Thursday, March 31, 2005

March 31st, 2005 - 5:09AM

So it's been a while. My March Madness brackets were busted the very first round when Syracuse was upended by Vermont. Still, the teams i picked to be in the finals (Illinois and North Carolina) are in the Final Four and still on course to meet each other.

In the meantime, i've been doing much better with the insomnia (except for right now of course). Clearly, wrestling with VIA is what gives me more insomnia than anything else.

I've also started the Cave Canem workshop under Patricia Smith's tutelage. Their are 15 of us all together and i'm really excited. Already, Patricia has given us some provocative exercises and i'm getting my writing jump-started again. So far, my favorite exercise has been the one in which we take a favorite poem by another poet, re-write it as a prose piece and then re-write that, as a new poem. What is supposed to happen is a completely new poem, inspired by the first but completely different from it. I've chosen Ai's poem "The Hitchhiker" and what is happening there is really crazy and extraordinary. I'll post the results of that by weekend.

I'm also reading Paul Farmer's "Pathologies of Power". Farmer is a medical doctor/anthropologist who is primarily concerned with the ways in which power dynamics internationally force the poor away from the option of health care and what they need for basic survival. In fact, because of poverty and political maneuvering amongst the rich (nations and corporations), millions of people die every year of treatable diseases. What's more, Farmer examines the ways in which more powerful, richer nations have historically put mechanisms in place that guarantee this discrepancy, even though they are very well aware of what their policie mean for the vast majority of the citizens of the nations they affect (including their own). Tracy Kidder (author of "Mountains beyond Mountains: Healing the World: The Quest of Doctor Paul Farmer) says "Pathologies of Power is an eloquent plea for a working definition of human rights that would not neglect the most basic rights of all: food, shelter and health. This plea has special potency because it comes from Dr. Farmer, a person who has proven that the dream of universal and comprehensive human rights is possible, and who has brought food, shelter, health, and hope to some of the poorest people on this earth." I say, it'll open your eyes even further to the nature of inequity in the world; inequity that is wholly unnecessary, especially for those of us living in a country which touts its dedication to human rights (insult to integrity that it is). Go get the book though, it's amazing, but you don't have to take my word for it.

It's getting warm again folks. Go outside. Do something crazy.

5 Comments:

Blogger Patrick said...

i will cop the farmer book. see you monday. and i ain't drinkin this time.

1:04 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Hey -- you're reading my blog and you never comment? What the F@#$* is that about?

Hope I get to see you soon...

T

10:01 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:01 AM  
Anonymous pretzelsalt said...

I was introduced to your poetry today "Weusi Alphabeti" and I'm floored.

Thank you for being you and putting the work and blood into being another spark of light out there.

I'm going to do some more research and see if you travel - I would love to hear you live sometime.

Thank you again, keep shouting!
-Sarah Vaughn

1:33 PM  
Anonymous pretzelsalt said...

I was introduced to your poetry today "Weusi Alphabeti" and I'm floored.

Thank you for being you and putting the work and blood into being another spark of light out there.

I'm going to do some more research and see if you travel - I would love to hear you live sometime.

Thank you again, keep shouting!
-Sarah Vaughn

1:34 PM  

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