chris Hayden,
D. Morrowloving, and Bush Ra.
All photographs from rehearsals and performance are by Wilma Potts.

Yari Yari Writers participated in
In addition to representing the April 3, 1968, Memphis audience,
Yari Yari Writers recited their poetry following
the presentation of "I've Been to the Mountaintop."

About 50 people attended the performance of Dr. Martin Luther King's last speech ("I've Been to the Mountaintop") as readers theatre at the Julia Davis Branch Library in St. Louis on Sunday, January 27. Writes Marie Chewe-Elliott, "Debra, The performance was phenomenal.It was inspirational to revisit the themes of unity and economic boycotts and realize how relevant they still are to our community. I meant it when I said the show should tour. My family members loved it because it provided us another 'teaching moment' with our children."

Wilma Potts delivered a powerful "Marching with the White Folks" to close the program. Ms. Potts' photographs from BEYOND THE DREAM TO THE MOUNTAINTOP are above and below.

Asante to all who attended and those who helped promote the Sisters~Nineties program BEYOND THE DREAM TO THE MOUNTAINTOP.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A Sisters~Nineties Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr. King delivered his last speech on April 3, 1968. He spoke in support of the Memphis sanitation workers who were on strike. In his "I've Been to the Mountaintop" oration, Dr. King emphasized the necessity of unity among the Black people of Memphis. He called for cooperative economics and named the companies from which people of Afrikan descent should withdraw patronage.

Come out to hear the nationalistic concepts of Dr. King as members of Sisters~Nineties present "I've Been to the Mountaintop." This is the speech for which Dr. King should be best remembered.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated the day following his delivery of "I've Been to the Mountaintop."

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Sisters~Nineties Literary Group
observes Kwanzaa

Asa Hilliard Night
Thursday, December 27, 2007, at 6 p.m.
Schlafly Branch Library
, 225 N. Euclid, St. Louis.
The program begins with a sharing of information about Asa G. Hilliard, III, and the legacy he left us. We then screen a video of Hilliard's lecture "Cultural Genocide as a Tool of Armed Warfare." Discussion follows in the spirit of Kujichagulia.

Join us for ASA G. HILLIARD (Nana Baffour Amenkwatia) Night

Celebrate Kwanzaa with Sisters~Nineties and Yari Yari

Photo by Wilma Potts / © 2007 by Wilma Potts

The Poetics of Ujima
is the title of our 2007 annual Kwanzaa program

Friday, December 28, 2007, 6 p.m. at

Kingdom House
1321 S. 11th St.
St. Louis, Missouri
  • Poetry from Mama Collette, Baba Senntchaas, Marie Chewe-Elliott, Antoinette Crayton, Wilma Potts, Bush Ra, and Linda Jo Smith. Special guestis Ms. Nterpretation, who will have CDs available for purchase.
  • Art exhibit features work of Linda Darnece Jones Hawkins, KUSH, Wilma Potts, Byron D. Rogers, Yari Yari visual/graphic artist N'Dea Collins-Whitfield, Rochleigh Z. Wholfe, and others.
  • Vendors include UJAMAA MAKTABA and Ken-Amen Bettis of ABORIGINALS
  • Light refreshments served after the program, 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
  • This program is free and open to the public.

Kwanzaa is a celebration of family, community, and culture
for people of Afrikan descent

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What Time Is It?

The 2nd Annual
S~NLG Kwanzaa Family Workshop is

Saturday, October 27, 2007
from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the

Rowan Center, 1401 Rowan
(one block east of Hamilton and Ridge)

  • Kwanzaa Pillows
  • Is’Mima Nebt’Kata Blessing Boxes
  • Kwanzaa Wrappers
  • Bookmarks
  • Adinkra Magnets
  • Kwanzaa Coloring Pages

Recommended Kwanzaa gifts (zawadi) are those that are handmade; zawadi otherwise should be a Black doll, a book, or a symbol of our heritage. Families are invited to join the fun in creating zawadi. Every hour on the hour information on observing Kwanzaa will be announced while children and parents make their zawadi.

For more information telephone 367-4223.


Monday, October 01, 2007

On Thursday, October 11th, Sisters~Nineties Literary Group promotes National Black Poetry Day. National Black Poetry Day honors Jupiter Hammon, born October 17, 1711. Hammon is the earliest poet of Afrikan descent to have work published in the United States.

Join us at Schlafly Branch Library at 225 N. Euclid Avenue in St. Louis at 7 p.m. for poetic edutainment from
Marie Chewe-Elliott, Antoinette Crayton, D. Morrowloving, Wilma Potts, Freida L. Wheaton and special guest David A. N. Jackson.

Come out and take home poetic ideas to commemorate the work of Jupiter Hammon. Share the legendary past and present of Black poetry with your family, friends, and youth on October 17th every year.

Calls for Submission et al.
  • "Writer Beware" at provides detailed information on literary scams. Covers contests, literary agents, book doctors, and vanity publishers.

  • Say it Loud: Poems about James Brown Edited by: Mary E. Weems, and Thomas Sayers Ellis We grew up on James Brown's hit me! When he danced every young Black man wanted to move, groove and look like him. Mr. Brown wasn't called the hardestworkingman in show business because he wasn't. Experiencing a James Brown show was like getting your favorite soul food twice, plus desert. His songs, like Black power fists you could be proud of and move to at the same time. When Mr. Brown sang make it funky we sweated even in the wintertime. Losing him was like losing somebody in our family. This is a shout out for poems about the impact James Brown had on our lives. Poems that will help people remember, honor, and celebrate his legacy. Don't be left in a cold sweat, send us your old and new James Brown poems today. Submission Guidelines: 3-5 Unpublished and/or published poems with acknowledgement included. No longer than 73 lines. Deadline: December 31, 2007 (Receipt not postmark) Send hard copies along with a Word Document and short bio on a CD to: Dr. Mary E. Weems, English Department, John Carroll University, 20700 North Park Blvd., University Hts., Ohio 44118 end via e-mail attachment (Word Documents Only) to: and
The submission deadline is fast approaching for LEE & LOW BOOKS' eighth annual NEW VOICES AWARD. Manuscripts will be accepted through October 31st, 2007, and must bepostmarked within that period. For submission guidelines please visit our Web site at http://www.leeandlo voices.html
The NEW VOICES AWARD is given for a children's picture book story by a writer of color. The Award prize is a cash grant of $1,000 and LEE & LOW's standard publication contract, including an advance against royalties. The Honor Award prize is a cash grant of $500. Please help us spread the word and pass along this information to anyone else who might be interested. We look forward to receiving your submission!

The Editors

http://www.maafasfb general%20info. htm#maafareadern arrative
Deadline: until complete

To celebrate the 10th anniversary (2005) of the San Francisco Bay Area's "Black Holocaust Remembrance, " scholars, poets, writers and artists are invited to submit work for inclusion in the "Maafa Reader." The goal is to have a reflective record of the various ways African people in the Diaspora recall the Middle Passage, honor the ancestors and heal the trauma.

We hope the reach is national and international, drawing on traumatic stories or residual memories and the consequences of having been forcefully removed from our homeland five centuries ago. The call is also for those left in Alkebulan (ancient name for Africa) to reflect on the devastation this loss wrought on the families and communities left behind. What was the cultural drain to the collective consciousness? What should or how does the New Afrikan feel about the Motherland, a place where most of us have never lived? Who's responsible for our enslavement? Can we forgive those who sold us, those who bought us?

What is the link between colonialism and enslavement? Are the consequences of the two similar? What role did religion play in the colonizing of Africa? Why are so many Africans in the Diaspora Christian or Muslim, is this in itself a contradiction and or a barrier to true mental and spiritual liberation? Can holding onto any tools: language, religion, history, or systems of government lead to anything positive, if while under colonial rule or enslavement, the only beneficiary was the white power structure?

We are especially interested in the stories of incarcerated African men, women and children and children in group homes and foster care. This in itself is its own special type of Maafa.

Stories of those impacted by Hurricane Katrina and this government's neglect and weak response to the predominately African American affected populations are also desired. Connections between this Maafa and that experienced by ancestors of those Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi (now Texas) natives are evident. Oral histories, along with photographs of key moments in our diasporic history, are encouraged.

Reflect on the whole notion of freedom. What does it mean to be free? And while you're at it, what about what's due to those who labored for centuries without pay? Are reparations in order? Choose your topic. There is no length requirement; just be clear, succinct and edited. Submissions may be made by email in Microsoft Word or text file to
mail@maafasfbayarea .com
or by mail to
Anthology Editor,
P.O. Box 30756,
Oakland, CA 94604.

Please include a short bio - no more than 50 words - with your work. You will be notified as to whether or not your submission was accepted. This call is being reissued because the response was insufficient.

Contact: Dashiell Thompson, Publicist
Urban Echoes Entertainment, LLC
P.O. Box 61494
Durham, NC 27715
(919) 672-1161
Durham, NC - Urban Echoes Entertainment, LLC, is pleased to announce the first annual Solaris Prize for a first book of poetry! The prize is open to any U.S. citizen with a book-length collection of poems that has not been published with an ISBN assigned to it.
Entry fee is $25. All submissions must be a minimum 40 pages, unbound (no binders, clamps, etc.), and typed on 8 1/2 x 11 paper. Manuscripts must be previously unpublished in book form; may be simultaneously submitted elsewhere, but please notify if accepted. There are no restrictions on the kind of poetry or subject matter; however, translations are not acceptable, neither are works written by multiple authors. Poems published in journals, chapbooks, and anthologies may be included but must be acknowledged. Submission of more than one manuscript is permissible; however, each must be under separate cover with a fee. Postmark deadline for submissions is Friday, December 14, 2007.
Winner will be announced in February via nationwide press release, in Poets & Writers Magazine, on Urban Echoes' website, and in Urban Echoes' quarterly newsletter. A cash prize of $1500, as well as publication of the book, will be awarded. The winner will receive a standard publishing contract, with royalties paid in addition to the $1500 prize, as well as 10 free copies of the book and worldwide distribution to bookstores, libraries, and online retail sellers.

The 2nd TimBookTu Poetry Contest is underway and you are invited to submit your entries to compete for cash prizes. Awards: 1st Place - $150, 2nd Place - $100, 3rd Place - $50 Contest Deadline: December 31, 2007 All winners will be published on the TimBookTu website and in a souvenir booklet to be published at a later date. Each winner will receive one free copy of the booklet. Criteria: Entries should relate to the African American or Afrocentric cultural experiences. They will be judged on impact, content, creativity, and relevance to African American culture. For Contest Guidelines and to submit your entry, follow this link or visit the TimBookTu website: Here's your chance to compete against the best poets in the nation and around the world. html
All winning stories will be published in the 2008 PRISM Summer Fiction
Contest Issue and receive an additional payment of $20 per printed page (in Canadian
dollars or the U.S. equivalent).
Entry deadline: January 31, 2008.
Download a printable entry form & guidelines (160 kb - requires Adobe

Guest editors: Sebastian Matthews and Camille T. Dungy
Deadline: February 15, 2008
The introduction to the Oxford Book of Nature Writing, claims that "the most convincing nature writing is… a history of our views about ourselves." This is most certainly true; however, the prevalence and scope of Black writing with nature as a core theme has been generally underestimated. Many poems by Black American writers incorporate treatments of the natural world that are historicized or politicized, thus inclining readers to consider these poems political poems, historical poems, protest poems, socio-economic commentary, anything but nature poems. This is particularly true when the definition of what constitutes literature about nature or the environment is limited to poems that address the pastoral or the rugged, spaces and subjects removed or distanced from human contact. Such compartmentalization excludes African American nature poetry, which frequently engages contemporary and historic concerns within social, political, and cultural contexts. The result of such assumptions is that lists of American nature writers rarely include many African American names. As guest editors for the journal Ecotone: Re-imagining Place, we’re making a call for poems by Black poets about and engaging the natural world. Founding Editor David Gessner says this about Ecotone’s mission: “Much of our best writing grows out of the land. More specifically, it grows from rich, overlapping areas, those unstable, uncategorizable places that aren’t one thing or another. Biological ecotones are areas of great species diversity and biological density, of intense life and death; literary ecotones are the places where words come most alive. These edges—between genres, between science and literature, between land and sea, between urban and rural, between the personal and biological, between the animal and spiritual—are not only more alive, but more interesting and worthy of exploration.” Black poetry in America has recorded perspectives on the natural world as different as the Black perspective on this country. We’re looking for poems that re-imagine the boundaries of the genre, poems that remind readers that we are always part of the natural world, even when we feel most alienated from it. Please submit up to 4 poems, by February 15, 2008, for an Ecotone feature issue on nature poetry by Black American poets. Send poems c/o Guest Editors, Ecotone, P.O. Box 9594, Asheville, NC, 28815. Include your name, address, email and an SASE. --Camille Dungy & Sebastian Matthews