E. Ethelbert Miller | Writer and Literary Activist
E. Ethelbert Miller is a writer and literary activist. He is the board chair of the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), a progressive think tank located in Washington, D.C. For ten years he has been the editor of Poet Lore, the oldest poetry magazine published in the United States. In 1996, he delivered the commencement address at Emory and Henry College and was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Literature. Mr. Miller has been a Fulbright Senior Specialist Program Fellow to Israel in 2004 and 2012. In February 2006 he was the keynote speaker at the 50th Anniversary of the Fulbright Program in Israel, at the Embassy of Israel in Washington, D.C.
Miller is the founder and former chair of the Humanities Council of Washington, D.C. He served as a Commissioner for the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities from 1997-2008. He is board emeritus for the PEN/ Faulkner Foundation.
The author of several collections of poetry, he has written two memoirs, Fathering Words: The Making of An African American Writer(2000) and The 5th Inning (2009). Fathering Words was selected by the D.C. Public Library for its DC WE READ, one book, one city program in 2003. His poetry anthology In Search of Color Everywhere was awarded the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award in 1994.
In 1978 “E. Ethelbert Miller Day” was proclaimed in D.C. on September 28, 1978. Miller would receive the Mayor’s Arts Award in 1982 for Literature, the Public Humanities Award in 1988, the Columbia Merit Award in 1994, and made an honorary citizen of Baltimore on July 17, 1994.
On May 21, 2001 “ E. Ethelbert Miller Day” was proclaimed in Jackson, Tennessee. In 2001 and 2003 he was honored at the National Book Festival hosted by Laura Bush. In February 2007 he was awarded the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award by Poets and Writers.
In May 2007, Miller was awarded a Virginia Center for Creative Arts Fellowship. In June 2009 a Sea Change Fellowship by the Gaea Foundation.
Mr. Miller has taught at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, American University, George Mason University and Emory and Henry College. For a number of years he was a core faculty member with the Bennington Writing Seminars. He delivered the Seminars commencement address in 1999, 2003 and 2013.
Miller’s poetry has been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, German, Hungarian, Chinese, Farsi, Norwegian, Tamil and Arabic.
From 1974-2000 he was the founder and director of the Ascension Poetry Reading Series which presented hundreds of African American poets and poets of color to the general public. In 1997 he worked with the Inter-Governmental Philatelic Corporation (IGPC) and was responsible for placing twelve African American writers on postage stamps issued by Ghana and Uganda. The writers honored were Maya Angelou, Rita Dove, Mari Evans, Henry Louis Gates, Jr, Charles Johnson, June Jordan, Toni Cade Bambara, Sterling A. Brown, Alex Haley, Stephen Henderson, Zora Neale Hurston and Richard Wright.
In 2003 Miller’s poems were selected for sculpture installations at the Petworth and DuPont Circle Metro stations.
Mr. Miller is often heard on National Public Radio. He is host and producer of The Scholars on UDC-TV and writes a regular monthly column, E on DC for Capital Community News. His E-Notes has been a popular blog since 2004.
On April 19, 2015, Mr. Miller was inducted into the Washington DC Hall of Fame.