Paul Christensen: Portrait of the Artist | James Dickey

Vox Populi

I have long admired the poet James Dickey. He was popular in the ‘60s with his muscular, fear-nothing lyrics in early books like Drowning with Others and Helmets, which vividly narrate his Army Air Force days in WWII and the Korean Conflict. I was a young reader when I came upon him and may not have understood much of what he was saying in those powerful later poems in Buckdancer’s Choice, but I did note the clean rhythms, the force that drove his phrases down the page.

In a stable of boats I lie still,

From all sleeping children hidden.

The leap of a fish from its shadow

Makes the whole lake instantly tremble.

With my foot on the water, I feel

The moon outside. (“The Lifeguard”)

He had learned compression as an advertising writer in Atlanta. One of his accounts was Coca Cola, headquartered nearby. “I sold…

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William Astore: Back to the Future at the Pentagon

Very insightful exploration of America’s seemingly inescapable militaristic mindset. Via Vox Populi…

Vox Populi

Why 2021 Looks So Much Like 1981 — And Why That Should Scare Us.

The future isn’t what it used to be. As a teenager in the 1970s, I watched a lot of TV science fiction shows, notably Space: 1999 and UFO, that imagined a near future of major moon bases and alien attacks on Earth. Movies of that era like Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey envisioned colossal spaceships and space stations featuring international crews on mind-blowing missions to Jupiter and beyond. Who’d have thought that, 20 years after Kubrick’s alternate reality of 2001, we humans would effectively be marooned on a warming “sixth extinction” planet with no moon bases and, to the best of my knowledge, no alien attacks either.

Sure, there’s been progress of a sort in the heavens. Elon Musk’s Space X may keepgoing downin flames, but the Chinese now…

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Anna Gotlibis: Trauma unmakes the world of the self. Can stories repair it?

Vox Populi

Humanbeings are storytellingcreatures: we spin narratives in order to construct our world. Whether on the cave walls of Lascaux or the golden record stored on theVoyagerspacecraft, we want to share our selves and what matters to us through words, actions, even silence. Self-making narratives create the maps of the totality of our physical reality and experiences – or, as philosophers sometimes say, of thelifeworldsthat we inhabit. And just as narratives can create worlds, they can also destroy them.

Trauma, in its many guises, has been part of these narratives since time immemorial, often by shattering the topographies of our lifeworlds. Breaking our most fundamental, most taken-for-granted means of self-understanding, it replaces our familiar narratives with something dreadful, something uncanny, sometimes something unspeakable.

What is trauma? Rather than just fear or guilt or unwanted memories, trauma is a totalising force that unmakes our worlds, leading to…

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Belle Chesler: Will Public Schools Survive Covid-19?

Powerful testimony from the cliff’s edge…

Vox Populi

The “Great” Reopening

So let’s just call the situation what it is: a misguided attempt to prop up an economy failing at near Great Depression levels because federal, state, and local governments have been remarkably unwilling to make public policy grounded in evidence-based science. In other words, we’re living in a nation struggling to come to terms with the deadly repercussions of a social safety net gutted even before the virus reached our shores and decisionsguided bythe most self-interested kind of politics rather than the public good.

Seventeen years ago, against the advice of my parents, I decided to become a public school teacher. Once I did, both my mother and father, educators themselves, warned me that choosing to teach was to invite attacks from those who viewed the profession with derision and contempt. They advised me to stay strong and push through when budgets were cut, my…

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Sandy Solomon: Lost, Departed, Late

Heartbreaking. This is what poetry is for.

Vox Populi

In the Serengeti four elephants rest without heads,
bodies rising like boulders from the plain,
their slight, curling trunks uprooted beside them
as buzzards fall and, greedy, rend,
and day spreads, red, automatic, rifled.
Watch for a long time the great, gray hulls
hacked at the neck, intimate loads of muscle
and blood overflowing the ground, a rose 
that shocks the drab olive-brown scrub 
and ground and glistens on the moving beaks.
Oh where are the long, bony foreheads,
thin wings of ears, mouths that seemed to smile
while chewing acacia leaves or grass,
debonair tusks jutting like stiff, white mustaches? 
Where the bag men, where the keepers?
Ask the horizon, empty of gesture.
Ask the browsing chorus that always arrives in time.

Copyright 1996 Sandy Solomon. First published in Pears,
Lake, Sun by University of Pittsburgh Press. Included in
Vox Populi by permission…

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Video: Blue

Vox Populi


I. of a colour intermediate between green and violet, as of the sky or sea on a sunny day.
“the clear blue sky”

II. (of a person or mood) melancholy, sad, or depressed.
“he’s feeling blue”

Filmed across NSW, Australia, BLUE is the latest short from Dom West, following Joe Atkinson, a professional Inline Skater at the peak of his athletic abilities. In a sport that is all too often overlooked or misrepresented, through Joe’s movements, the film attempts to showcase both the artistic aesthetic and the meditative state that the act of inline skating offers.

Over the past two decades Dom’s passion for the moving image has developed into an obsession. A self-taught filmmaker with strong roots in extreme sports productions, Dom combines the aesthetic of DIY documentary filmmaking with high end cinematography.​

Featuring | Joe Atkinson
Directed by | Dom West

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Reverend Dr. Liz Theoharis, Stephen Miles: Dismantle the War Economy

Vox Populi

To create real security, we must slash the Pentagon budget and invest in meeting everyone’s basic human needs.

2020 began with a near-war with Iran – the deadly upshot of a bomb-first-ask-questions-later approach to world affairs.

Then came a pandemic – a public health disaster made all the more lethal by our leadership’s utter indifference to the lives of the people, especially the poor and people of color.

Then the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade. Three more names to the list of Black lives that didn’t matter to the state. An eruption of righteous rage. Even more police brutality in response.

The lesson of these historic months is clear: funneling trillions of dollars into institutions designed to violently protect the status quo – be they police or military – does not make ourselves, our loved ones, or our communities safer. Police budgets account for 30-60% of…

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Justin Vicari: Encounters with Rimbaud

Very inspiring encounter with Rimbaud.

Vox Populi

Golden Age 

 One of those always
 angelic voices
 — it echoes in both ears, —
 cuts through my haze:

 this rhizome
 of a thousand questions
 leads nowhere
 but drinking, madness;

 embrace this tower,
 so pleasant, so simple:
 it’s only wave, flora,
 and it’s your family!

 Then she starts singing. O!
 so pleasant, so simple,
 visible to the naked eye …
 — I sing with her, —

 embrace this tower,
 so pleasant, so simple:
 it’s only wave, flora,
 and it’s your family! … etcetera …

 Then, one voice
 — it isn’t angelic? — echoes around me, putting matters clear; and suddenly sings, my breathsister: with German tone yet passionate, round: the world is vicious if this even shocks us. See the unexplained disaster let it burn O pretty chateau how bright your life From what Era are you, princely character of our wondrous brother? etcetera … I too am singing: multiple…

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