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poetry

“To Give a Being Like Me Language” – Akwaeke Emezi on Toni Morrison

After Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison died just a few days ago, I thought a lot about what her work meant to me, and I read a lot of tributes to her. The piece of writing that struck me most is this letter by nonbinary writer/ogbanje Akwaeke Emezi: The elderspirit of you leapt into my head […]

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Toni Morrison on Embracing Failure as Information

It’s as though you’re in a laboratory and you’re working on an experiment with chemicals or with rats, and it doesn’t work. It doesn’t mix. You don’t throw up your hands and run out of the lab. What you do is you identify the procedure and what went wrong and then correct it. If you […]

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Books I Read in August

August’s been a pretty good month reading-wise. I finished a novel and read another for the #2016classicschallenge – Ingrid Bachmann’s Malina and Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon – and a wide range of other books: Ingrid Bachmann: Malina I picked up this book at my parent’s one weekend in July, and decided to read the […]

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npr: cartermagazine: February 18, 2016 Today In History ‘Toni Morrison, writer and the first Black woman to be awarded the “Nobel Prize in Literature,” was born in Lorian, OH, on this date February 18, 1931. Morrison received the “Pulitzer Prize” for her book, Beloved, in 1988.’ (photo: Toni Morrison) – CARTER Magazine Happy birthday to […]

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Happiness is not good enough. Don’t rest on happiness. I mean it’s okay and I hope you are all happy, but we got to do more than that. Toni Morrison Just one of many thought-provoking statements by Morrison in a 2010 conversation with Angela Davis on libraries, literacy, and liberation (and so  much more) The […]

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Black Children Matter

I basically inhaled Toni Morrison’s new novel God Help the Child because it left me breathless. It’s a short novel, but it  is so rich in everything: Language, narrative perspectives, themes, settings, characters. The prose is poetic, not as in lovely-beautiful but as in dense with emotional and intellectual heft. Characters and themes are true […]

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Critics generally don’t associate Black people with ideas. They see marginal people; they see just another story about Black folks. They regard the whole thing as sociologically interesting perhaps, but very parochial. There’s a notion out in the land that there are human beings one writes about, and then there are Black people or Indians […]

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Word-work is sublime, she thinks, because it is generative; it makes meaning that secures our difference, our human difference – the way in which we are like no other life. We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives. Toni Morrison: Nobel Lecture […]

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Tough Teen Writing

Matt de la Peña, wrote a short, beautiful essay for NPR’s Code Switch blog on the hope and perspective reading and writing can give struggling teens and adults from difficult backgrounds like macho working-class or street gangs:  My professor said something I will never forget when I went and talked to her the following week. Even […]

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“When I’m not thinking about a novel, or not actually writing it, it’s not very good; the 21st century is not a very nice place. I need it (writing) to just stay steady, emotionally,” she says. Nobel laureate Toni Morrison discusses the meaning of home and ‘Home,’ her new novel – The Washington Post