Young strong worms
When Vermont-based poet and editor Diana Whitney envisioned an anthology of poetry for girls and young people, she wanted to bring together the voices she wanted as a teenager. “Loud voices, lonely voices, angry, elated or curious voices. Voices from the LGBTQ + community, turning their experiences into songs, ”she writes. That’s what she did with “You Don’t Have to Be Everything: Poems for Girls Becoming Themselves” (Workman), a varied and vibrant anthology with poems by Margaret Atwood, Ada Limón, Franny Choi, Naomi Shihab Nye, Joy Harjo, Sharon Olds, Natalie Diaz, Aria Aber, Michelle Tea, Marie Howe, Lucille Clifton, and Amanda Gorman, among others. These poems – about seeking and loneliness and desire, about shame and attitude and rage, about sadness and belonging – transcend simple notions of identity. Taken as a whole, the collection vibrates with a vital and confident energy, embracing contradictions and complexity. Kayleb Rae Candrilli writes of advanced surgery: “My body has shrunk / to its new original. In “Wolf and Woman,” Nikita Gill writes, “Some days / I’m more of a wolf / than a woman / and I’m still learning / how to stop apologizing / for my savage. Frank, warm, gentle and fierce, the book serves as a comfort, guide and inspiration to anyone engaged in the ongoing process of flourishing.
February 2020 marked the opening of the largest exhibition in the history of the Harvard Art Museums. “Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection” brought together Betsy and Robert Feinberg’s remarkable collection of art from the Edo period, and the accompanying catalog published by the Harvard Art Museums and released this week, is a full volume , thoughtful and elegant of this powerful blend. Presenting over 300 pieces, the book (with words by Rachel Saunders and Yukio Lippit) is a comprehensive synthesis and celebration of the Edo period, from 1615 to 1868, moving from the Rinpa school to the Maruyama-Shijō school, with scrolls, fans, and stunning ink designs for their flowing beauty. The titles of the pieces read like poems, “Abundant Fragrance in a Splash of Ink”, “Lone Traveler in Winter Mountains”, “Streams and Mountains in the Pure Distance”, and each piece is accompanied by contextualizing text. Harvard Art Museums remain closed; the exhibition is scheduled to run throughout the summer, although closing dates are subject to change. The book offers a permanent means of discovering this remarkable collection.
“Language is a form of collective memory,” writes Robert Radin in his new thesis on “Teaching English to Refugees” (Ibidem / Columbia University). “It’s a system for remembering.” Radin, who lives in Western Mass and is the director of citizenship and immigration services at the social service agency, writes about teaching adult learners from Iraq, Eritrea, Bhutan and the Republic Democratic Republic of the Congo, people who fled violence and upheaval to make news live in the United States His lessons, on cooking utensils, laundry, driving, serve as a scaffolding to explore broader questions of language and meaning. “Words are tools, not indications of the ultimate nature of reality. We are introduced to his students, their specific triumphs and difficulties, their moments of joy and fear, and he candidly writes about his own Jewish upbringing and gestures with grace and specificity at painful moments and memories of his own. story. The book weaves a philosophical inquiry and an intimate personal narrative examining what it means to teach, learn, speak, read, the language of power and its limits.
“German lesson” by Siegfried Lenz, translated from German by Ernst Kaiser and Eithne Wilkins (New directions)
“100 poems to break your heart” by Edward Hirsch (HMH)
“Sho” by Douglas Kearney (Wave)
Choice of the week
Kim Ward of Bear Pond Books in Montpelier, Vermont, recommends “Life Among the Terranauts” by Caitlin Horrocks (Little, Brown): reality and nostalgia, this collection is touching and luminous. I read it almost breathlessly.