Sunday, July 26, 2020

Thought for the Day

[...] every day is a doorway
every moment is the world revealing itself. [...]
~ Lisa Creech Bledsoe


Quoted from Lisa Creech Bledsoe, "Great Bear" at SWWIM, June 10, 2020

Lisa Creech Bledsoe, Poet and Writer, Author of the Collections Appalachian Ground (2019) and Wolf Laundry (2020)

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Thought for the Day

. . . You may have to break
your heart, but it isn't nothing
to know even one moment alive. . . .
~ Ellen Bass

Quoted from Ellen Bass, "Any Common Desolation" in Indigo (Copper Canyon Press, April 2020), page 62

Ellen Bass, Award-Winning Poet, Editor, Nonfiction Writer; Chancellor, Academy of American Poets

Thursday, July 16, 2020

New Artist Watch Feature at Escape Into Life

Adrienne Stein, Strawberry Moon, 2019
Oil on Linen
7.5" x 9"

Copyright © Adrienne Stein


I am delighted to showcase the work of painter Adrienne Stein in my new Artist Watch column in the online international arts magazine Escape Into Life

An award-winning artist who lives and works in Pennsylvania, Adrienne reanimates historical painting genres with fresh insight and symbolic imagery. Inhabited by figures, folklore, archetypes, and natural elements, the worlds she paints are fueled by a sense of personal and universal myth and reinterpreted in lush, magical environments.

Today's Artist Watch spotlights eight of Adrienne's beautiful paintings and includes an Artist Statement and brief profile, as well as links to Adrienne's Website and social media.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Thought for the Day

What does it mean to write poetry in a world where
metaphors are weaponized, and people erased in them?
~ Philip Metres

Quoted from Philip Metres, "Of Seeing, the Unseen, and  the Unseeable: Technology, Poetry and 'When It Rains in Gaza'" (Sec. 10), New Ohio Review, June 11, 2018

Philip Metres, Award-Winning Poet and Translator; Professor of English and director, Peace, Justice, and Human Rights program, John Carroll University (Metres's most recent book is Shrapnel Maps (Copper Canyon Press, April 2020).)

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Musings in a Time of Crisis XXXIV

Fatal Celebration (July 3-5)

      In memory of 9 children lost to gun violence
          on Independence Day Weekend, 2020

They were six
and seven, sometimes

as young
as four, sometimes

as old as eleven
two were
two were seven
two six  two eight

the one just four, well
here our eyes land
and do not move

If you ask where
they came from
I could answer
Everywhere but

that would be wrong
We know today
they numbered nine
Let us name them
and if not, then

their play places:
Atlanta; Avon, Indiana;
Chicago; Columbia,
Missouri; Galivants
Ferry, South Carolina;

Hoover, Alabama;
San Francisco
Washington, D.C.

Lives taken now
noted, new numbers
added to archives
to help us remember

they died by gun
on our July 4 weekend

their fatal celebration
lost among the sounds
of bursting rockets

the sparklers held
in their tight little fists
raised against the red glare


Even during this pandemic, the children continue to die. I wish I knew their names, and not their incident numbers.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Musings in a Time of Crisis XXXIII

My greatest fear is that I wake up, and 
our democracy is gone.
~ Congressman John Lewis

[T]here are forces today trying to take us back
to another time and another dark period. We've come so far
and made so much progress, but as a nation and as a people,
we're not quite there yet. We have miles to go.
~ Congressman John Lewis


Directed by Dawn Porter, the newly released documentary John Lewis: Good Trouble (Magnolia Pictures), is now available for streaming nationwide. The film is about one of the most important civil rights leaders in America. Using archival footage and interviews with Lewis and his family as well as those figuring significantly in Lewis's life, it exposes both the issues of the past and present and the inspiring examples of Lewis's civic activism and leadership on such legislative issues as voting rights, civil rights, and gun control.

The documentary's co-producers are Dawn Porter, Erika Alexander, Ben Arnon, and Laura Michalchyshyn.

Here is the film's trailer:

The Hyperallergic article by Eileen G'Sell, "A John Lewis Documentary Probes Tensions Between National and State Power" (July 4, 2020) looks in some detail at the film.


The Washington Post has issued "11 Things to Watch to Better Understand American at This Moment". The article by Bethonie Butler, includes such films as 4 Little Girls, 13th, Do the Right Thing, and I Am Not Your Negro.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Thought for the Day

[W]hat we do to each other is compounded
by what time does to us.
~ Luiza Flynn-Goodlett


Quoted from Luiza Flynn-Goodlett, "The Quiver Inside Each Atom: A Review of Ellen Bass's 'Indigo'" in The Adroit Journal, April 10, 2020 (Online)

Luiza Flynn-Goodlett, Poet, Writer, Critic; Editor-in-Chief, Foglifter (Flynn-Goodlett's most recent collection is the forthcoming Look Alive (Southeast Missouri State University Press, March 2021).)

Ellen Bass, Poet; Chancellor, Academy of American Poets; Nonfiction Writer; Editor; Teacher (Bass's most recent collection is Indigo (Copper Canyon Press, April 2020).)

Saturday, July 4, 2020

The Flag on the Fourth of July (Poem)

The Flag on the Fourth of July

Stars curl
and spiral

this night

O the sight
of all that

and red
and white

all that

all that

all that

My Other July Poem:

Also See:

And if you have time for reflection, listen to Frederick Douglass's "What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?" as delivered by actor Ossie Davis:

"A Nation's Story: 'What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?'" at National Museum of African American History and Culture

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Musings in a Time of Crisis XXXI

We have years of activism under our belts. 
Now we just fight harder, we fight smarter, and we fight as one.
~ Alejandro, Film Subject, The Unafraid

I had an opportunity last night to view online, on Good Docs, the feature-length documentary The Unafraid. Anayansi Prado and Heather Courtney are the co-directors/-producers and cinematographers.

The film follows a small group of DACA youths in Georgia — the storylines of three in particular are narrated — after their high school graduation in 2014. By law, they are shut out of the top five public universities in the state and must pay tuition at the international student level — obstacles none of them can overcome. In the years covered, which end just before 45's election in 2016 and his subsequent attempt to force the deportation of more than 800,000 persons with DACA status (the recent Supreme Court decision on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals came too late to be noted in the film), we see how the young people are impelled to become political activists and how for all three and their families the "American dream" becomes their "American nightmare."

The Unafraid is deeply moving in parts, as it portrays quite well not just the multi-generational struggle to create a better life and future in America, especially but not only in the Deep South, but also what forces those with no money, no education, and no papers to leave their countries for the United States. The sacrifices made are tremendous, and what it means for families to risk everything to come here is wholly unappreciated by policymakers who would rather erect walls than uphold the values this country is supposed to represent. Our cluelessness robs human beings no different from ourselves of so much, from the most basic rights and services that those born here take for granted, to the opportunities to realize better lives for our children, opportunities slow in coming, if at all, to the undocumented.
In addition to showing us the truths about forced migration and its life-changing consequences, the documentary also sharply reveals the racism endemic throughout this country. To be brown means having a life that doesn't matter, if you want to go to college, if you want to make a living that lifts you out of poverty. To be brown means not having the right to believe in the "American dream". To be brown means, in the argot of the film, to be "very afraid" until you become one of "the unafraid" who finds the strength to risk opening a closed door. 
That any one of us might watch this film and not see the wrongs we perpetuate in our government and socioeconomic and cultural policies, as well as through our myth-making, is to be deliberately obtuse and tragically indifferent to the riches that immigrants, undocumented people, asylees, refugees, and DACA recipients offer us.

A virtual discussion of the film for those able to watch it last night takes place this evening on Zoom. I intend to listen and to be part of it.

Here is the film trailer: