Thursday, June 18, 2020

"Poets as cultural workers"

In his preface to A Field Guide to Eastern Trees, George A. Petrides wrote, "Like all other creatures, we depend totally on green plants, which convert inorganic chemicals into organic foods and also help to maintain essential atmospheric gases in a healthful balance." We truly depend totally on these plants, not only for keeping us alive in the scientific definition but for providing beauty, abundant renewable materials, joy, and a sense of connection to the world, among a zillion other things. On Sunday night, I harvested three bags of yucca leaves for a future papermaking bonanza.
I continue to cook and cook and eat and overeat, and was grateful to a friend for letting me know that Samin Nosrat recommends always keeping pickled red onions on hand. It coincided with listening to her speak generously about her trajectory and her twin loves for food and writing, and what it was like to grow up always looking and feeling like she didn't belong.
This is the second garment from a tablecloth, also a practice run—not only for how the pattern works/doesn't work but for how to piece together a billion scraps. I thought that sewing would save my eyes from the computer, but sewing is really quite hard on my eyes. Regardless, I am always eager to read what Herb has to write and his post on how we label policing is very good and his link to Officer Patrick Skinner's first-hand account of how to be a good neighbor as a police officer is also something I needed to read coming from someone in uniform.
I finished this yesterday and though it didn't come out exactly as I wanted, and I made many more mistakes, I am relieved to be done—it's already in the mail to its owner. I am diving back into more sewing and look forward to the latest episode of Books & Boba, about Asian American literature. I want to leave you with a little about my colleague Akua Lezli Hope, a creator who among many other things writes poetry, makes paper, and is a glass artist. Over the course of months, I slowly read her book, Them Gone. Slowly because I've learned over the years that poetry is not meant to be speed read. Slowly because it's intense and masterful as it weaves through many narratives of the American Black experience. This week, Akua was a featured artist on an episode about Finger Lakes arts—go to 35:09 of this video to see her speak and be sure to listen to her latest powerful poem. The title of this post comes from her interview and she walks her talk.

No comments: