Jeanie Thompson interviews Poet Randall Horton
Black Life, Annotated
Alice Goffman’s critically acclaimed ethnography On the Run is another story about a white lady come to study young black men. Who thought this was a good idea?
Alice Goffman’s On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American Cityis the latest installment in a sociological tradition that subjects black life to scholarly scrutiny. An “urban” ethnography of a mixed-income, black neighborhood in West Philadelphia in the early 2000s that Goffman calls 6th Street, On the Run is “an account of the prison boom and its more hidden practices of policing and surveillance as young people living in one relatively poor Black neighborhood in Philadelphia experience and understand them.” To produce this “on-the-ground account” of a “community on the run,” Goffman took on the role of participant observer.
Mentioned alongside Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow, On the Run’s many admirers say it not only reveals things that “we” do not know about what is being done to a portion of the population, it centers that population’s negotiations of an unlivability produced by policing and all-too-often drowned out by the (right, liberal, and left) white noise of calls for increased ”security.” Goffman’s admirers believe that she has provided “extraordinary” new insight into how and why black life is lived under and against occupation. They anticipate that On the Run’s reach will extend far beyond the US academy and that it will shift and extend conversations and public policy about policing. They expect, too, that it will illuminate, for those who have been able to remain blind to it, the scope and devastating impacts of the carceral state on the lives of (poor) black men and women.
Amiri Baraka reads “Rhythm Travel” at the 2008 Beyond Margins Celebration.
D.C.’s Essex Hemphill was a pioneering literary voice
Five Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships in the amount of $25,800 each (previously $15,000), will be awarded to young poets through a national competition sponsored by the Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. Established in 1989 by the Indianapolis philanthropist Ruth Lilly, the fellowships are intended to encourage the further study and writing of poetry.
The Poetry Foundation and Poetry magazine announce the 31 finalists for the 2014 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships. Thank you to all who submitted applications.
The five fellowship recipients will be announced by September 1.
2014 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship Finalists
Even the briefest encounter has the power to transform us, Gabriel García Márquez believed. Living in Paris in the late 1950s, he spotted Ernest Hemingway on the Boule Miche and, without thinking, yelled out “Emming-way!” The American did not look round, merely raised his hand. Yet the young Colombian writer interpreted his gesture as a blessing, a permission to continue—and eventually to leave us with some of the most enduring novels of the past century.
One of Márquez’s themes was love at first sight: “Love is the most important subject in the history of humanity. Some say it is death. I don’t think so, because everything is connected to love.” About his own romantic passions, though, the author remained tight-lipped. He told his biographer Gerald Martin “with the expression on his face of an undertaker determinedly closing a coffin lid back down, that ‘everyone has three lives: a public life, a private life and a secret life.’” When Martin asked if Márquez might give him access into the latter, he replied: “No, never.” If his secret life was anywhere, he intimated, it was in his books.
The home and garden of the poet Anne Spencer are lovingly restored to keep the literary connection alive
The poem is not only a piece, like other pieces of art; it is a piece full of pieces. [August Wilhelm von] Schlegel says, ‘in poetry every whole can be a part and every part really a whole.’
Langston Hughes, Arna Bontemps and Harold Jackman, 1942
photo by Carl Van Vechten
Fascinating photo. Nearly all of us know Hughes. Bontemps, also a famous poet, teacher and anthologist, was straight man in this trio, and is today far less well known. And Harold Jackman, once called the handsomest man in Harlem, was a major hub of activity and the lover of Countee Cullen, among others.