Thanks to the work of many committed activists, this administration has supposedly ended the policy of separating children from their parents as they search for safety.
It has been difficult even to read about five year old children locked in cages without toys or books, older kids who learned in jail how to change younger children’s diapers, and how detention workers have been forbidden from hugging or comforting small children. Such separation is the work of dehumanization.
Adrienne Rich famously wrote, “poetry/isn’t revolution but a way of knowing/why it must come.” It doesn’t seem these days, though, like we need poetry to remind us.
The U.S. is leaving the UN Human Rights Council, and yesterday, there was news of the president of the United States throwing candy at a woman head of state. The symbolism of this gesture is troubling, to say the least.
As writers, it is our work to be vigilant, to be witnesses, to be observers and documentarians, and to speak. It is our work to map the myriad ways we are connected to social issues, no matter how much the machine seeks to obfuscate the intimate ways in which we are all connected.
I do believe in the power of language and the power of books. These are tools we can use.
Those in power know that the more they physically separate people, the easier it is for them to deny a group’s humanity.
I do believe that words are one way, sometimes, that some of us can connect. With all that said, here are some links:
Poet Eloisa Amezcua has organized this fundraiser to benefit The Florence Project which supports detained immigrants in Arizona. There are signed books, manuscript consultations, and more, from some of (in my opinion) the best poets out there.
Whether you can donate time, money, or another resource, looking at this list is a good way to begin.
Alexander Chee seems to be everywhere recently, and for good reason. He and his work speak to so many contemporary issues.
This is a really beautiful feminist essay about a writer with chronic illness who is trying hard to be a writer and discovers Etty Hillesum’s work at a critical point in that process. Etty Hillesum was a diarist and writer who was murdered in the Holocaust. Her journals have been published.
These folks contacted me a few weeks ago and I think they have an interesting idea here. The idea is to group poems into “playlists” which are sent out each week to a group of subscribers. Isn’t “playlist” just another word for “collection” or “folio”? Perhaps, but I am all for genre-blurring.
Full disclosure, Risa is part of Headmistress Press, my publisher. That being said, I think that even if she was not, I would be sharing this link. It’s such a good reminder about how our local poetry communities can sustain and motivate us.
There are usually some gems in Mobius, and the most recent issue of this Madison, Wisconsin-based magazine is no exception.
Two folks from my MFA program (T.C. Jones and Jonathan Duckworth) have pieces in this issue, and yes, I am shamelessly promoting it. That being said, there’s a lot worth checking out in Cleaver overall.
Are you a Latinx/Latina/Latino writer who is reading this before September 1st, 2018? The Florida Review has a new call for submissions that you might be interested in.
I always like to say that every lesbian is “trailblazing,” yet I know what this headline is getting at. I haven’t had the chance to check out this book yet, but it looks great.