Linked Breath

To see and be otherwise will mean that we must look differently and act differently, make connections when many social forces encourage us to interpret in silos. How often have you thought about how breath—literally and metaphorically—links many issues of social inequality?

Musicals, Known and Unknown

In different ways, the books under review offer alternative perspectives on what is arguably the most polarizing of film genres. All three are by established film historians who have written extensively on specific eras and themes. Yet of the three texts only Hollywood Musicals You Missed opens up fresh lines of inquiry.

Remembering Bill Danforth

What does it mean to be great, after all?  In taking Bill’s measure, I think about Freedom and Fate, the poles around which all human lives orbit. Most of us keep them in a poor balance, misusing, abusing, and wasting our Freedom, cursing and railing against our Fate. Bill kept such an equipoise of these Lords of our Life, an easy meshing of the exuberance of Freedom and the acceptance of Fate.

Into the Woods

Trees have felt significant, relational, to poets and priests and philosophers for centuries. The symmetry of this partnership is surprising, when you think how lopsided the scales are: Trees shade and shelter and furnish and feed us, and we … clear-cut them. Or hug them and get mocked. Or alter the environment, and watch them charred by wildfires or pulled up by their roots.

Remembering Ronald Fair

Nineteen seventy-two saw the publication of the autobiographical novel We Can’t Breathe. For several years, aided by several writing grants, Ronald Fair traveled abroad, pursuing a writing life of great ambition. In the early seventies critic Shane Stevens called him “one of the two best black writers in the country.” Yet this promise somehow never came to full fruition.