Read This Not That

Read This: #OscarsSoWhite edition

February 23, 2016

Whether or not you are gearing up to watch the Oscars broadcast this weekend, you should take time this week to read some of A. Van Jordan’s poems on film from The Cineaste. The Academy of American Poets site has one on Old Boy, a movie I hope I will never have to watch again, and another on Un Chien Andalou, a film some students couldn’t believe I …

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Read This: Witchcraft Edition

February 16, 2016

A few weeks ago, the United States Preventive Services Task Force released new recommendations for screening women for postpartum depression and other mental health issues. Maybe it’s old news by now, but if you haven’t read about it, see this article. It’s important stuff. Then read this weird poem by John Greenleaf Whittier, “The Changeling,” based on the true story of a woman accused three …

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Read This, Not That!: Gridiron Edition

February 5, 2016

Maybe you’d like an excuse to eat delicious snacks this weekend, but you don’t need to watch or read about the Super Bowl. There are plenty of other things to do while you eat your queso dip. Dave Zirin has a wealth of “counter-programming” for you, including an interview with Oakland resident Davey D on the divide between Bay Area residents and football visitors and a podcast, …

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Read This, Not That!: Diet Edition

January 17, 2016

I have been seeing a lot of articles lately about what foods you should cut out to make your New Years resolutions a reality. Take my advice: skip all that reading and add Thomas Sayers Ellis’s “The Shrimpy Grits” to your diet. The thing about “The Shrimpy Grits” is you can “Throw anything in them—cheese, bacon bits, Giuliani, / Bush I, Bush 2 and they still …

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Read This: Anti-social Network

January 9, 2016

I understand there is a new social network. I don’t know anything about Peach and I prefer not to find out. If you’re also planning to avoid it, I have a suggestion for something better. Read this poem by Jennifer Moxley:   “Dividend of the Social Opt Out” celebrates staying home from the party. If you’re not gathering followers on Peach right now, that’s …

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Read This: The Auld Lang Syne Edition

December 31, 2015

For New Year’s Eve, you could look up the lyrics to “Auld Lang Syne” so you know what you’re supposed to be singing–but instead, why not read a different Robert Burns poem? In “To a Mouse” a farmer feels sorry for plowing up a mouse’s burrow, scaring it and ruining its hard work. This poem gives us the famous but usually misquoted lines, “The best laid schemes …

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Read This, Not That!: The Force Edition

December 19, 2015

A new Star Wars movie is in the world. I have heard it is pretty okay, or better than horrible. If you care, you’ve probably already seen it in the theater, so instead of reading a(nother) review of Episode VII, try “My God, It’s Full of Stars” by Tracy K. Smith, from her Pulitzer Prize-winning Life on Mars: This poem has more science fiction than …

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Read This, Not That!

December 11, 2015

Is there a Donald behind The Donald? This weekend, rather than reading another denunciation of the leading Republican candidate’s hateful rhetoric or another expression of surprise that we’re still watching the show that shouldn’t have gone on, read this poem by T.S. Eliot about a walking caricature. “Suite Clownesque” is an early poem, one that remained largely unknown until 1996, when a notebook of Eliot’s …

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