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Posted at 12:16 PM ET, 02/ 9/2011

Busboys & Poets prank was really a protest of D.C. poetry scene

By Maggie Fazeli Fard

busboys.jpg

When a cardboard cutout of Langston Hughes went missing from Busboys & Poets last week, many dismissed the incident as a prank and waited for the life-size photo's safe return. But not Thomas Sayers Ellis.

Sayers, a D.C. native and assistant professor of creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College, admitted to The Post's Reliable Source that, yes, he swiped the cutout. Sayers said he took it to protest Busboys & Poets - and the fact that the restaurant unfairly profits by serving as a performance venue for local poets.

"You would think that an establishment that makes as much money as Busboys would have set in place a reading series with a respectful pay scale for writers," Sayers said, adding that the literary community can't tell if Busboys & Poets is one of the "good guys or the bad guys."

For the full story: Poet says his heist of cardboard Langston Hughes was a literary protest of Busboys & Poets, Feb. 9

Previous: Annals of poetic justice: Busboys & Poets seeks missing Langston Hughes cardboard cutout, Feb. 8

More Busboys controversy: Restaurant criticized for Che Guevara, Lenin posters, Nov. 9, 2009

By Maggie Fazeli Fard  | February 9, 2011; 12:16 PM ET
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