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#MatteredToMe - April 3, 2020: History, Cheer, Mending, and Surprise Joy

  1. Danny Ghitis posted a little "quarantinetet" to IG recently, and I thought it was such a jaunty tune, such a lovely little performance.
  2. William Meredith's poem "The Cheer" has such a warm-heartedness to it, I found it quite buoying. "The cheer / reader my friend, is in the words here, somewhere. / Frankly, I'd like to make you smile."
  3. This season of the podcast Scene On Radio has been exploring the history of inequality in America. They did a bonus episode last week showing how the themes they've been exploring of capitalist exploitation and anti-democracy are showing up in the current crisis. It underscores for me the importance of understanding history.
  4. Lyz Lenz wrote about growing up in an apocalyptic evangelical culture, about leaving that culture only to be faced with crisis after crisis, about offering what you can and taking time to look away. The last sentence, especially, meant a lot to me.
  5. Finally, this video from a 2009 Swell Season concert (courtesy of Stephen Thompson on an episode of Pop Culture Happy Hour this week), in which Glen Hansard pulled a singer out of the audience for an impromptu duet, was so wonderful and cathartic, and, yes, it made me cry.

As always, this is just a portion of what's mattered to me recently. I've been thinking a lot about what I need versus what I want. I hope that you're getting what you need right now. What's mattered to you lately?

Thanks, and take care.

#MatteredToMe - March 27, 2020: Quiet Beauty, Grief, and Hope

  1. Clint Smith's poem "When people say, “we have made it through worse before”" articulates something about the grief and fear and weariness of crisis—and not just this crisis—that is heavy, but the recognition of it feels like a breath.
  2. These photographs by Abraham Votroba have a quiet beauty to them that is just lovely.
  3. The breathlessness of David Baker's poem "Checkpoint," how birds and papers and interrogations and nature all run together.
  4. Cseslaw Milosz's poem "Hope" was on Poetry Daily yesterday. It showed me something new, a new way to think about hope, and I appreciated it for that.
  5. Finally, Lisel Mueller's poem "Things." At the beginning, the anthropomorphism feels funny, almost ridiculous. And yet that last line says something profound, I think, about why we do it.

As always, this is just a portion of what mattered to me recently. I hope some peace finds its way to you today. Tell me, what's mattered to you lately?

Thanks, and take care.

#MatteredToMe - March 20, 2020: Gorge, The Two Princes, Tranquillusionist

Many of you already know this, I imagine, but every Friday that I can manage, I post a little list to Facebook and Twitter of things that I read, watched, listened to, or saw that mattered to me. It's just a small thing I do to help me focus on gratitude, to tell creative people that I cared about their work, and to try to share things that others might enjoy. I've been thinking for a while that it would be nice to include these in my newsletter, and this seems like as good a time to start as any.

So, here are some things that mattered to me recently

  1. I liked how Dion O'Reilly's poem “Gorge” keeps correcting itself, and how it layers and mixes different kinds of desire. Or maybe they aren't so different.
  2. I've been listening to Gimlet Media's audio drama The Two Princes this week and it is a fun, funny, and heartwarming queer coming-of-age fantasy adventure. I like it a lot.
  3. Finally, Helen Zaltzman made a special episode of The Allusionist this week, which is just 10 minutes of her reading words submitted by her listeners that they find soothing. It's such a lovely and gentle bit of generosity from a podcaster I admire. I got pretty emotional listening to it, honestly.

As always, this is just a portion of what mattered to me recently. It's been a little challenging for me to keep up with everything lately, but that's okay. I'm trying my best, and I know you are, too.

Thank you, and take care.