Archive for July, 2014

The Activist’s Daughter

The Activist’s Daughter

Greetings from on the road. Paul and I are en route to East Texas, via Nashville and the Mississippi Delta. We started out in Asheville, where we attended the North Carolina Writers Conference. This year’s honoree was Kathryn Stripling Byer, a wonderful poet and former poet laureate of North Carolina. On a panel discussion that took up the theme of the global dimensions of southern literature, I was so taken

/ read more

Homelessness and human rights: alternatives to criminalization

Homelessness and human rights: alternatives to criminalization

According to a study published last week by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, the criminalization of activities like sleeping, eating, sitting, or begging in public spaces is on the upswing in cities across the country. Even serving food to homeless people in public spaces is being targeted–as we know from recent events at Moore Square in Raleigh. Reporting on 187 cities that it tracked for five years, the

/ read more

“I sit with Shakespeare and he winces not.”

“I sit with Shakespeare and he winces not.”

Elizabeth Alexander, the poet, ponders a single sentence from W.E.B. Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk (1903) as she talks about his life and work in a recent episode of “On Being,” with Krista Tippett. Note first, she points out, that it’s in iambic pentameter. Du Bois is saying to Shakespeare, look: I can do what you do. I sit with Shakespeare and he winces not. It is a brilliant stroke–Robert

/ read more

Reading the Declaration “In Defense of Equality”

Reading the Declaration “In Defense of Equality”

My reading for this July 4 weekend is Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence In Defense of Equality, a welcome contribution to our understanding of our founding document by Danielle Allen, a MacArthur genius and a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton.  With strategies of close reading and recovery of draft work and historical context, Allen argues that within the Declaration, the concepts of

/ read more