Sunday Reading: Burnell’s Market & Poetry

This past week has been really hard because my partner had to work over the weekend, was very busy with that work, and almost all of the childcare fell on me. It was also around 17 degrees a couple days and kept snowing, so it wasn’t a simple matter of popping outside to help me and Lyra deal with the hours. And my kid can play by herself, but for whatever reason, this past week she refused to even try for any amount of time. So I haven’t read or even considered reading much of anything. Still, a couple things caught my attention and poetry is… well, poetry. 

Voices from the Pandemic: ‘Wearing a mask won’t protect us from our history.’

Burnell Cotlon’s experience as a small grocer “turned food pantry” in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans.

Last week, I caught a lady in the back of the store stuffing things into her purse. We don’t really have shoplifters here. This whole store is two aisles. I can see everything from my seat up front. So I walked over to her real calm and put my hand on her shoulder. I took her purse and opened it up. Inside she had a carton of eggs, a six-pack of wieners, and two or three candy bars. She started crying. She said she had three kids, and her man had lost his job, and they had nothing to eat and no place to go. Maybe it was a lie. I don’t know. But who’s making up stories for seven or eight dollars of groceries? She was telling me, “Please, please, I’m begging you,” and I stood there and thought about it, and what am I supposed to do?

I said: “That’s okay. You’re all right.” I let her take it. I like to help. I always want to say yes. But I’m starting to get more desperate myself, so it’s getting harder.

This is about so much more than what’s happening right now, as Mr. Cotlon goes on to talk about with more succinctness and understanding than I can express. And for anyone with kids, you can appreciate the terror of not being able to feed them.

There’s a GoFundMe for Mr. Cotlon you can pitch into here.

And now for some poetry.

Never to Dream of Spiders by Audre Lorde

History as a Process by Amiri Baraka

I Leave Her Weeping by Liz Rosenberg

An Exercise in Love by Diane Di Prima


Sunday Reading: Portals, Solitude, & Rest

This week I have not read very much so mostly I have been saving things to read and consequently don’t have much to say about each thing. 

Our Dust by C.D. Wright

I was just thinking about all this last night. Last night being any night.

Arundhati Roy: ‘The pandemic is a portal’

About COVID-19 in India. About the future. Looking forward to reading this when kiddo is asleep or distracted with My Little Pony.

Standing on the Shoulders of Solitude: Newton, the Plague, and How Quarantine Fomented the Greatest Leap in Science

Since this started, I’ve been increasingly curious about how previous outbreaks of illness have been handled, written about, etc. I’ve also been thinking about solitude, physical and otherwise. Haven’t read this yet but looking forward to it.

As grind culture slows down, will you? by The Nap Ministry

It’s no secret that people often use work and busy-ness to avoid looking at themselves, their history, their pain, and to deny a future of change. I’ve been following their IG account for a while and it’s like a balm every time I read a post.

Pandowrimo, prompt 8 by Adrienne Maree Brown

“choose a future for all of us”


Sunday Reading: Change, Illness, Poetry

It’s April now. Spring getting its rhythm. The cruelest month. National Poetry month. I’m leaning heavy into this embrace. — a project by Sam Levigne and Tega Brain

I’ve been following the work of Johanna Hedva for several years now and that’s what brought me to this project. They wrote an introduction, in a sense, and I found it to be really powerful and elegant and pointed and everything that I come to expect from their writing.

I Sit and Sew by Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson & Poem of the Week: The Idler by Alice Dunbar Nelson

Alice Moore Dunbar Nelson was an American poet, playwright, journalist, social activist, and an early published diarist. Her work is largely about being Black in America, a woman, and colorism. She was part of the Harlem Renaissance. These two poems by her struck me as being really timely. Probably because many issues facing us then are still a problem today.

Sometimes A Wild God by Tom Hirons

I read this years ago and was reminded of it recently.  I love the atmosphere of it, the imagery, and the way it relishes bodies, cosmic and otherwise.

Opinion: This is not home schooling, distance learning, or online schooling. by Maureen Downey

“Stephanie Jones and Hilary Hughes are University of Georgia professors in the Department of Educational Theory and Practice and co-directors of the Red Clay Writing Project. They say something today that needs to be repeated daily like a mantra: What is happening is not home schooling. It is not distance learning. It is not online schooling.”

I really liked seeing this article because I see so many people trying to behave as though this should be a “normal” schooling period and that the only challenges are the “at home” or “distance” or “online” part, which is simply not true.

Some of the best online poetry, as read by actual poets. by John Freedman

A really good collection. If you’re trying to read poetry and feeling stymied by how to read it, a great way to address that is by listening to poets read poems.

A Change in Lesson Plans: Homeschooling in a Pandemic by Emily Raboteau

I haven’t fully read this yet, but it appears to be a thoughtful consideration of how coping with a pandemic changes learning.



Sunday Reading : (Not Only Reading)

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I used to do this series highlighting things I enjoyed reading throughout the week or things I wanted to save for myself to enjoy on Sunday. Then life got busier, we had a child. I have never enjoyed reading things on screens as much as on paper, so when I had time to read I prioritized books and zines. But I miss some of the surprising richness and connection from online media. So let’s give this a go. 

You’ll Never Find Another by Lydia Copeland

I love the atmosphere of this piece, the touches of specificity that really ground it in the body, the home, even as the dream pulls elsewhere.

These Symphonies & Operas Are Hosting Virtual Shows for You to Enjoy at Home by Megan Schaltegger

We’ve been enjoying some Met Opera productions at home. You don’t have to have some education or background on types of music to enjoy. Just listen to the music. Feelings are feelings are feelings.

Can Poetry Change Your Life? by Louis Menand

This is from 2017 but I haven’t read it and my friend Kathleen shared it with me recently. It’s a critic’s review of a book, but as with any good bit of criticism, it’s about more than just one piece of artistry. If you like poetry and/or pop music, I recommend giving it a read.

Freaking Homeschool by Sacha Mardou

This comic shares an experience that many parents can probably relate to in relation to attempting homeschooling, but in a broader sense, it describes what parents engage in all the time — a reckoning of old wounds stimulated by the presence of a child experiencing their own challenges and pains. I’m reluctant to call this pandemic a “gift”, but I do hope the forced shift in perspective encourages growth for people who survive it.

Carson Ellis is hosting Quarantine Art Club

It looks super fun whether you’re 5 years old or 60 years old. Lyra is a little too young to appreciate much in the way of direction — or maybe that’s just her personality — but I might try anyway.

People are decorating their windows with hearts and messages of hope right now by Alisha Ebrahimji

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to feel connected when we can’t be in each other’s presence. Sometimes the simplest solutions are powerful. Even better when it gives little kids ways to express their feelings.

Mom Talk: The Case for Small Magic by Erin Feher

So necessary right now.



Sunday Reading : Language, sabotage, whales, beauty, more witches, etc.

Night of the Armadillo : Yusef Komunyakaa, The Paris Review
Reading Lessons from my Teenage Self : Carla Bruce-Eddings, Lit Hub
Manual Override : Evan Calder Williams, The New Inquiry
Deep Sounds : Rachel Allen Interviews Hal Whitehead, Guernica
The Birth of a Beauty Criticism : Autumn Whitefield-Madrano, The New Inquiry
How “Inspiration Porn” Reporting Objectifies People with Disabilities : David Perry, The Establishment
You are your life, and nothing else : Antonia Case, New Philosopher
A Witch is a Witch is a Witch : Alex Mar, Tin House

Sunday Reading : Witches, sign language, Vantablack, poetry, refugees, etc.

Witches of Chiloe : Mike Dash, Compass Cultura
Sign of the Times : Sara Novic, Granta
Can an artist ever really own a colour? : Jonathan Jones, The Guardian
A Jellyfish With a Jew’s Ear, for the Millions : Jake Marmer, Tablet
Possible : Wendell Steavenson, Granta
A Journey to the Medical Netherworld : Alison Motluck, Hazlitt
Inside the Strange and Beautiful Box Economy of Women’s Prisons : Jessica Austin, Broadly
A sinking jail: The environmental disaster that is Rikers Island : Raven Rakia, Grist


DigitalDiary 3/3 – 3/9/2016

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Sunday Reading : Identity/body image, violence, death, & beauty

Closing the Loop : Aria Dean, The New Inquiry
Body Anxiety and a new wave of digifeminist art : Charlotte Jansen, Dazed
Visions : Kate Gaskin, Guernica
The Language of Violence : Danez Smith and Brian Russell, Poetry Foundation
Being Mortal : Zan Boag, New Philosopher
Beauty and Autonomy on the Bike : Claire Tighe, Bird’s Thumb
The strange, sad quest to match a severed, embalmed head with its story : Michael E. Miller, The Washington Post
Deadly Decisions : Ann Neumann in conversation with Sheri FinkGuernica
This Better And Truer History : J.M. Coetzee and Arabella Kurtz, Longreads
The Fruit of My Woman : Han Kang, Granta