Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Rebecca Gordon: What Makes a “Good Job” Good?

These days, all I want to do is weave. The loom that’s gripped me, and the pandemic that’s gripped us all, have led me to rethink the role of work (and its subset, paid labor) in human lives.

March 11, 2021 · 4 Comments

Rick Campbell: English House Sparrows in the Consol Energy Center

The House Sparrow–Old World import, the first Brooklyn birds captured, purchased, transported in cages–we ignored till they overran natives, ravaged crops, windowsills, and eventually, hockey arenas.

March 10, 2021 · 2 Comments

Julianne Chung: To be creative, Chinese philosophy teaches us to abandon ‘originality’

Creativity isn’t conceived as aiming at novelty or originality, but rather integration. Instead of aiming at something new, it aims at something that combines well with the situation of which it’s a part.

March 9, 2021 · 2 Comments

Ellen McGrath Smith: On Being a Late-Night Motion Detector Detector

Two tiny yellow eyes stared back at me from the shadows near the shed. This has happened with my dog and with my cats, but I had never experienced this with a rat.

March 4, 2021 · 3 Comments

Rachel Hadas: Screen and Dream

It wasn’t a dream, but the experience was dreamlike: across the computer screen, one day last week, a photograph of my father, sent by some well-meaning distant acquaintance, flashed without warning. In this black-and-white photo, Moses Hadas is sitting at the desk in his office…

March 4, 2021 · Leave a comment

Paul Christensen: Winter is Dying

It is a relief just to breathe again without a shudder. The past has been very hard on us, with the terrible vengeance of a disease we can’t control, a government in tatters from the lies and treachery of a tyrant eager to become a New World Putin.

February 28, 2021 · 3 Comments

Michael Simms: The Courage of Teachers

In 1987, students gathered in front of the admin building angry over the corruption of the university’s board. The crowd was getting ugly. I was a young teacher standing to the side, listening to the speeches, watching warily as the crowd grew. Someone shouted Take Over the Administration! and the crowd chanted Take Over! Take over! Take Over! The crowd, now a mob…

February 27, 2021 · 8 Comments

Valerie Bacharach: Elegy for Nathan

An addict is an actor, able to look you in the eye, smile, and lie so convincingly that you begin to question yourself.

February 21, 2021 · 6 Comments

Christine Skarbek: A journey into self or what Auschwitz can do to the soul

I saw the cell where the Jesuit priest Maximilian Kolbe starved to near death as he attended to nine others, all Jews. He was later executed. The space isn’t bigger than my walk-in closet.

February 10, 2021 · 4 Comments

Andrew Reginald Hairston: Pandemic Reflections on Money

I did everything right, but I perpetually had very little money.

February 10, 2021 · 3 Comments

Paul Christensen: Snow

Ghosts wear snow in the early morning hours and walk around like debutants at a ball. The wind lifts the hems of their long dresses and there is nothing beneath but a few dog tracks. How lonely it must be to be dead.

February 7, 2021 · 2 Comments

Ursula K. Le Guin: About Anger

Anger points powerfully to the denial of rights, but the exercise of rights can’t live and thrive on anger. It lives and thrives on the dogged pursuit of justice.

January 30, 2021 · 3 Comments

Cecily Sailer & Jim Tuttle: A Tale of Two Karens

They are political polar opposites, but through Braver Angels, they’re forging a path toward productive conversations, and even friendship.

January 26, 2021 · 3 Comments

Paul Christensen: The Bluest Sky

He knew the rotting nature of poverty and the dull, disintegrating poison of lost hope. He had some of the dark anger of Walt Whitman, who could charm a winter tree back into bloom with his dreams and turn on his heels and find despair tearing at the entrails of the ordinary man.

January 21, 2021 · 3 Comments

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