Nouns XXV

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I. “Not-shot-at
and I never knew it.
Did not once
think it.”

“Proximities” by Lia Purpura

II.  “A boy who felt that he was nothing,
who erased and entered that erasure, and guns
that are good for nothing”

“In the Loop” by Bob Hicok

III. “spare us
from ever
turning into
walking

matches
amidst
so much
gasoline”

“L.A. Prayer” by Francisco Alarcón

IV. “Most-challenged books are either written by people of color or about them …Banned Books Week, on the surface, may seem like a subversive celebration encouraging people to defiantly read a controversial book. But at its heart, the week holds up the stories and lives of marginalized people in literature.”

V. “Young people in U.S. educational institutions need to encounter Pecola so they can inevitably confront themselves. There is nothing to hide but the magicians’ hands. Americans have all, already, been cursed by the enchanted powers of white infallibility. We need the strong medicine of the type of truth found in Morrison’s work to now heal us.” Darnell L. Moore on banned book The Bluest Eyes by Toni Morrison and its power to change and heal us over at PEN America. (Click on it to read the very powerful title of his piece.)

VI. Reading novels leads to deeper empathy.  Reading books can actually change the world. “This psychological awareness carries over into the real world, which is full of complicated individuals whose inner lives are usually difficult to fathom.”

VII.  Need more proof? “It appears that reading fiction can improve the reader’s ability to put themselves in another person’s shoes and flex the imagination in a way that is very similar to the visualization that an athlete would use to activate the motor cortex and muscle memory used in sports during a mental rehearsal.” We could all use practice visualizing what it’s like to be another person.  So we stop hurting each other.

VIII. If there is a kid in your life here are some books ideas to start teaching empathy early.

And here are some books for us grown ups…

IX. Blue Front by Martha Collins. God Help the Child by Toni Morrison.

X. Notes from No Man’s Land by Eula Biss.  Borderlands by Gloria Anzaldúa.

XI. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

XII. And last, but the one you should read first: Claudia Rankine’s Citizen.

XIII. Carl McCrow’s work is poignant.  (featured above)

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