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Showing posts from November 28, 2021

Views "from Space:" the Prisoner of Conscience

Draft resisters Fr. Tony Mullaney, Jim Forest and John Bach endured federal sentences savoring the victory of permanently effacing the War Department’s draft record, sparing lives. Forest would call his year in prison a sabbatical. When he received a NASA photograph of Earth through the prison mail, Forest contemplated it for hours. Bach, recalled his "draft bit" an ideal compared to the floating space station Metropolitan Correctional Center. The maximum security prison was “a Bicentennial metaphor,” he wrote to supporters, for how out of touch the country was, the best it could see to make off the poor while it waged fronts increasing the gap of the rich and poor, sustaining “a permanent war economy, a permanent national security, a permanent emergency.” Eleven stories up from “Park Row” in New York City, he felt so isolated the street might as well have been in Paris or Rome. By then  Forest was on a caper in Paris with a friend climbing the roof of the Chartres cathedral.

Participatory Emotion in Activist Prison Writing

“This is a lesson in style, not in participative emotion” Vladimir Nabokov said, giving a lecture on Charles Dickens' Bleak House. Even the most pathetic passages of the prison conditions were not emancipatory ethical tracts or polemical dirges eliciting an "participative emotion," pity. But shown as real texture, evocative features.    In case of arrest in DC as part of the Poor People's Campaign, I summon a temperature of support for childcare from friends during an after school playdate. Immediately I'm asked, admiringly, justifying "the lack of effect?" Prison is relaxing, presuming the subjectivity of becoming, the unfolding-self that becomes a self in relation with prisoners of conscience who have walked before you, a relation in Kierkegaard's  Sickness Unto Death  that ultimately refers to God. Yes, the Dakota Access Pipeline now chug-lops through sacred lands while Water Protector Jessica Reznicek  writes of "battling depression" an

Books for building our block

  From the practical to the political and prosaic, here are my top picks.  Home Improvement Heather J. Paper,  Built-Ins Idea Book .  The Taunton Press, 2017. (Minuteman Library Network records linked.)  Neighborhood  What's neat about that new manhole on Partridge street, or the graffiti under the bridge? Spike Carlsen's,   A Walk Around the Block : Stoplight Secrets, Mischievous squirrels, Manhole Mysteries & Other Stuff You See Every Day (And Know Nothing About)  New York: HarperCollins, 2020.  Ask, Listen, Empower: Grounding Your Library Work in Community Engagement. Eds. Mary Davis Fournier and Sarah Ostman. Chicago: ALA, 2021.  For kids  Jarrett Dapier and Eugenia Mello,  Jazz for Lunch .  Atheneum, 2021.  Mo Willems,  Knuffle Bunny Free .  New York: Balzer, 2010.  History/Biography (For Martin Luther King Jr. Day)  Audio CD available of this biography by Tufts Professor Kerri K. Greenidge,  Black Radical: The Life and Times of William Monroe Trotter .  New York: Liv