"In America, black children don’t get to be children" from Washington Post

 Stacey Patton, reporter at Chronicle of Higher Education, has a stark, must-read opinion piece at Washington Post. An excerpt:
When black parents read about the killings of Jordan DavisDarius Simmons,Trayvon MartinMichael BrownAiyana Stanley-JonesRenisha McBride and so many others, they are forced to instill fear in their children — warning them about the dangers of white people and the police. Such words of caution are not enough to overcome the centuries of attitudes toward and policies behind white killing of black children.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/in-america-black-children-dont-get-to-be-children/2014/11/26/a9e24756-74ee-11e4-a755-e32227229e7b_story.html 

"Parents call the cops on teens distributing a banned book" story from Good Reader


Sherman Alexie's book "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" was banned from the curriculum in Idaho town. Students and an indie book store raised enough money to give away 350 copies of the books, for all the 10th graders who were no longer allowed to read it. Then the parents who lobbied for the banning of the book called the police, who didn't udnerstand why they were called and let the give away proceed.

http://goodereader.com/blog/bookselling-3/parents-call-the-cops-on-teens-distributing-a-banned-book

In Case You Missed It: Google Maps Tracks Santa's Progress on Christmas Eve


So, next year, tune in to Google maps on Christmas Eve and you can find out where Santa is. When I happened to check, he was in Puerto Rico. Feliz Navidad!

Really Love This: "50 Reasons Not To Date A Poet"


9. They collect obscure words that have not been in circulation for at least 100 years or more. 
10. They insert these antediluvian words into conversations just to rebel.

http://bettygeneric.com/2013/06/06/50-reasons-not-to-date-a-poet/

UN Workers "Horrified' at Gender Inequality in the US

"The lack of accommodation in the workplace to women's pregnancy, birth and post-natal needs is shocking," Raday said. "Unthinkable in any society, and certainly one of the richest societies in the world." 

The full article is illuminating: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/foreign-women-assess-us-gender-equality_566ef77de4b0e292150e92f0

Afghanistan, Bridal Virginity, "Honor" Killings and Abuse

From "Radio Free Europe"

http://www.rferl.mobi/a/afghanistan-virgin-brides-punishment/27409971.html

What we do to women in the name of religious laws governing sexuality enrages me.

To read: "Raw meat, live sex and snakes: the dangerous art of Carolee Schneemann"


At the Guardian.  I love  features on paradigm shifters.

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/dec/15/carolee-schneemann-kim-kardashian-raw-meat-live-sex-snakes-gorgeous-dangerous-art

Drew Magary's "The 2015 Hater’s Guide To The Williams-Sonoma Catalog"

The annual "Hater's Guide to the William Sonoma Catalog" is out and it's a rife with sarcasm and hilarity as ever. Please enjoy this fine piece of annual literature.

I have always wanted to, in supplment to this hater's guide, go through the catalog and get it's counterpart from Dollar Tree. I think that would be hilarious.

Read the whole thing at Adequate Man on Dead Spin.

http://adequateman.deadspin.com/the-2015-hater-s-guide-to-the-williams-sonoma-catalog-1746862116

bell hooks interview at NYT

On the reading list:

http://nyti.ms/1XYuz9N

Toxic Workers Cost Firms Twice as Much as a Superstar Workers

"At some point in our careers, most of us have come across someone known as a “toxic worker,” a colleague or boss whose abrasive style or devious actions can make the workday utterly miserable. Such people hurt morale, stoke conflict in the office, and harm a company’s reputation...toxic workers are so damaging to the bottom line that avoiding them or rooting them out delivers twice the value to a company that hiring a superstar performer does."

I'm sure you've experienced this. I definitely have, do, live with this typ of thing all the time. What to do about it if you're one of the powerless co-workers, though, is what we have to deal with. Most of the time it's just "move on to a new place" but that's tough, especially in a rough job market.

Read the full article: http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2015/11/those-toxic-co-workers/?utm

The Science of Chocolate Chip Cookie Baking

To lighten the load of a week frought with heaviness, here's a delicious article about chocolate chip cookie baking.


Also, bonus info, the Massachusetts State Cookie is the Chocolate Chip Cookie:

Massachusetts State Cookie: Chocolate Chip Cookie

The Chocolate Chip Cookie was designated the official cookie of the Commonwealth on July 9, 1997. A third grade class from Somerset proposed the bill to honor the cookie invented in 1930 at the Toll House Inn and restaurant in Whitman.

Rebellion and Social Dissent meets Glamor and Pagaentry with Miss World Canada

Miss World Canada is barred from entering the competition for Miss World this year in China. She was born in China and is an activist against China's terrible human right's record.

"She has used every platform available to her to raise public awareness of China’s harrowing human rights record — portraying victims of Chinese corruption and repression in award-winning films, describing in broadcast interviews and newspaper essays what China does to its dissenters, and even testifying on the subject before a congressional committee."

Read more of the story here: https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/editorials/2015/11/29/the-beauty-queen-that-china-determined-stifle/SOUUpLh9NAg3kSfTegtxzM/story.html

Education, Race, Teachers, Students & "The Hive Society"

This is a great feature in the Washington Post about a 5th grade teacher in Austin, TX, Emily E. Smith. Her acceptance speech for the Donald H. Graves Excellence in Teaching Writing is excerpted int eh feature. The passage that made my jaw drop, and is particularly relevant for me and my colleagues and many friends in education, was this:

Roughly 80 percent of teachers in the United States today are white. Yet the population of our students is a palette. That means America’s children of color will, for the majority of their school years, not have a teacher who is a reflection of their own image. Most of their school life they will be told what to do and how to do it by someone who is white, and most likely female. Except for a few themed weeks, America’s children of color will read books, watch videos, analyze documents and study historical figures who are also not in their image.
Full story:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2015/11/24/teacher-a-student-told-me-i-couldnt-understand-because-i-was-a-white-lady-heres-what-i-did-then/

Ms. Smith's Website:
http://hivesociety.weebly.com/ 

Hillary Clinton Speech at the Council on Foreign Relations 11/19/15

Hillary gave a speech outlining her policy on defeating Daesh and jihadism in the Middle East and its reach beyond. It's a comprehensive, clear but nuanced articulation of her solution to facing this crisis. The speech she gave was about a half hour long. If you have the time, I'd watch it.

http://www.c-span.org/video/?c4561555

For me, it was calming, in a way. There is so much nasty, jingoistic rhetoric from Republicans and just incomprehnsible unfocused from leading Democrats, that I needed this intelligent anchor from someone to help see the whole storm clearly. Frankly, for the first time in a while, I was feeling disappointed in the President. I'm a huge Obama supporter, but the reaction to Daesh and what is happening in Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, and France wasn't urgent enough for my expectations. Hillary's speech layed everything out and offered a solution. Not that what she proposes sounds easy, but that she had a purpose and vision, especially far more practical and plausible than "I would bomb the shit out of them," was a relief.

Anatomy of a Bookworm via BuzzFeed

I still haven't received my Hogwarts letter. Some day. Some day.

James Blake - The Wilhelm Scream (that song from the end of the Season 1 from HBO's "Togetherness")


I binge watched HBO's TV series "Togetherness" this past weekend. I cannot get that song from the season finale out of my head. It is so beautifully haunting. The lyrics are very spare but the music itself is very complex and so the song is very evocative and emotional. I recommend both the show, which is quirky and honest and fun and sad all at once, and James Blake.


Claudia Rankine's CITIZEN at Donald Trump's Springfield, IL Rally, As Seen on Rachel Maddow

Hey! WATCH THIS STORY!
Worlds collide: Reading poetry at a Donald Trump rally
Johari Osayi Idusuyi, who received internet acclaim when she was seen on camera reading Claudia Rankine's “Citizen: An American Lyric,” a book of poetry about race, at a Donald Trump rally, talks with Rachel Maddow about what happened in the seats behind the Republican front-runner. 
http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow/watch/worlds-collide--poetry-at-a-trump-rally-565905475573

And if my sister and my sister-in-law aren't already friends with this lady in the video (as they are residents of Springfield as well), they need to find her make friends!

Claudia Rankine's book is on my list of "To Read" -- you can get a copy at the Graywolf Press publishing website, or on Amazon.


Not Smart

I just want to mention that I went on a date once with a guy who, after I mentioned Emily Dickinson was a favorite poet of mine, replied, "Yeah, no. She was a smart girl," nod nod nod so very expertly, "she was."

We never had a second date. It was definitely because of that.

From the Woodberry Poetry Room - ODE TO THE INSTRUMENT: Liner Notes for a John Wieners’ Recording



"...In conjunction with last week’s Oral History Initiative: On John Wieners, the Woodberry Poetry Room digitized a previously uncataloged disc (likely Wieners’ first recording) made at Fassett Studio in Beacon Hill in March 1962. For access to the entire recording, visit the Poetry Room’s Listening Booth. We also invited Robert Dewhurst, the emcee of our oral history, to reflect on one of the poems in the recording…."
Full story and recording (!!!) at: http://woodberrypoetryroom.com/?p=2127

2001 interview with #ToriAmos


This is what happens when you find a new one (see previous post); immediately there's another link to an old one you haven't seen and -poof!- down the rabbit hole you go. Haha. Well. This one was fascinating; especially talking about the Eminem song, "97 Bonnie & Clyde", which she did a version of (so so soooo creppy) on Strange Little Girls.

#ToriAmos on MSNBC's "So Popular" with Janet Mock

#earswithfeet Have you picked up your "The Light Princess" yet? I have, but--confession--have not yet hunkered down for a good beginning to end listen. Here is Tori promoting the Original Cast Recording of her musical "The Light Princess." She discusses sexulaity, adolescence, sexual assualt and growing pains. As well as her career and music.

John Wiener's in the New Yorker

The New Yorker has a feature article on John Wieners and John Updike.
The connection is that they're both Boston poets who were contemporaries.

The review itself of John Wieners has ruffled some feathers. (Including mine.) Why the objection? I'm not quite sure. I guess its nuanced. John Wieners is described as a "lapsed Catholic." This irks me to no end. He was culturally Catholic, like so many of us in the Boston area. But he didn't lapse away from Catholicism. He just wasn't -- and nobody better EVER classify me as a LAPSED Catholic. I am a person who was raised Catholic and then found my real faith once I was out from under the faith's oppression. I'd suspect Wiener's would prefer the same differentiation. Lapsed makes it seems like you might go back, non-practicing, passively letting it go. Oh no, Chiasson. Oh no, world. We deliberately left, thank you.

Of course when I show friends who say "I'm not really into poetry" that line about the Fiedler overpass footbridge, they're like, "well, hello--maybe I DO like poetry." But there's something about it being the featured line in this review that irritates me. I show it to guy friends because it's provocative and they're not much into reading literature, so I'm showing them where literarture can go.

Anyway, the thing about the review that was so annoying overall was the "other"-ness projected on Wieners. As opposed to how I think of him, which is the center of things. Reading his poetry made my work make more sense to me. There was a heritage there. Chiasson looked at his work from a different place far less reverent and the spirit is imbibed (to use a Wieners phrase) thusly.

Do you know what this is reminding me of? The later 90s, when Alt Rock became mainstream. Everything I was so cool to have early adopted in the early 90s as a young teenager, suddenly got commodified, consumed and commercialized in a far less edgy, meaningful way. Now my favorite poet is receiving more mainstream attention and the attention, from the mainstream, is taking away what is significant and special and turning it into a little side show.

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/11/02/boston-boys

My whole collection of posts about John Wieners:

http://bridgeteileen-commonplacebook.blogspot.com/search/label/John%20Wieners

Boys for Pele - from The Guardian

Mmm, love thorough articles that analyze Tori things. So beautiful.

http://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2015/oct/13/tori-amos-boys-for-pele-album-331-3-books-series-shortlist-20

New Books for October 2015


These are the book purchases of a person who has definitely been binge listening to every Savage Lovecast since the show began in 2008. Admittedly, it was hearing about Sex at Dawn on TED Radio Hour on public radio that lead me to Christopher Ryan's podcast which lead me to Dan Savage's. And admittedly, I had both Zealot and Sex at Dawn borrowed from the library for a million year, so it was about time I got my own copies. 

#ActualAsianPoets - a compendium spotlight from Literary Hub

In reponse to a bunch of stuff, the most cringeworthy being the reprehensible yellowface in the recent edition of Best American Poetry, to most noteworthy being the publication (and prescience!) of Cathy Park Hong's "Delusions of Whiteness in the Avant Garde", Adam  Fitzgerald of Literary Hub gathered and posted this feature on Actual Asian Poets, "a celebration of Asisn and Asian American Poets."

http://lithub.com/actual-asian-poets/


Top Ten Signs You're Middle-Aged

This was fantastic!

Avoiding Aggressive Baby Gendering: Halloween Costumes Errry Day

So funny. Except I love pink and bows! But I think they belong on everyone and everythings: men, boys, puppies, ladies, baby girls, cars, whatevs.

Everything is Awesome because Emily Dickinson Tarot Cards Exist

 Emily Dickinson Tarot Cards

Man, if I didn't have a wedding half way across the country to be in, this is one item I'd spend my play money on for certain. As it is, I am saving for the upcoming nuptuals of my sister. If you have extra money you want to spend on something awesome, these Emily Dickinson Tarot Cards from Factory Hollow Press are a dream come true. Note: you can get them for me for Christmas Solstice and I will be your BFF.

http://www.factoryhollowpress.com/books/the-emily-dickinson-tarot-deck

"Conversations" - a new series at The Critical Flame

From the CF newsletter description:

"Too many author interviews focus on writing habits, lifestyle, the industry. We know a hell of a lot more about the mess on a writers' desk and the way they found an agent than we do about their ethics, their passions, their obsessions. That's a problem we aim to address."
Read the first installment with Molly Gaudry and Kristina Marie Darling at:
http://criticalflame.org/conversations-molly-gaudry-and-kristina-marie-darling/

Charlie Pierce Theorizes the Pope's Meeting with Kim Davis Was a Conspiracy

I think because liberal Catholics of New England want to believe that this pope DGAF about gay marriage or any of the other hot button issues for the uber sex negative (but we all know secretly insanely kinky, in all likelihood) cardinals leftover from the John Paul II/ Ratzinger days. But whether your pope takes the name of the Best Hippie in History and espouses charity and love, the Church still has its Thomistic/Augustinian Doctrine which espouses that sex should be strictly for procreative reasons only and therefore 2nd & 3rd base, bum stuff, and sex between the infertile is all very very very evil. There's no getting out of that mindset, liberal Catholics, except to not be Catholic anymore. Sorry, kids: it's standard issue.

Anyway, read his story of papal/ Vatican mystery and intrigue at: http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/news/a38440/pope-francis-swindled-kim-davis-meeting/

#Free Performance: Mendelssohn and & Shakespeare's #AMidsummerNightsDream #HatchShell

At the end of the summer, the Landmark Orchestra & Commonwealth Shakespeare Company paired together for a really amazing performance at the Esplanade. The Landmark Orchestra does a bunch of free performances at the Hatch Shell during the summer. This one was particularly awesome because it was paired with the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company. We are so lucky to have such great opportunities for free and really fantastic art performances in this great city of ours!
This was my picnic lunch that I bought at the well-stocked CVS on Boylston St.
The actors, musicians and ASL interpretors were all bar-none.
And the moon looked so pleasantly Shakespearean fantasy.
People in the park doing yoga. Very cool.

Intelligent Women

From "Sex+ Self Love Thursday"

Follow this page on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/sexpositiveselflove

Women: Live Free or Die


http://klebesadel.com/2013/09/06/the-exquisite-uterus-project-the-art-of-resistance/

"Tone Argument" and the Heart of the Matter

Recently I was having a tense discussion about a very traumatic experience with the perpetrator of the trauma. That person pointed out that I was "yelling" and they were "calm" as if what I had to say was not important or was somehow dismissable because of my tone versus theirs. I shot right back with an acknowledgement and a confirmation, "Of course I'm emotional and not calm. It was an emotion and very traumatic thing to go through." What the other person in the argument was trying to do to me was what is called a "Tone Argument." It's defined in terms of feminist rhetoric at Geek Feminism Wiki. But it applies to many different cases.

"...the tone of a statement is independent of the content of the statement in question, and calling attention to it distracts from the issue at hand..."

I like these two epigraphs to the entry:

"Just because you sound polite, doesn't mean your words aren't hurtful. Just because you sound acerbic, doesn't mean your words aren't kind." -- Comrade Squinky

"If you tread on someone's toes, and they tell you to get off, then get off their toes. Don't tell them to 'ask nicely'." -- Geeksophical

2 Years Ago Today - The Fox's Fevered Pitch


Since this is in my head, it's important I give you this earworm again, too. Two years ago on Sep 3 the wild and wacky hit "What Does the Fox Say?" went viral. Right about now the fevered pitch was brewing. Just thought I'd remind you of this phenomenon, which has now received over 540 million hits since its release. 

Googling "Random Shit"

Will get you to a results page with "RandomShit.com" as the top hit. Which I clicked. Then you press the red button on the site and it picks a random URL from the internet. I did it a few times, and then it brought me to this comic:

http://explosm.net/comics/1740/

Good times. Good times.

September 11th

Here's a good Grace Potter & the Nocturnals song in honor of her National Anthem Performance at least night's Patriot's NFL season opener. And a good, gracefully sentimental song for the people we remember today.

More Idiocracy within Poetry - Carol Muske-Dukes Dumb Follow-Up to Kate Gale's Dumb Thing

=giant sigh= STOP BEING MORONS

Anyway who threatened violence against someon is of course wrong. But legitimate outrage over that ridiculous piece of Gale's is completely acceptable. Don't lump the extreme s in with the reasonably concerned.

There's no excuse for idiotic attempts to justify legitimate criticism and critique of race, gender, and other diversity issues within the institution of writer-hood, especially in publishing and AWP. So! Stop acting and asserting otherwise. It's maddeningly ignorant.

Carol Muske-Dukes doesn't think so. So she blathereed some idiotic things on HuffPo.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carol-muskedukes/gale-force_b_8101576.html

The better thing is everyone's exasperated reaction, though. It's dumb and almost Theater of the Absurd at this point. Except for the fact that this mindset has real-world truly detrimental reverberations. =giant sigh=

Follow-up: This EXCELLENT reply in the comments section needs to be preserved for posterity. Thanks Alyss Dixon!

Alyss DixsonThis is a hash of ideas regarding what it means to be a member of a dynamic heterogenous community. You've managed to confuse actual adults with a concern about those holding authority in a major professional conference with academic policies enforced in various ways across a diverse pool of universities and colleges. None which have anything to do with Kate Gale who is neither a comedian nor an academic. 
1) Free Speech refers to the constitutional right of a press to publish without interference from the State. No one condemning Gale's statement has the Federal or State authority to prevent her from publishing. Making abhorrent statements that are rejected by your intended audience and the people you purport to advocate for, however, can and should be openly discussed by same. It's actually a suppression of freedom of opinion to condemn this. 

2) "PC" and many of the other terms and references you use are relics of culture wars propogated by Newt Gingrich, et al. during their battle against progressivism. I'm not going to comment on anyone wanting to align themselves with those particular Republicans, however, it would behoove you to perhaps read some current scholarship and cultural commentary. Even "cute Jewish girls", like Sarah Silverman, for instance, have internal bias against other ethnic, social and gender-orientation groups. Shocking, I know. That isn't to say that there can't be common ground, conflict resolution or understanding, but it is to say that those things aren't going to be found at the end of the barrel of offense. You don't get to shoot first and duck questions later. 

3) The Atlantic has its own problematic relationship with diversity and inclusiveness. Please check out their VIDA Count statistics. 

4) Please research the diverse strategies people use in rhetorical arguments and civil rights movements. By conflating those who use violent language with ISIS (which is a particular brand of hysterical White fear rampant in the more parochial reaches of the internet) and with the legitimate concerns and critiques of the many other commenters about Gale's statement, you reveal your own lack of nuance and understanding of the issues at play here. This is precisely the sort of unsophisticated response that reinforces group bias and bigotry: by creating a faceless, savage, unreasonable, irrational "them" the in-group can rally around a shared set of values, dismiss critique and devalue the harm that has been done. 

The best way to move forward on this issue is to stop debating whether or not Gale had the "right" to freely express herself: she does, did and will continue to enjoy that under our Constitution. As do her detractors. What's at issue is what happens next. How do we create an inclusive community that can recover from these missteps? It's not by sending out agents to strong-arm, threaten or dismiss. That's how you draw battle lines. It's not by tossing out incendiary rhetoric full of hyperbolic jingoism. Those are fighting words. Whatever urge, phone call, emotional appeal or other sense of duty and mission sent you out here on this slender branch of a blog post to malign an entire community response while defending the indefenisble (as evidence by Gale's own retraction and subsequent responses), please redirect that energy to community building. That's the fight we need.

2) "PC" and many of the other terms and references you use are relics of culture wars propogated by Newt Gingrich, et al. during their battle against progressivism. I'm not going to comment on anyone wanting to align themselves with those particular Republicans, however, it would behoove you to perhaps read some current scholarship and cultural commentary. Even "cute Jewish girls", like Sarah Silverman, for instance, have internal bias against other ethnic, social and gender-orientation groups. Shocking, I know. That isn't to say that there can't be common ground, conflict resolution or understanding, but it is to say that those things aren't going to be found at the end of the barrel of offense. You don't get to shoot first and duck questions later. 
3) The Atlantic has its own problematic relationship with diversity and inclusiveness. Please check out their VIDA Count statistics. 
4) Please research the diverse strategies people use in rhetorical arguments and civil rights movements. By conflating those who use violent language with ISIS (which is a particular brand of hysterical White fear rampant in the more parochial reaches of the internet) and with the legitimate concerns and critiques of the many other commenters about Gale's statement, you reveal your own lack of nuance and understanding of the issues at play here. This is precisely the sort of unsophisticated response that reinforces group bias and bigotry: by creating a faceless, savage, unreasonable, irrational "them" the in-group can rally around a shared set of values, dismiss critique and devalue the harm that has been done. 
The best way to move forward on this issue is to stop debating whether or not Gale had the "right" to freely express herself: she does, did and will continue to enjoy that under our Constitution. As do her detractors. What's at issue is what happens next. How do we create an inclusive community that can recover from these missteps? It's not by sending out agents to strong-arm, threaten or dismiss. That's how you draw battle lines. It's not by tossing out incendiary rhetoric full of hyperbolic jingoism. Those are fighting words. Whatever urge, phone call, emotional appeal or other sense of duty and mission sent you out here on this slender branch of a blog post to malign an entire community response while defending the indefenisble (as evidence by Gale's own retraction and subsequent responses), please redirect that energy to community building. That's the fight we need.

Cooperation and Success #TEDTalk with #YvesMorieux

"We pay more attention on knowing who to blame in case we fail than in crating the conditions to succeed."

How too many rules at work keep you from getting things done

https://www.ted.com/talks/yves_morieux_how_too_many_rules_at_work_keep_you_from_getting_things_done


The Reality Behind So-Called Devils' Advocacy against Feminism, from "Everyday Feminism"

4 Things Men Are Really Doing When They ‘Play Devil’s Advocate’ Against Feminism, by Melissa Fabello

1. You’re Regurgitating (And Reinforcing) the Common Status Quo
2. You’re Disrespecting Our Critical Thinking Skills
3. You’re Positioning Your Thoughts As More Valuable Than Our Lived Experiences
4. You’re Shutting Down a Conversation Instead of Adding to It

Full story, very good, at:
http://everydayfeminism.com/2015/09/playing-devils-advocate/

A Big Beautifully Long Piece on John Wieners in current issue of "The Critical Flame"

Daniel Evans Pritchard is part of what I've dubbed "The South Shore Cult of John Wieners." As such his publication "The Critical Fame" has a featured piece by Nat Raha on John Wieners.

http://criticalflame.org/a-queer-excess-the-supplication-of-john-wieners/

Looking forward to reading this later today! Thanks Nat and Daniel!

What was in the newspaper on Sep 10, 2001?

Just out of curiosity, I looked through the headlines of the Boston Globe from Sept 10, 2001. What did we think about and write about and care about before the following fateful day? Some people had their pulse on the impending doom:

DOES GEORGE W. BUSH APPRECIATE WHAT FIRE HE IS PLAYING WITH WHEN HE STIRS UP THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT? IT IS ALMOST AS IF WE ARE ON THE ROAD TO RELIGIOUS WAR. In so many corners of the globe, people are brutalizing their neighbors because each is convinced that he has a direct pipeline to the true deity, while the outsider is a dangerous infidel.
Whether in the Middle East, or Ireland, Iran or Afghanistan, state- fomented religious intolerance is the great blight on the right of ordinary people to live as they choose, as well as a grave threat to the peace. (Kuttner, Robert. "BUSH IS PLAYING WITH RELIGIOUS FIRE." Boston Globe Sep 10 2001. ProQuest. Web. 3 Sep. 2015.)
I remember I had recently watched an episode of Frontline about bin Laden, so when we were told of the news at my new job as an assistant 3rd grade teacher, apparently the first thing I said in the break room with the other faculty was, "I bet it's Osama bin Laden." I don't subscribe to the inside job conspiracy theory, but I do think we could have and should have been expecting it, unfortunately.

Coulda woulda shoulda -- it happened. In addition to the wars and tumulty to follow, what did it make us forget about? Shondra Levy, Elian Gonzalez, Bush V. Gore and the stolen election...

Kesha (AKA Ke$ha)'s Rape Case & its lack of headlining news

She was raped by her manager and mentor and no one is really talking about the case. Why? More at:


LA Times on Mansplaining "Men who explain things"

If don't know what "mansplaining" is, the LA Times opinion piece is quite illustrative.

http://articles.latimes.com/2008/apr/13/opinion/op-solnit13

The "Kate Gale" Thing (=Cringe=)

First off: it's just a bunch of bullshit that AWP, publishing and the realm of the literary arts (and the greater world) are systemically blatently or latently bigoted--against gender, sexual orientation, sexuality, religion, race, nationality and ethnicity. Period. I'm grateful to every voice who speaks up, calls out, and tries to do something, by whatever means they feel they can.

Now, I want to talk about this particular issue of the much needed shake up we're experiencing to jostle our complacency and improve our community. I've met Kate Gale. She gave a talk at my grad school. I took notes and made a little blog site out of it. It was "How to Be a Publishable Poet." It was a frank, informative talk. I liked the advice. That was many years ago. I haven't ever said more than "Hello" to her. I have one book in my collection of poetry from Red Hen Press.

Her actions and reactions to the response from others, about her really really shitty stupid ignorant post on HuffPo, defending AWP and its infamous lack of diversity, was like watching the worst, most embarassing moment on "Curb Your Enthusiasm" with the added gag reflex and burning hatred one feels when Ann Coulter introduces Donald Trump. Why why WHY are people expending energy defending a lack of diversity in any given forum? Well the answer is obviously because in their core they're bigoted, despite giving lip service to liberal views. So I guess my question is, "Why why WHY can't people see how bigoted they are and straighten the hell up?!" If only.

Anyway, I just wanted to document some of what has come of the saga. The original offending post has been removed but Publishers Weekly kept a screen shot of it, which I'm posting below. Here are other links regarding the issue.

Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo: "Kate Gale, Red Hen, and What Poetry and Community Means to Me"
https://xochitljulisa.wordpress.com/2015/08/28/kate-gale-red-hen-and-what-poetry-and-community-means-to-me/ 
LA Times article
http://www.latimes.com/books/jacketcopy/la-et-jc-diversity-at-awp-20150826-htmlstory.html 
Publisher's Weekly Story
http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/trade-shows-events/article/67901-charges-of-discrimination-lack-of-diversity-leveled-against-awp.html 
Inside Higher Ed
https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/08/26/article-defending-writing-program-association-infuriates-many-its-members 
Adroit Journal Open Letter to Kate Gale - this one is the best response I've read because it points out Gale's errors while demonstrating how they illuminate the bigger problems at hand " ...intolerance is silencing the voices of whole communities, omitting the telling of so many stories because of the intensely subjective, largely flawed process that is AWP panel selection..."
http://www.theadroitjournal.org/blog/2015/8/25/letter-to-kate-gale-of-awp-is-us 
Kate Gale's Updated post, removing original article and posting an apology instead
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kate-gale/awp-is-us_b_8029224.html 
Kate Gale's open letter with further apology
https://kategale.wordpress.com/2015/08/27/hello-to-you-community-of-readers-writers-and-beyond/
The screen shot of the original piece:




Hmmm...Disturbing

A bunch of stuff controversy, misogynyn, speech and threats in poetry and writing. I'll leave the links here, because I don't have time to read through everything right now, but want to note it all.

UPDATE: I've read what I need to and it's just gross. I hate icky people. Thank you to the empowered voices of the world though for speaking up and for standing your ground.

http://static1.1.sqspcdn.com/static/f/64978/25752913/1418131754047/CERTA_Juliet.pdf?token=VJcYNC1y%2BOj2c%2Bi6M9nsLFKmC3A%3D

https://twitter.com/sarahxerta

https://twitter.com/dreamingauze/status/635840356236464128

https://www.facebook.com/rwilliam.barnes.5/posts/410100242519180

http://jaysizemore.com/regarding-scowl-and-reader-response/

http://christophpaulauthor.com/2015/08/republishing-art-made-from-ashes-a-message-to-isis/

http://jaysizemore.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Scowl.pdf

#LaughingWhileBlack The Black Ladies' Book Club Who Got Kicked Off the Train - a wonderfully satirical take on a truly stupid event

I am so so so very incensed that this happened to these women--who, honestly, I want to be friends with really really badly -- because books+wines+laughing= I'm in. This story literally make me scoff, shudder and look aghast all at once. I want to slap the racist snooty complainers AND the racist snooty wine tour people so very hard, in a metaphorical way and for real.

Anyway, instead I choose to read and laugh. Like these awesome ladies. Over at VerySmartBrothas.com, a hiliarious piece on the incident:

http://verysmartbrothas.com/getting-kicked-off-a-wine-tour-for-laughingwhileblack-is-the-blackest-thing-that-ever-happened-this-week/

On Literary Activism

The topic of literary activism, on "Poetry Foundation:

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/harriet/2015/08/what-is-literary-activism/

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/harriet/2015/08/responding-to-what-is-literary-activism/

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/harriet/2015/08/a-response-from-the-writers-of-what-is-literary-activism/

BCG "Midnight at the Midway" at Oberon in Cambridge - Last Night Tonight (8/27/15)


I did a bunch of Instagramming for the Boston Circus Guild's "Midnight at Midway" show at Club Oberon in Cambridge. I'll be back to it again tonight, for the final show. If you haven't seen it, go for your last chance tonight!




I'm Reading My Poetry for the "Mr Hip Presents: Reading Series" at UForge Gallery in JP on Sat Aug 29


Join Mr. Hip Presents, one of Boston’s most interactive and engaging poetry reading series at UFORGE Gallery. An evening infused with art, poetry/spoken word and music hosted by Donald Vincent a.k.a. (@Mr_Hip) and some of the hippest folks in the biz!

THE LINE UP…

Afaa M. Weaver
Megan Fernandes
Suzanne Mercury
Jessie Brown
Tom Daley
Bridget Eileen
Christian Rees (Virtual)


UFORGE Gallery
767 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain, MA
6:00 – 8:30 PM
($10 admission) free for the kiddies.
All are welcome.


SPORT A BOWTIE, SAVE $2!!!

From UCP: "Jane Austen's Names: RIDDLES, PERSONS, PLACES"

"In Jane Austen’s Names, Margaret Doody offers a fascinating and comprehensive study of all the names of people and places—real and imaginary—in Austen’s fiction.

http://bit.ly/1NSKFZz

Another for the "to read" list! Looking forward to it.

#NewOrleans Poems

Just before the five year anniversary of #HurricaneKatrina, my mother moved to NOLA. I helped her move herself down there. She's been there for five years now. This Sunday is the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina touching land. It struck New Orkeans and created disaster on August 29. I go to New Orleans at least once a year, often for almost two weeks. Since I am a poet, I often find myself incorporating this sister city of mine, now that its been adopted by my mother.

Prayer to New Orleans

Help me VooDoo City
help me hurricane ghost winds
blighted streets, mossy trees
patchy trunk myrtles, burdocks, irises
purple green and yellow decorations
Ash Wednesday

For forty days I give up

Giving in to my addiction to escaping
The present for hope of the past
I will hope for the future

I will really love myself
I will really believe
I deserve it all

Live that life
See what comes of it


this isn't how I wanted to feel tonight

oh lady of unrequited love
you malingerer, you harlot
you card, you character, caricature

I'm surrendering to the moon
I'm going to talk about
Uncomfortable things
Like what the floozy wants

This restlessness, this anxiety

Now I am a lady with a feather in her hair
Dry lips and bangs falling in her face
It's black outside and so very snapping cold
No one is around to woo me or charm me or care
And while it is some comfort that the wrong person
Is not here either, still there is no one
Still still an empty restless night


Spell for Detaching

start with a shoehorn
run away from the bridge
catch your breath then
walk along the beach in early spring

it’s frigid but you can think of
what you will do with the rest of your life
what loops you’ll occasion to touch

the sweetness of a bouquet of spices
the trumpets, trombones, multiple ones
impressive and blowing the room away
surprising us all and off we are under a moon
the lights twinkling and who would have thought
of all the places to go the one with you in the corner
was where it all began