In Brief: Mike Maggio on Full Moon on K Street–Poems About Washington, DC

Full Moon on K Street: Poems About Washington, DC, Edited by Kim Roberts, Plan B Press, 2009

Veteran editor Kim Roberts (Beltway Poetry Quarterly) has once again flexed her editorial muscles with this new collection of poems by current and former Washington DC residents. A veritable who’s who of contemporary DC poets, Full Moon on K Street gathers voices old and new, known and not-so-known, in a potpourri of poetic vignettes that illuminate every nook and cranny of our often-demonized city. From E. Ethelbert Miller to Holly Bass, from NPR poetry hostess Grace Cavalieri to former politician Eugene J, McCarthy, the writers in this collection are as diverse as the city it portrays and represent a variety of poetry movements including Language Poetry (Joan Retallack and Tina Darragh), Slam (Reggie Cabico and Joel Dias-Porter aka DJ Renegade), Flarf (Rod Smith) and everything in between.

More than just another volume of poetry, Full Moon offers readers a unique glimpse into the heart and soul of the Capitol City through the eyes of long-time residents who have experienced first hand its life and history. The poems explore its neighborhoods, document it unheard secrets, and illuminate its monuments and its history in a collection that will prove vital for those who want to understand the nature of a city often overshadowed by the daily machinations of the Federal Government.

Arranged by author in chronological birth order, Full Moon shines a spotlight on the rich panorama of DC’s cultural fabric. From Myra Sklarew’s historical narrative about Russian immigrants arriving to escape the wrath of the Czar (“4th Street SW, Washington D.C.”), to Percy E. Johnson Jr.’s bebop-like “Blaupunkt” to Hillary Tham’s “Mrs. Wei on Governments,” this collection takes you on a journey into Washington DC’s diverse communities and the complex and fascinating cultural history which makes up its ever-changing character. U Street and jazz and the roots of the Harlem Renaissance. Adams Morgan and its rich, ethnic brew. Anacostia with its broken streets and its buoyant dreams. Dupont Circle. The National Mall. Riots, racism, civil unrest and civil disobedience. Full Moon succinctly captures the many facets of Washington DC and what it means to live here. This book is a great read and a treasure well worth preserving for future generations.