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Where is Fall?


Hello Inksters!

It’s been a long time. Too long. But I hope you were off finding inspiration right where you are.

We’re back…and just in time for the start of Fall, or Autumn. I know we don’t want to let go of summer and Fall is not yet officially here. But we are starting to see early signs of it. In the Northeast United States, Fall is a dramatic season. Green leaves dress in brilliant oranges,reds, and yellows. The air turns crisp (Sometimes. Eventually…It’s been quite warm recently in New Hampshire!). People go apple picking. We are all in school. So, today’s inkspiration invites us to pay close attention to Fall.

Your inkspiration today is to go outside and find Fall. Where is Fall where you live? Is it in the colorful fallen leaves on the ground? At the tips of mountain ranges? It is on a calendar hanging on a wall? Do you smell it in the air’s crispness? Do you taste it in homemade or store purchased apple pies? Is it sitting on your steps in the form of a pumpkin waiting for decorations? Or is it in your early dreams of Halloween fun? Wherever it is, go out and find it! Then sit with it for a while and write about it in your journals. Sketch it, too. Use all your senses and your deep imaginations to capture early Fall on the page.

But, you might be wondering, what if you live in a place where Fall doesn’t happen in a dramatic way? Well, then write a piece that captures the specifics of your place now. Or write a story where you imagine how Fall might make its way to you.

Please send your Fall our way by replying to this post.

Happy Writing and Happy Fall!


How Does Poetry Matter?

“Poetry is aloud or it is nothing,” renown poet C.K. Williams declares with the perceptive precision of a poet.   Williams is thrilled to return for the fourth time to the Dodge Poetry Festival in Newark, NJ where, for four day, arts venues, churches, and other spaces will resound with words spoken, listened to, discussed, celebrated. As he prepares for the festival this week, he relishes in the opportunity to share his poems at such an energizing cultural event for poetry. “I’m excited especially for Student Day,” Williams shared with me in a recent telephone interview. “It is fascinating, the way these students connect with poetry. Poetry matters to them, and that sticks with me.”
Williams grew up in Newark, NJ until he was 14 years old, when his parents “decided to become part of urban flight” and moved the family and, later, the family business, out of Newark. Williams explains that this “urban flight,” and Newark in particular as a sort of early negative model of urban devastation through flight to the suburbs, has long fascinated and concerned him. He recognizes that Newark — the city and its people — face significant economic and other problems still, but he is also pleased that the city is seeing “a renaissance that has, so far, allowed it to recover to the point where, among other things, it can host such a large cultural event like the poetry festival. I’m very pleased by it.”
For Williams, poems emerge from cities. His poetry draws our attention to urban spaces, to the ways in which they pulse with layers of interaction often missed. He has written many poems about Newark, and his oeuvre is full of poems about urban spaces and the everyday lived experiences within them. Interactions on trains in particular capture his attention. The subway in New York City and Philadelphia and the Metro in Paris run through a good deal of his “subway poems.” “I’ve been a city person all my life,” shares Williams, “and I have a kind of umbilical cord attaching me to the city. I suppose since most of civilization, for good or ill, happens in cities, they are centers of civilization for me, a kind of laboratory,”
Although Williams has written poems about the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, and other social justice movements and concerns, he does not view himself as a “Social Poet,” as some critics have called him. “It is inevitable,” insists Williams. “As a poet, you have to write about what is around you — the good exhaultations and the bad tensions, about other people — if you are paying attention.”
Paying attention — this is indeed the phrase that captures William’ practice and production as a poet. His poetry brings such precise, careful, humane, perceptive, vital attention to out contemporary world. His characteristically long, flexible poetic lines read with probing curiosity, with a deep desire to bring attentiveness and voice to people and moments often unnoticed. And in the reading of and listening to it, we, too, are reminded of the importance of bearing witness to the complex nature of our everyday lives. This is how poetry matters.
If you find yourself traveling to the Dodge Poetry Festival on NJTransit, read the following subway poem, “On the Metro” along the way. Read its long, almost prose-like lines as you sit on the long, winding train. Think about the ways in which this poem offers a single extended moment on the train, intently and intimately observed. Perhaps you’ll have a chance to ask Williams about the poem when you see him at the festival:

What Republicans Can Afford

I’ve been thinking about the constant Republican drone calling for smaller government and larger incentives to the private sector. To my knowledge, Republicans are rarely, if ever, called on the consequences of shrinking government. Now, I’m all for a more efficient government, but shrinking government merely for the sake of making it smaller does result in fewer jobs and, therefore, is a way to maintain or raise the unemployment rate in this country despite any stimulus success. Private sector jobs have increased, but, at the same time, public sector opportunities are decreasing. Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, NJ, is talking about needing to cut 1/3 of his workforce because of budget cuts called on from our NJ governor.

Of course, these cuts may trim the fat. But, what they also do is get rid of needed teachers, law enforcement, libraries, etc. The other thing is that Republicans can afford to live with a smaller government. If public schools are ineffective or understaffed, parents with means can send their children to private school. And, yes, I know that all Republicans are not rich, but the ones who are vocal enough to keep this drone going and to get Americans who don’t listen closely to buy into the call for small government are not hurting for cash.

If we’re going to cut unemployment in this country, if we are going to provide adequate (at least) health care to our citizens, if we are going to provide good education for everyone, then we need a sizeable government to support that. We need to invest in those areas of government that will help grow our future. We need public sector job options. Otherwise, the public sector will inherit the burden and responsibility of supporting those people whom the private sector can’t employ, won’t train, or fails to recognize.