Beltway Poetry Quarterly

Mapping the City

DC Places, Part II
Volume 11:4, Fall 2010

This issue is the second in a series that features poems about specific places in the greater Washington, DC region. All the poems mention real places by name: streets, neighborhoods, parks, monuments, businesses. They reveal how the city continues to be a source of inspiration.

This issue is presented in conjunction with Beltway Poetry Quarterly‘s tenth anniversary and the release of the new anthology, Full Moon on K Street: Poems About Washngton, DC, edited by Kim Roberts and published by Plan B Press. That volume, limited to one hundred poems, filled too quickly. This issue fills in some of the gaps, and includes poems I was unable to include in the book.

While the print anthology focused on contemporary poems, written from 1950 to the present, in this special issue, I decided to include seven older poems as well, to show how Washington, DC was viewed by residents from earlier periods. These older authors include Joel Barlow, who lived in DC during the Federalist period, Anne Lynch Botta, who lived here prior to the Civil War, Charlotte Forten Grimké, who wrote during Reconstruction, and Carrie Williams Clifford, a lesser-known Harlem Renaissance-era author. While writing styles and literary tastes have changed, these poems still have considerable charm and historical interest.

My deep thanks to Emery Pajer, who designed the beautiful interactive map for this issue. Users will note that 52 poems from the first DC Places Issue (Volume 7:3, published Summer 2006, co-edited with Andrea Carter Brown) are marked with red pushpins on the map. Poems from this current issue were added to the first, and are marked with blue pushpins. Together, the two issues combine forces to map the city’s pleasures and frustrations, its secrets and public life.

Table of Contents


Map by Emery Pajer



I. The Mall and Environs

Mark Fitzgerald, Potomac at Last Light First
Carrie Williams Clifford, Lincoln
Phyllis Armstrong, At Watergate
Charlie Rossiter, Fishing in the Tidal Basin
Anne Lynch Botta, Webster
Joel Barlow, Three excerpts from The Columbiad
Gretchen Primack, The Albert Einstein Memorial, Washington, DC
Charlotte Forten Grimké, The Gathering of the Grand Army
Mary-Sherman Willis, Miracle
David Keplinger
, Visiting the National Gallery While the Country is at War

II. Georgetown, Downtown, Shaw

Jody Bolz, Moonrise Over Washington
Wendy Babiak, The Time I Saw Rip Taylor While Walking from Work Outside the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, DC
John A. Joyce, Decoration Day Poem
Jamie Brown, Fall in the City
Adelaide E. Cardozo, New Jersey Avenue
Dehejia Maat, All the Secrets of the Universe
Grisella M. Martinez, Easter Lily
Danielle Evennou, See It, Say It

III. Dupont Circle, U Street, Mount Pleasant, Adams Morgan

Martha Sanchez-Lowery, The Statue at Dupont Circle
j. scales, old school u street song
Zein El-Amine, The Ellington
Simone Jacobson, Night Crawling
Yael Flusberg, Optical Illusions
Heather Davis, The House on Hobart Street
Brother Yao, what we were looking for in the night
M. Lee Alexander, Bird House, National Zoo, Washington DC
Mike Maggio, The Snake

IV. NE and SE

Peter Montgomery, Wake Up Call
Mary Beth Hatem, Learning Birds
Joy Jones, I’m From DC
Fareedah Allah, The Corner Store
Yermiyahu Ahron Taub, Wandering Jew in Little Rome
Shirley Cochrane, The Fall of the Mourning Dove
Truth Thomas, New York Avenue

V. Heading Out

Michael Blumenthal, Abandoning Your Car in a Snowstorm: Rosslyn, Virginia
Simki Ghebremichael, Great Falls
Stacy Johnson Tuthill, At the Trolley Museum
John Clagett Proctor, Georgia Avenue
Jade Foster, jessup/ a poem to prison
Tom Lachman, The Indoor Pond