Archive for the ‘literature’ category

In Observance of National Poetry Month: A Poem About Park View

April 13, 2017

April is National Poetry Month, and with that in mind, here is a poem with a Park View perspective by Kim Roberts, one of our neighbors.


Poem by Kim Roberts
Quebec Place NW, Park View Neighborhood

“See the new Kennedy Homes. Remarkable values for the price. Eight rooms, finished in oak and mahogany. Overlooking prettiest part of Solder’s Home Park.” –Washington Post advertisement, 1917

A two-block strip of road ends with a view
between black iron bars of an expanse
of sculpted green we’re not invited to.

A hundred years exactly have elapsed
since these two-story houses with their porches
leapt in three dimensions from their plans:

solid brick, gas lighting, attic dormers,
ice box, indoor plumbing, a garage
special-built for autos, not for horses.

A streetcar ride away from downtown jobs
but at an open, healthy elevation:
a neighborhood built to defy the odds

of Federal clerks with backbone and ambition.
On summer nights they’d pour in through the gate
(before these houses became air-conditioned),

a blanket staking out each family’s place
on the cooler grasses of the Soldier’s Home
to eat their picnic dinners, stay up late,

then in safekeeping of the distant dome
of the Capitol in fading purple light,
they fell asleep in tousled knots, still clothed,

women in their crinolines and tights,
in corsets. One communal sleep: how brave!
Who would choose that now on summer nights?

The Park Road Gate, in 1955,
was closed off. At some later unknown year,
they topped the iron fences with barbed wire.

Reprinted from The Scientific Method by Kim Roberts (WordTech Editions, 2017), with permission from the author.

Kim Roberts is a long-time resident of the Park View neighborhood, from 1990 to 1997, then again from 2002 to the present. The Scientific Method is her fifth book of poems.

With Spring, Haikus Sprout in Golden Triangle BID

March 21, 2016

Here are some of the many Haikus currently posted around the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District. These examples are found on K Street. I like how the Golden Triangle BID finds creative ways to make the area interesting — something that a Georgia Avenue Main Streets should consider when one is established.




A Pleasant Encounter — A Local Poet’s Work

July 21, 2015
A Pleasant Encounter and other poems.

A Pleasant Encounter and other poems.

On June 29th I posted a brief introduction to Elois Jones and a book of poems she wrote in 1964. I’ve learned that Ms. Jones lives on the 500 block of Lamont Street though I have not had the pleasure of meeting her.

I’ve also been able to track down a copy of her book, A Pleasant Encounter and other poems. To give you all an idea of some of her work, I’ve copied two of the poems and posted them below.

While most of them tend to focus on love, there were two that really intrigued me. The first is “Birmingham — 16 September 1963” and the other is “On Those Days — To the Memory of Our Beloved President, John F. Kennedy.”

Poem: To My Father


Poem: To the Love of My Life



Discovering a 1964 Poetry Book and Its Link to the Neighborhood

June 29, 2015

I recently found an article from the Chicago Daily Defender published on December 28, 1964 (included below) which has a nice connection with Park View. It is about Elois H. Redmond Jones who lived at 521 Lamont Street with her husband Thomas. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis W. Redmond, resided at 724 Rock Creek Church Road. The occasion of the article was a book of poems she’d published in 1964 by Vantage Press titled A Pleasant Encounter and Other Poems. In doing some digging, this appears to be her only published work. I was able to find that six libraries are known to own copies. These are Virginia Commonwealth University, Temple University, Norfolk State University, New York Public library, Brown University, and Wayne State University. I’m sure there may be others.

I’ve yet to learn anything more about the author but will keep searching.


Elois H. Jones

Checking out the Golden Triangle’s Haiku Project

February 13, 2015

haikumapfinalIf you happen to find yourself in the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District, you’ll probably have seen their Golden Haiku project in many of the tree boxes. I’ve long been interested in how Business Improvement Districts add value to commercial districts, and have often wondered why we don’t have one on 14th Street in Columbia Heights. I think Georgia Avenue would benefit from one too, but I don’t think Georgia have the businesses to support one yet.

But back to the Golden Triangle area … this winter, the Golden Triangle BID The Golden has installed 60 haikus in tree boxes all over their district. The map above gives an indication of the area included in this project. Below are photos of four haikus from the 60 installed.

Haiku 1

Haiku 3

Haiku 2



Enjoy Some New Poetry from Kim Roberts

December 5, 2014

Do you love poetry? Then you’ll like the following video introduction to Kim Roberts’ new book To the South Pole. As an added treat, Kim is also a Park View resident. What a great way to end the week. You can learn more about Kim at her Web site.

To the South Pole from Jon Gann on Vimeo.

Little Free Library at Bruce-Monroe Community Garden

June 25, 2014

Little free libraryI posted earlier that a little free library was to be installed at the Bruce-Monroe Community Garden back on May 17th. This past weekend was the first time I’d had a chance to check it out and it looks as good as I thought it would (see accompanying photos).

According to an earlier commenter, the Bruce-Monroe Community Garden will store excess books in their shed, and replenish the library if it gets too low. If the library is full and you would like to make a book donation please contact the Garden at brucemonroegarden (at) gmail (dot) com

Little Free Library

Here’s a Good Read About Rats You May Want to Check Out

January 3, 2014

Rats_largeWhile this probably won’t be much of a surprise to anyone, I’ve been somewhat focused on rats this year (and am sure that I will be on and off for as long as I live in Washington). As a follow-up to the Ward 1 Rat Summit held in November, I’ve been reading up on rats, what makes them thrive, and what residents can do to reduce their numbers in our communities.

As part of this adventure, I’ve come across a book titled Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City’s Most Unwanted Inhabitants written by Robert Sullivan and published in 2004. I haven’t finished it yet, but I’m finding it to be a great read. Not only is it very informative about rats and rat behavior, it’s also a very readable work that’s as much a history about New York City as it is about rats.

If you haven’t checked out this book before and you enjoy both reading and learning about urban environments, this could be a good winter read for you.

1943 Book About Washington History has Link to Park View

March 1, 2012

Washington: Yesterday and Today, was published in 1943

Here’s a nice link to the past, both of the City and of the neighborhood. Washington: Yesterday and Today was published in 1943 by Ginn and Company. As stated on its title page, the book was prepared by Social Studies Teachers in the Washington, D.C., Public Schools under the direction of George J. Jones.

George J. Jones lived in Park View from at least 1947 until his death in 1955, residing at 3670 Park Place, NW. According to his obituary, he came to Washington in 1908 to sight-see and stayed to teach.

He began by teaching history and introduced discussion of contemporary problems into his curriculum. He also testified on Capitol Hill in the late 1940s in defense of certain textbooks used in the school system which had been criticized as being un-American. In addition to Washington: Yesterday and Today, Jones was also the co-author of The Constitution of the United States with an Introduction to Its Study (1941) and Modern World Setting for American History (1925).

Washington: Yesterday and Today includes the following chapters:

  1. Before the Capital came to the Potomac
  2. A new Capital is born
  3. Washington in earlier years — and now
  4. Our Capital in Wartimes
  5. A story of old Georgetown
  6. The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal
  7. Commercial and Industrial Washington
  8. Schools in the National Capital
  9. The Capital as a cultural center
  10. The Government of the District of Columbia

While dated, even for a history book, so far I’m particularly fond of the commercial and industrial history as well as the explanation of the District government under the three Commissioners.


New Online Resource Reveals Writers’ Homes and History in the Nation’s Capital

November 3, 2011

Here’s a great new resource for those interested in Washington’s literary legacy. It’s a Web site that lists prominent writers who have lived in the Washington area. In addition to a map that shows the location of literary houses, the site lets you search by various categories including general area of the city or various affiliations.

Entries provide a brief biography of the author, the years they lived at the residence, and a list of their more significant works. You can see a sample entry by looking at the one for Zora Neal Hurston, who lived at 3017 Sherman Avenue in 1922 or 1923 while she was a student at Howard University.

The complete announcement about the online resource is below:

New online resource reveals writers’ homes and history in the nation’s capital

A new online resource for lovers of literature and history has been launched in the nation’s capital.  DC Writers’ Homes, at, celebrates the rich literary heritage of Washington by mapping former homes of novelists, poets, playwrights and memoirists.  Some authors remain famous, such as Paul Laurence Dunbar, Zora Neale Hurston, Sinclair Lewis, and Katherine Anne Porter.  Others are rediscoveries. (more…)

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