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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