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Monthly Archives: December 2015

[Call For Submissions] 2016 MLK Essay Contest

In a year characterized by racial urgency, the local Martin Luther King Jr. essay contest is expanding to accept entries from students, faculty and staff at Cuyahoga Community College, as well as those at Case Western Reserve University. Participants are invited to reflect on King's connection to Cleveland and the fight for equal rights in our backyard. (King first visited Cleveland in 1956 to speak about the Montgomery Bus Boycott, returning often to raise funds, campaign for Carl Stokes' bid for mayor and help organize a local boycott.) The essays should reflect the themes in King's first book, Stride Toward Freedom, which won an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in 1958. Winners will receive a monetary prize and a copy of one of King's books. Sponsors include the Cleveland Humanities... Read More →

When Children Feel Invisible: Joesiah Poulson at the 80th Annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards

by Ali McClain The beginning movements of this essay began with a complex question: Which author’s reading from the 80th Annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards would I choose to reflect upon? I describe the question as complex because while each award recipient—Jericho Brown, Marilyn Chin, Marlon James and Richard S. Dunn—gave memorable readings, I found myself wanting to reflect on the writer (a non-recipient of the award) whose work struck me the most with feelings of anger, bleakness and dignity.  I chose Joesiah Poulson, who commenced the readings with his unforgettable poem, “Am I Invisible?” He wrote this while still in fourth grade, using it to explore, document and investigate struggle and self-doubt.  I had to choose Joesiah. Ronn Richards, CEO of the Cleveland... Read More →

[In Their Words] Examining The Runaway Success Of A Brief History Of Seven Killings

by Dr. Anand Bhat In 2007, when I asked my driver in Caracas if evangelical Christianity had been making its way into the oil-rich jungles of Venezuela, he nodded, smiled, and said, “Yes, they say officially they are here for the Church of Pentecost, but I think they are here for the Church of the CIA.”  In every developing nation, that nod and that smile and that second story represent the beginning of almost every great storytelling session I have had about recent history and current events. Listen to me now.  Me warn him… Long time I drop warnings that other people close, friend and enemy, was going get him in a whole heap o’trouble.  Every one of we know at least one, don’t it?  Always have a notion but never come up with a single idea.  Always working plenty of... Read More →

Roxane Gay On Being A Public Intellectual In The Age Of Social Media

Twitter was made for pithy public intellectuals like Roxane Gay. Nearly 100,000 people follow the author and professor for her perspective on everything from the the 2016 presidential race to her growing obsession with HGTV shows. (She hate-watches House Hunters, like most people.) Her latest two books—Bad Feminist, a collection of essays on gender, race and competitive Scrabble, and her debut novel, An Untamed State, about the aftermath of a Haitian woman's kidnapping—were published in 2014. But pairing a high profile with two books in a single year  creates at least one drawback: "The more you're read, the more 'crazy' reads your work.” Sitting comfortably in front of her audience last month at the University of Akron, Gay, 41, shared that her increased visibility has led to... Read More →
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