March 2010 Archives

National Book Award Finalist PATRICIA SMITH Reading @ The LitHouse!

patricia smith poster.jpg
The Rose O'Neill Literary House is located on the campus of Washington College on the historic Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Poet Ai (b. 1947-d. 2010)

ai.jpg The poet Ai (Florence Anthony), who was winner of the 1999 National Book Award for poetry and Professor of English at Oklahoma State University, died 19 March 2010 at the age of 63. Below Ai's poem on death.

Conversation
By Ai

We smile at each other

and I lean back against the wicker couch.

How does it feel to be dead? I say.

You touch my knees with your blue fingers.

And when you open your mouth,

a ball of yellow light falls to the floor

and burns a hole through it.

Don't tell me, I say. I don't want to hear.

Did you ever, you start,

wear a certain kind of dress

and just by accident,

so inconsequential you barely notice it,

your fingers graze that dress

and you hear the sound of a knife cutting paper,

you see it too

and you realize how that image

is simply the extension of another image,

that your own life

is a chain of words

that one day will snap.

Words, you say, young girls in a circle, holding hands,

and beginning to rise heavenward

in their confirmation dresses,

like white helium balloons,

the wreathes of flowers on their heads spinning,

and above all that,

that's where I'm floating,

and that's what it's like

only ten times clearer,

ten times more horrible.

Could anyone alive survive it?

ICCED Women Report.jpgThe Insight Center for Community Economic Development released a report on the gender wealth gap to mark International Women's Day. The report found nearly half of all single black and Latina women have zero or negative wealth, meaning their debts exceed all of their assets. The median wealth for single black women is only $100; for single Latina women, $120. This compares to just over $41,000 for single white women.

Democracy Now spoke with "the chief author of the report, Mariko Lin Chang and C. Nicole Mason, Executive Director of the Women of Color Policy Network." Click here to read or watch the interview.

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