Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Brecht, Bombs, and Elm Trees: Lisel Mueller's "Triage" and Processing Tragedy

Lately I've been thinking a lot of Lisel Mueller's poem, "Triage," which I first read in an Illinois poetry class in college. "Bertolt Brecht lamented that he lived in an age when it was almost a crime to talk about trees," Mueller writes "because that meant being silent about so much evil." A German-born writer who emigrated to America at the beginning of WWII, her life bore witness to its share of historical tragedy.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

When Your Privilege Begins to Hit Home

As the descendent of 1960s liberals, I was raised with the idea that it was important to fight injustice.  Often that means continually exposing myself to painful truths that can violently rattle my sense of self as I confront my own biases.  As I watch the horrific events unfold this summer in Gaza and Ferguson, Missouri, I am grateful to my friends and colleagues on social media who have shared their stories and insights to deepen and complicate my and perspective.  

And yet sometimes you have experiences that bring home certain societal truths and revelations about privilege more painfully than any Facebook post or Salon article possibly could.