Lake Michigan shore in January (Photo by author)
I am listening to Willie Nelson and enjoying him a good deal. Willie’s unmistakable voice–warm and full of feeling yet rational and sure–is calm and energizing.
Calm and energy are two qualities I am in need of this winter. I am depressed. Or so I think.
Oddly, I don’t think I’ve ever been depressed before. At least not like this.
No, not Ansari and “Grace”. Which is really too bad, as actor Kyra Sedgwick looks amazingly, shall we say, happy in this still from a production of “Off The Main Road”. Something definitely right is going on here!
I can’t believe I am adding my voice to the tsunami of words roiling over the alleged sexual misconduct of Aziz Ansari.
But writers, for a change, let’s talk about sex.
Alice Munro, master of the contemporary short story, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature, and non-possessor of a MFA degree.
No, a MFA is not needed here–not at the august literary journal, The Missouri Review, that is.
Here is an excerpt from an encouraging email I received last month from TMR about the writing backgrounds of the winners of its prestigious Jeffrey E. Smith Editor’s Prize contest:
“Writing contests can feel intimidating, especially for writers who are honing their craft on their own, outside the imposed structure of a workshop or graduate program. I’ve heard writers ask, “Do people without MFAs ever win these contests?” The answer is yes. It has happened before and will happen again.”
And this is good, of course, and it’s encouraging to read something like this.
But isn’t this, writers, our just due?
When did a MFA degree become de rigueur in the literary world?
Social media is abuzz-as it should be-with discussions of racism and the white supremacist beliefs and rhetoric of the demonstrators in Charlottesville.
But it’s important to remember that these people are fascistic. And that, as Fascists, they carry and hold tremendous amounts of hate and fear for, at this point in history, almost all Americans.
US Supreme Court
(photo public domain, Wikimedia Commons)
Did you see this?
No, not the photo above of the facade of the US Supreme Court, as impressive as it is. But the event that took place in late April during oral argument before the Supreme Court.
In today’s heated political climate that’s some time ago.
But I am still struck by what happened during oral argument in the case of Maslenjak vs US, a case testing the limits to which the federal government can go in denying citizenship to those who make any falsehood, intentional or not, minor and mundane or significant, in filling out an application form that asks whether the applicant has ever committed a criminal offense, however minor, even if there was no arrest.
Not many made much of what happened during argument. But I found it quite stunning.
photo by author
I’m happy to announce that my poem “Maples” appears in the April 2017 issue of the journal Front Porch Review!
Front Porch Review published another poem of mine, “Dance Past It”, in its January 2017 issue. It’s been fun and flattering to have my poetry appear in a publication that I enjoy a good deal, in particular its selection of poetry.
Women’s March On Chicago 1/21/17 (photo author)
It’s five weeks since Donald Trump assumed the office of the presidency of the United States.
It feels like more. A lot more.
President Obama was quoted, soon after Trump took office, as saying that he was heartened by the uptick in political activity that surfaced after the election, and exploded in the days immediately following January 20th.
I have lived through dark days in American history, and have witnessed, and partaken in, dissent, protest, and organizing.
But I have never seen what we’ve seen for weeks: an outpouring of agitation, discussion, organizing, and protest across the country. I have had moments of pride and amazement as I’ve watched resistance to the Trump administration involving every demographic within our borders and beyond.
Throughout all of this, I’ve struggled.