Sustenance: Puppies and poetry

May is Mental Health Month and a good time to look for new ways to revitalize ourselves. Or just be mindful to make use of the old ways. As good a time as any, is what I really mean; this shouldn’t be a once-a-year special occasion.

Still, we all get caught up in the day-to-day and forget sometimes (many times) to nurture our souls. Continue reading

I Am Not Your Negro: Go see It

“The story of the Negro in America is the story of America. It is not a pretty story.”

-James Baldwin

James-Baldwin-2

Photo by Allan Warren (Own work) CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons

Over at Escape Into Life, I have a new “Accidental Critic” review posted, reflecting on the film “I Am Not Your Negro.” Now playing in downtown Chicago and coming in May to Oak Park ¬†(for one day only), “I Am Not Your Negro” is based on author¬†James Baldwin’s notes for an unfinished project in which he planned to examine the slayings of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr. – all friends of his. Continue reading

Mixing memory with desire: Poetry and public schools

"April is the cruellest month, ..."

IMG_1291Nearly every year on April 1, I re-read T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land.” It’s one of my favorite poems, and while I pay homage to it by quoting and requoting lines from it in conversation year-round, I also like to sit down and read it through periodically. The opening line, quoted above, is of course why I choose April 1 for this pleasure. (Also, April is National Poetry Month, so there’s another reason, though not the one that drives me.)

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God, I love Chicago!

TheBeanI’m not the only one. Neil Steinberg does, too. So do a lot of other people—presumably including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who wrote of thinking to himself “God, I am in Chicago” after first arriving in the city for a visit at the age of 15.

Steinberg recounts that moment of Jackson’s among many other stories in his 2012 book You Were Never in Chicago, which I read recently and reviewed over at Escape into Life. It’s one of many memorable tales Steinberg brings to life in the book, which took me down memory lane—both as a journalist and as an adoptive Chicagoan—while also teaching me more about the history of the city I love.

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