I’m over at LitHub today, with the opening essay to a new feature in the Virginia Quarterly Review. The print issue, on Citizenship, is well worth a read – and VQR in general is one of the best journals out there. Here’s an excerpt (below). You can read the complete essay here. . . .
This is a story in two parts. And this picture has nothing to do with it, but it’s a cool photograph. Because even though I grew up in a place where a leather jacket would be truly odd to own and even odder to don, I think it’s kind of cool. . . .
Over there on Huffington Post taking about the elections. You can read the full article here. Below, a taste. Affecting change takes time and diligence and real effort. It takes discipline and thoughtfulness and a full on commitment to holding feet to fires and noses to grindstones. It doesn’t come from signing . . .
Philip Weiss, who attended the launch of Extraordinary Rendition: (American) Writers on Palestine, at the Center for Fiction, covered the event for Mondoweiss. Here is an excerpt. “In yet another sign that solidarity with Palestinians is now a central political value of liberal/left American culture, about 150 people jammed a room in . . .
I read a tweet yesterday that kind of broke my heart a little. Someone I know and like said they did not believe in boycotts because they had “fought too hard to be included.” The person in question was referring to the PEN controversy. My own feelings about the attacks on Charlie . . .
I had grand plans this morning. I was going to open up my various pieces of writing and send them off to sundry recepients from my agent to editors at journals near and far. Instead I’m sitting here feeling slightly paralyzed by my feelings about the attacks in Paris, and the response . . .
I have been listening to the run up to the celebrations of this day, and of course the speeches made today at the Lincoln Memorial. It is strange that the first time I heard about that memorial, it was through my mother and father speaking to me about Marian Anderson. My mother . . .
At the bottom of this post is the close of James Baldwin’s 1963 essay, ‘A Talk to Teachers,’ which opens the collection of essays, Multi-cultural Literacy (Rick Simonson and Scott Walker, Eds. Graywolf Press, 1988), that I began to read a few days ago. I began to read this book looking for . . .
I have a good friend, a dear one who does all kinds of favors for me, practical ones and impractical outrageous ones. Mostly, she listens to me. She reminds me of home. Recently I had a chance to visit her where she now lives, both of us far from the place where . . .
It is rare for me to talk about my personal life as it pertains to my immediate family and I know that grates on some people. There’s a reason for that, explained perhaps most clearly in this article I wrote for The Debutante’s Ball upon the publication of my first novel. Every . . .
This is a complicated topic for me so I’m going to mull rather than follow my usual M.O. and pronounce! I’m really interested in knowing what people think – and please, a real conversation, not a bandwagon holler from one POV or the other. I’d have written this as an op ed . . .
Cable came to our house only on the heels of a Phillies season that had to be watched. I still don’t know how to use it or what to watch. There was a time when the small resident thought that TV meant the McNeil-Lehrer News Hour. She and by then her sisters . . .
I’m over at the Huffington Post with the political POV on the Newtown massacre. Herewith, an excerpt (below). You can read the full article here. As human beings, we mourn for the innocents who had not yet learned to fear, who might have stood and gazed at their assailant, not undertanding his . . .
Was the debate upsetting? Hell yeah and for a number of reasons, including the fact that my twitter account suddenly froze me out for having more than 1000 tweets – not possible! Mostly, it had to do with expectation. I expected the Prez to wipe the floor with the skanky scum-bucket that . . .
On August 3, 2006, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelem (LTTE),slaughtered over 100 Muslim civilians including women and children at Pachchanoor, Sri Lanka. Before then, the LTTE butchered 103 Muslims while they wre praying in the grand mosque of Kattankudiy in the coastal city of Batticaloa. You can see the images of . . .
Just yesterday I posted on FB that I had “99 problems” and was trying to whittle them down to 98. I was feeling overwhelmed. I have two out of state meetings/conferences to go to, one of which involves a flight, sub-zero temperatures and 10,000 other people. I have mountains of readings to . . .
Here is the second guest post (the first was from Rhiannon Richardson), from the Montgomery County Community College Writers’ Festival workshop. Linda Hubbard-Cooke writes: “I grew up in a small town on Lake Erie in northern Ohio and have lived the past 17 years in suburban Philadelphia with my husband and two . . .
I say what I think. Perhaps that’s a bit of an understatement. I say what I think about a multitude of things and often when I’m saying what I think I am in direct conflict with what a majority of people may be thinking about the same thing, or I am at . . .
The wars that permeated my childhood were those that were internal to my country, Sri Lanka. Therefore everybody was involved. There was no refuge from it, no matter your social status, particularly if you were male. You could be killed going to market, you could be abducted from your dorm-room, you could . . .
I am over at The Rumpus with a review on Steve Almond’s new collection of fiction, God Bless America(Lookout Books/UNC Wilmington, October 2011). You can read the whole post here. Below, a short excerpt: …God Bless America, a collection that should be seen as part of a body of work intent on . . .
I am over at the Huffington Post and Common Dreams today, writing about tomorrow’s request from the Palestinian Authority that the State of Palestine be recognized as a member of the United Nations. Here’s an excerpt: It has been 36 years since the UN adopted General Assembly Resolution 3379 condemning Zionism as . . .
I’m over at the Huffington Post today, writing about Clinton’s recent visit to India and her meeting with the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu (and ardent supporter of the LTTE and separatism), J. Jayalalitha. You can read the full article here. Here’s an excerpt: It is usually the case that America’s foreign . . .
This is a piece from a speech I gave not too long ago. A person who was there wrote me a lovely note and asked me to post the text of this particular section and so, here goes: Perhaps the constant for any immigrant is our disassociation with a specific place even . . .
Last year, around this time, I was getting ready to fly home to Sri Lanka to attend the Galle Literary Festival, an event I reflected on afterward in a post titled ‘The Dutch, The British and the Galle Literary Festival,’ a post meant to consider its many pluses as well as suggest . . .
A few years ago, when I was working at an elite liberal arts college, I held a freelance job as a writer for the college magazine. Part of my duties included covering speakers who came to campus, one of whom was Cornel West. The piece I wrote, ‘Single Man March,’ was drawn . . .
So I watched the movie, Waiting for Superman, on opening night here at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute. And, yes, I’ve linked the film to the website that allows people to take action rather than the one that allows people to find showtimes because action is necessary and showtimes are easy to . . .
I was listening to NPR’s morning edition in my car a couple of days ago when a segment on Iraq and Afghanistan came on. It began this way: The U.S. has officially ended its combat mission in Iraq, while tens of thousands of extra U.S. troops deployed to Afghanistan are moving into . . .
I became a citizen of the United States on the eve of the invasion of Iraq. Sitting in a room at the University of Maine, I listened to a speech made by a senior administrator at the university that spoke not of the benefits of citizenship but of its responsibilities: to participate . . .
I’m over at The Rumpus today in a “mini” conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author, Lorraine Adams. You can read the full text – it is short, by definition – here. Even more brief excerpt below: Adams: No one ever asked me this. But you’ve hit on why I don’t write . . .
Poor. Poverty. Impoverishment. I’ve heard these words bandied about a lot recently. That last one in particular is a funny word. It sounds as though the state of being poor is a fact, that “impoverishment” is endemic to the place that is suffering from the condition. And yet, what impoverish actually means . . .
Earlier this year I gave a couple of speeches, one at the State Department and another to an assorted collection of expatriates and Sri Lankans courtesy of the American embassy in Sri Lanka. The speech was on immigration, emigration and writing. Part of what I spoke about involved a sort of meditation . . .
Today my best friend celebrates his birthday in a state, New York, which denies him and many of his friends basic rights and benefits that the rest of us take for granted. As I think about that, I am reminded of a Fall morning many years ago, when I sat in a . . .
Okay, so I have to confess that I didn’t make up that title. I got that from CREDO a while back when the GOP was shouting about reforming Wall Street and it now graces the back of my vehicle. As is quoted on the CREDO website, Republicans like Bachmann and Beck are . . .
I was born in a country usually described by those subscribing to the dominant paradigm of development as being poor and developing. Year after year, beginning from first grade, in our classrooms both public and private (we have a national curriculum), we learned mathematics, reading and writing, but also world history. We . . .
Haters – slang, defines those who have nothing positive to say about anything or anybody, and feel somebody else owes them everything and, if they don’t give them everything, they deserve to be hated. They are people mad at the world but probably simply mad at themselves, as pointed out here, or . . .
This was an article that I wrote which was was intended for a news source here in the U.S. I am re-posting it here with the necessary links. On Sunday, the NYT put Sri Lanka at number one on its list of places to go in 2010: “For a quarter century, Sri . . .
I am over at The Debutante Ball today, blogging on the topic of ‘Day Jobs,’ which I have contrived to turn into a discussion of the way in which the industry responds to women writers v. male writers. Here’s a clip: Women writers are rarely profiled with baby on hip and hand . . .
There are things for which we are never prepared. Childbirth is one of them. The loss of a mother is another. It has been said that, as human beings, there are only three or so significant decisions that we make: whom we marry, whether or not to have children, where we choose . . .
When I first began blogging, I did it every day. I considered it a writing exercise that combined both the business of staying in touch with that of political commentary. A month or so into that I found that I was writing every few days and then once a week. It takes . . .
It’s been a couple of weeks since I got back from Chicago, but the conversation which I wanted to write about then is still on my mind and will be for a while. There was a bottle of wine and a group of writers discussing the matter of America, what could be . . .
Well, I don’t know if I have swine flu. Maybe the question is, how would anybody ever escape any viral virulence when all I see are germs – on the train, in the metro, public rest rooms (which I prefer to call public distress room!), and the head-rests of seats anywhere. The . . .
I should have written this while I was still sneezing among the dogwood, tulips and cherry blossoms, but DC has a way of taking up all available space, time and mind and I have a way of dancing to the music… I was in the area for a multitude of reasons: community . . .
The photographs coming out of the Summit of the Americas, to which Cuba may soon return, are heart-warming in more ways than one. The absence of a shifty eyed, inarticulate representative from the United States and the presence of a new president on whom all of the member states, as well as . . .
So everybody has heard, by now, that the Boston Globe was threatened with closure by its owner, the NYT Co. The demand is for the unions to agree to $20 million worth of concessions: Executives from the Times Co. and Globe made the demands Thursday morning in an approximately 90- minute meeting . . .
So, I knew this already, truly, I’m that much of a dorkish digger of obscure factoids. Today’s Daily Beast line up of the famous and their courses of undergraduate study featured the enigmatic Rahm Emanuel and the revelation that the White House Chief of Staff passed up the Joffrey Ballet to study . . .