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Sarah Browning’s New Poetry Collection: KILLING SUMMER

Few poets can navigate the personal and the public. Sarah Browning is one of those rare poets. Her new collection, KILLING SUMMER, from Sibling Rivalry Press, makes its way beautifully through these rich and challenging waters. These poems think, they remember, they push, they lament. I will be reading and thinking over these poems for a […]

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Teaching Matters

America is churning these days. We have so much work to do, so much justice and goodness to build that it sometimes feels overwhelming. In these days just past the Charlottesville events, we are reminded again, how racist, violent, and cruel our country can be. We have to name these realities and face them or […]

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The Lesson of August

There is something glorious about August. For those of us whose lives are marked by the academic year, August marks the beginning of the end of summer. It’s warm. It’s alive. It’s green. August teaches me to savor everything. August is thirty-one days of bliss. While it marks the beginning of the end, it’s not […]

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Poetry, Justice, and the Holy Cross Sisters

Sometimes a poetry reading turns into something you do not expect. One of my readings last month became more beautiful than I could have planned. This summer has held many readings in support of my new book, Ache. Two of those readings were in South Bend, Indiana, where I lived for many years. The first of the […]

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This Is No Time to Celebrate America

We have too much work to do. We have too much cruelty to confront. We have too much that needs healing. This is no time to celebrate America. While that might sound harsh, it’s how I’m thinking about this July 4th, 2017. It is no time to celebrate America when police officers are killing unarmed […]

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Hidden Hoops No. 1 #HiddenHoopsDC

When I was a boy, I played basketball in the alley behind our house. Our neighbors put a backboard and basket up above their garage door and we played there year round. In the summer, we had a light out there so we played until 9:00 or 10:00 at night. During the school year, I […]

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MONTGOMERY, AL - MARCH 25:  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking before crowd of 25,000 Selma To Montgomery, Alabama civil rights marchers, in front of Montgomery, Alabama state capital building. On March 25, 1965 in Montgomery, Alabama. (Photo by Stephen F. Somerstein/Getty Images)

Strangers Can’t Build Dr. King’s “World House”

How well do we know the challenges others face? How much do I know about what worries people of color? How deeply do I understand the fears of people who are different from me? The answer is often: not very well, not very much, not very deeply. In Rev. Martin Luther King’s final book, Where Do […]

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2017: The Year of Speaking Up!

Here we are. The first day of 2017. We are in a world seared by war, racism, fear, and indifference. We, as writers, teachers, and citizens, must make this the Year of Speaking Up. In the United States, we have elected a president who demeans women and minorities, who mocks handicapped people, who threatens a […]

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2016: Remembering Small and Beautiful Moments

2016 might mostly be remembered for its disheartening presidential campaign. The mocking, cruel, and dishonest language by the Republican nominee will not go away any time soon. But there were other events, mostly small, in the life of this poet-teacher, which brought beauty and joy into the world. Here are some reflections on these events, […]

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Christmas & Vulnerability

I love the Christmas story. While belief presents me with other challenges, loving the story is easy. The story being simple– God becomes human. And the details of that humanity matter. They matter a lot. God becomes human in a child born in peril, in a vulnerable place and time. This child was not born […]

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Darkness and Light

We are living the darkest days of the year. Today in Washington, D.C., the sun rose at 7:21am and will set tonight at 4:48pm. Only 9.5 hours of light. As we inch toward the Solstice, darkness will grow and then we will make a turn toward the light. We will make a turn. At least […]

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Jeff Rath’s THE OLD UTOPIA HOTEL: Poems that Name and Save

Jeff Rath’s new poetry collection, The Old Utopia Hotel describes a world marked by sorrow, loss, and decay. This is a hard book. Its beauty lies in its honesty and its craft. While one might think poems about sorrow, loss, and decay are a bit heavy– and some are heavy– the craft, the delicacy, and the surprising […]

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Aaron Counts’ STRANGE-TONGUED NAMES: Aware and Alive

Aaron Counts’ new poetry chapbook, Strange-Tongued Names offers us the chance to look at ourselves. This talented poet asks us who we are, where we’ve been, how we love. These are beautiful poems, elegant and smooth in their craft. But they are also important poems, these poems can help us be our best selves: aware and alive. […]

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