Thursday, September 24, 2015

Black Power, Poetry Power

Last night I graded my online students' discussion posts while I listened to this great interview between Terry Gross and Stanley Nelson, the director of a new documentary on the Black Panthers.  I thought about how quickly free breakfasts for children and free health clinics give way to FBI informants and bullets in the bedroom.

I thought about the possibilities of metaphor.  I thought about all the ways I am not making lasting social change.  I went back to grading.

This morning, I wrote a poem.  Once, I believed that poets could change the world with the right poem.  I am a Brit Lit person that way.

Yesterday, I covered a colleague's classes while she observed Yom Kippur.  Today I will cover a colleague's classes while she does jury duty service.  This afternoon, a group of us will gather for a happy hour au revoir party for a colleague who is moving to France.

Here, too, I wonder about poetic possibilities.

Yesterday I marked the arrival of Fall by sending a packet of poems to The Iowa Review.  I've been sending this journal my poems for much of my adult life with nary a word of encouragement back, much less an acceptance.  Non-writers might ask why I keep submitting--clearly, this journal is not interested in my work. 

But I know that the work I sent yesterday is significantly better than the work I sent as a young grad student.  Maybe at some point, they'll say yes.  And besides, I can afford the stamps that it costs me to keep hope alive.

What will today bring?  Time to venture out to see.

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