we are charleston

WE ARE CHARLESTON: An Essential Book

Herb Frazier, Bernard Edward Powers, and Marjory Wentworth give us a great gift. Their new book, We Are Charleston: Tragedy and Triumph at Mother Emanuel, offers readers a beautifully woven account of  overlapping histories. This readable book offers the racial history of Charleston and the South generally, the powerful and creative history of Emanuel African […]

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A Magical Day in New York City

Some days are good. Some days are hard. Some days stand out even among the good ones. This day surely did for me. Wednesday, June 22, 2016 was a magical day. It began on the train– and I love taking the train. I boarded an early morning Amtrak at Union Station in Washington, D.C. heading […]

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The Road Is Made by Walking

At the end of last week, a very complicated week, I decided I could use a labyrinth walk. I’ve done this before. It often helps to settle difficult and sorrowful experiences. About twenty-five miles outside of Washington, D.C. the Bon Secours Sisters, a catholic community of nuns, run a retreat center. On the grounds of […]

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Sam & Vivian Ross, Pomona, 2003

My Father’s Goodness

Tomorrow, May 28th, marks the fourth anniversary of my father’s death. Every day I miss him. Every day I think of him and the many gifts he gave me. Often, his gifts came hidden in the choices and values of his own good life. He was born in Michigan, in 1918, of parents who immigrated […]

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“…the dearest freshness…”

Gerard Manley Hopkins said it best. “There lives the dearest freshness deep down things…”  he writes in his poem “God’s Grandeur.” When it comes to religious faith I have more questions than answers but I get the revitalization that comes with spring.  I don’t know if it’s just biology or something more. Is it just that […]

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Don’t Sanitize Dr. King. Read him.

I don’t like to start off my blog with a pushy title. But on this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, 2016, I see too much watering down, sanitizing the life and work of Dr. King. If you listen to some in the public eye today, you would think all Dr. King ever said or did […]

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The Light That Builds

This is the third in a series of year-end reflections on kindness and gratitude. Yesterday, December 21st, was the Winter Solstice, the darkest day of the year. Today, December 22nd, brings us more light than yesterday. Each of the coming days, until the Summer Solstice in June, the light will build, slowly, nearly unseen. This […]

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The Power of Gratitude

During the remaining days of December, the darkest days of the year, I’ll post reflections on lessons of kindness I have learned from others. Here’s the second in the series. I teach at a pretty remarkable school. They have created a culture here of gratitude and civility. I am awed by it every day. People […]

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Humbled by a Generous Student

During the remaining days of December, the darkest days of the year, I’ll be posting reflections on lessons of kindness I have learned from others. Here’s the first in the series.   The school where I teach holds a food drive each November. Like many schools, we hope a simple event like a food drive […]

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The five westernmost bays (at left) of Dooley Hall were built in 1896.
The rest was added in 1911.

The Unpredictable Power of Literature

This week, I begin my twenty-seventh school year as an English teacher. I have taught at the university level for ten years and at the high school level for sixteen. This year, like most school years, I am fired up to begin. My work this year will be similar to my last few– I’ll teach […]

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William O’Daly‘s new poetry collection, The Road to Isla Negra  takes the reader on a beautiful journey. This small collection, from Folded Word Press, with photographs by Galen Garwood, is visually stunning. The poems take the reader on a poetic trip to Pablo Neruda’s home in Chile, Isla Negra, but more importantly, the poems invite the reader […]

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