From Jezebel: Journalist Who Went Undercover in North Korea Had Her Book Marketed As Eat, Pray, Love-Style Memoir

Suki Kim's Professional Journalistic Undercover Investigation of North Korea was marketed instead as a personal memoir-style story in the vein of Eat, Pray, Love

By casting my book as personal rather than professional—by marketing me as a woman on a journey of self-discovery, rather than a reporter on a groundbreaking assignment—I was effectively being stripped of my expertise on the subject I knew best
More on this sexist outrage at Jezebel:

Jesse Williams's BET Awards Speech

Jesse Williams at the BET Awards Night receiving the humanitarian award

The whole speech was amazing, but the part that gave tools with which to shut down any detractors of those who speak up was the most potent part for me:

If you have a critique for our resistance then you’d better have an established record of a critique of our oppression. 
If you have no interest in equal rights for black people then do not make suggestions to those who do: sit down.
Carbon Copy that to every ignorant blowhard who [tacitly racistly] counters "all lives matter," to any given valid expression of concern and outrage.

Full speech and transcript:  

This Hot Mess

Ken Chen has a juicy little article about Ben Lerner and his problems with poetry:

What’s The Matter With Poetry?
For Ben Lerner, poems are the perfect medium for failure. So how can they negotiate with the politics of real life?


Lerner writes that “to claim [Citizen] as lyric would baffle Keats,” simply because the book is written in prose. But the book’s engagement with the lyric is deeper and more political. Rankine’s speaker often daydreams of clouds—a floating image of transcendence straight out of Wordsworth—but this ruminating private self must also wake up and assume the role of the citizen, the exhausted black body whose social interactions are over-determined by the legacies of the American slave state. Lerner may refuse a poetry that speaks for all, but one of Rankine’s lessons is that no matter how much you want to introspect, you’re still stuck assuming your role as a “historical self,” a player in the rigged game of white supremacy. Lerner argues that Rankine feels “the unavailability of traditional lyric categories,” but I think Citizen’s doubts are less literary than political. There’s no one in Citizen singing, “We Shall Overcome.” As in Ta-Nehisi Coates, Rankine sees little salvation in the prospect of emancipation from racial inequity.

And a whole bunch of other blather. Whatevs. Ken's piece is good though. The content is just like...(where's that eye roll emoji...)

Picture Book Biographies about Great Artists, Scientists and other Historically Significant Figures, from Brain Pickings

Young e e cummings encouraged by his teacher Miss Maria Louise Baldwin of Cambridge, MA

Picture Book Biographies about Great Artists, Scientists and other Historically Significant Figures, from Brain Pickings

There is an excellent feature article about beautiful and informative biographical picture books about Pablo Neruda, ee cummings, Jane Goodall, Julia Childs and more historically significant figures at the website Brain Pickings. This is a fantastic post for teachers and a really good start for some educational adventures this summer, if you and the kids you know are in the mood. 

Creative Courage for Young Hearts: 15 Emboldening Picture Books Celebrating the Lives of Great Artists, Writers, and Scientists:

PS I was intrigued by this page from e e cummings biography. The teacher portrayed who encouraged his creativity is Miss Maria Baldwin, of Cambridge, MA. There is now a school named after this remarkable educator, who was the first African-American female principal in Massachusetts and in the Northeast. When I was in 4th grade, on the other side of the city of Boston, I had an African-American teacher, one of the very few in my mostly Irish suburb. Mrs. Ward was the best and most certainly encouraged my creativity, too. This page took me back so strongly to those memories. She loved my fashion choices. One week I dressed in a theme of pink, white and grey. She loved that. And she definitely encouraged all my artsy endeavors in writing and music. She called me "my Lovely Bridge-eee." She was lovely!

Poet Bill Berkson Has Died

Poets Frank O'Hara and Bill Berkson
Poets Frank O'Hara and Bill Berkson

Poet Bill Berkson Has Died, (August 30, 1939 - June 16, 2016)

I read from Facebook that the poet Bill Berkson died today. Very sad news. He was a great writer and a very genial person. I was able to meet him and chat with him a little bit at this event

Friday, October 16 [2009], 7 pm
Bill Berkson
with Ed Barrett, William Corbett, Michael Gizzi and Joseph Torra
Pierre Menard Gallery
10 Arrow Street
Cambridge, MA

I can say with certainty that he was genial, because what I chose to chat with him about was the book I was reading at the time. I wasn't finished with it yet. However, he had been referenced in the earlier sections, so I mentioned it. I said I like the book. It was had a tinge of gossip to it but it had more of the atmosphere of the exciting chatter about poetry that occurs after a reading while people are doing what we're doing. He was very nice to have agreed. Because the book was "Digressions on Some Poems By Frank O'Hara"
Digressions on Some Poems By Frank O'Hara book cover
and when I got to the Bill Berkson chapter, a chapter that kinda eviscerates him and sorts blames him for the end of the author, Joe LeSueur's friendship with the subject of the book, Frank O'Hara, I got really embarrassed for previous month's me. The fact that he was so nice about me bringing up the book, well, that speaks volumes about his solid character. And he was well-loved by the people who knew him well.

As for his work? Exciting, boundary-pushing, aesthetically up my abstract alley. And not for everyone (like, say, Joe LeSueur) but I loved it.

He will be greatly missed.

More information on the poet Bill Berkson available at:

Ruth Lepson at @HuffingtonPost Arts & Culture on "The Rhythmical Creation of Beauty" #poetry #music #rhythm

Ruth Lepson at HuffPo Art & Culture on "The Rhythmical Creation of Beauty"

My friend, the poet Ruth Lepson, has a post up at Huffington Post, titled "The Rhythmical Creation of Beauty."

The history of the lyric and of the separation between poetry and music in the Western world is complex and long. The relationship between both art forms and society is an ongoing topic.

More at:

Links I Like featuring "Why Won't Men Leave Me Alone When I'm Trying To Read In Public?"

Reading Anais Nin and Journaling while at a bar
Journaling and Reading Anais Nin at Simpli Bar and Bites in Forest Hill, Boston

Link I Like, featuring a post about women reading alone at the bar, which I do often

"Why Won't Men Leave Me Alone When I'm Trying To Read In Public?"

Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own 
by Kate Bolick 

Dominatrixes Share the Most Annoying Thing Their Slaves Do


#Eeyore meme on Being Friends with People Who Cope with Having #Depression

This Eeyore Meme Teaches Us How to Be There for Our Friends Who Cope with Chronic Depression

One awesome thing about Eeyore is that even though he is basically clinically depressed, he still gets invited to participate in adventures and shenanigans with all of his friends  And they never expect him to pretend to feel happy, they just love him anyway, and they never leave him behind or ask him to change

"The Powerful Letter The Stanford Victim Read Aloud To Her Attacker" via Buzzfeed

You have to read the whole thing, but there are parts I wanted to excerpt.

The probation officer’s recommendation of a year or less in county jail is a soft time­out, a mockery of the seriousness of his assaults, an insult to me and all women. It gives the message that a stranger can be inside you without proper consent and he will receive less than what has been defined as the minimum sentence. 

It is deeply offensive that he would try and dilute rape with a suggestion of “promiscuity”. By definition rape is not the absence of promiscuity, rape is the absence of consent, and it perturbs me deeply that he can’t even see that distinction. a society, we cannot forgive everyone’s first sexual assault or digital rape. It doesn’t make sense. The seriousness of rape has to be communicated clearly, we should not create a culture that suggests we learn that rape is wrong through trial and error. The consequences of sexual assault needs to be severe enough that people feel enough fear to exercise good judgment even if they are drunk, severe enough to be preventative.

The fact that Brock [Allen Turner] was an athlete at a private university should not be seen as an entitlement to leniency, but as an opportunity to send a message that sexual assault is against the law regardless of social class.

This quote is what broke me, though I was on the verge the whole time

 I sleep with two bicycles that I drew taped above my bed to remind myself there are heroes in this story. That we are looking out for one another. 

(Two men on bicycles found the victim and chased down her convicted rapist perpetrator.)

And the conclusion, some of the most poignant words I've read.

And finally, to girls everywhere, I am with you. On nights when you feel alone, I am with you. When people doubt you or dismiss you, I am with you. I fought everyday for you. So never stop fighting, I believe you. As the author Anne Lamott once wrote, “Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.” Although I can’t save every boat, I hope that by speaking today, you absorbed a small amount of light, a small knowing that you can’t be silenced, a small satisfaction that justice was served, a small assurance that we are getting somewhere, and a big, big knowing that you are important, unquestionably, you are untouchable, you are beautiful, you are to be valued, respected, undeniably, every minute of every day, you are powerful and nobody can take that away from you. To girls everywhere, I am with you. Thank you.

If you or someone you know need help, RAINN is a good resource.