Seattle Book Clubs Discuss Abortion

We librarians often witness how life and literature interact, as topics of real world interest to our patrons swiftly show up in requests for reading material, and especially in titles for book clubs. One of the best things about such groups is how the focus on a book can help people to discuss a topic they might not otherwise broach. It comes as no surprise then that lately discussion groups have been requesting fiction that spans the spectrum of the abortion experience. Here are some of the books we’ve been suggesting.

Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
After graduating from nursing school, Civil Townsend returns home  to Montgomery, Alabama, and takes a job at a family planning clinic. She soon meets the Williams sisters and is assigned to provide them with birth control – though neither have started their periods nor are sexually active. Civil questions this practice and vows to make a difference. Based on the court case RELF V. WEINBERGER this novel shines a light on the history of coerced sterilizations and the struggle for reproductive rights, especially for women of color.

Daddy’s Gone A-hunting by Penelope Mortimer
Originally published in 1958, this novel was just reprinted. Ruth struggles with being a housewife in the suburbs of London. With the children off to boarding school, the house is stifled by her marriage and her struggle for freedom in an era where a women’s place was her home. When her daughter comes home pregnant, Ruth is terrified that the same life will befall her daughter and tries to arrange an illegal abortion. 

Dele Weds Destiny by Tomi Obaro
Funmi, Enitan, and Zainab’s friendship begin in 1983 while attending university in their country of Nigeria. It’s been a few decades since these friends have been in the same room, but here they are at Funmi’s daughter’s wedding in Lagos. The history of their friendship unfolds for the reader – filled with the ups and downs of long friendships and the relationships mothers have with their daughters. Continue reading “Seattle Book Clubs Discuss Abortion”

What Happens When Poetry Propagates a Nation?

Citizens, the month of harvest is here. Celebrate National Poetry Month.

Here comes, once again, An American Sunrise. Arrived, once again, a proliferation of poetry; each poem The Winged Seed of a thousand thoughts.

From whence do they come, these Words Like Thunder? Of course, from poets, those propagating Children of Grass who Forage for Earth Vowels, Mosses and Lichens, all the while seeking The Clearing, some clear view in the distance to get to the end of the poem, the manuscript, the line.

Poets Carrying Water to the Field have to learn How to Carry Water. They have to, carefully, tend to Pale Colors in a Tall Field until music, Field Music, fills air and it goes abuzz with Everyday Mojo Songs of Earth. Continue reading “What Happens When Poetry Propagates a Nation?”

Jacob Lawrence’s American Struggle

In March, the Seattle Art Museum will host a timely exhibition, Jacob Lawrence:  The American Struggle. Best known for his work The Migration Series, Lawrence set his sight on the American Revolution creating a series of 30 painted panels between 1954 and 1956, focusing on historical events occurring from 1775 to 1817. It is interesting to note that Lawrence developed this series during another time of struggle and strife in the country, the Civil Rights era.

The Seattle Art Museum’s show will reunite these works for the first time since 1958.

For some artists, their work is to create visual narratives. Through their work they provide their singular perspective on historical events. Such is the work of Jacob Lawrence. Lawrence brings us to key moments of a history centuries away that, yet, links to the present.

Today, One Mighty and Irresistible Tide of history sweeps over the nation. As you are well aware, we have been visited upon by multiple, simultaneous struggles that have swept us up Against Wind and Tide of forces unforeseen in our lifetime. Continue reading “Jacob Lawrence’s American Struggle”

Thirty Names of Night

Come December’s shortest days, there are, amongst us, those who relish Burning the Midnight Oil, who revel in every blue-black hour’s saturating presence.  These Night Bloomers, Know the Night, The Long Night, Faithful and Virtuous Night understand that as each day’s darkness lengthens its translucent filaments entwine with time’s endless line.  This is the story, the same story read, every December by every eye witnessing the work of the earth. Here, evidence that this sphere rotates beneath us as we traverse by foot, wheel or wonder.  We will go about our busyness, taking care or carelessly moving on with worry, wit and resolve to rejoice, live and die, in the best way possible, knowing that that cloak of sky And the Dark Sacred Night, will recede, just like that, every day and its night rounding the corner.

Continue reading “Thirty Names of Night”

Wintering Over: Art in Shades of Dark and Light

Winter, like life, comes in shades of dark and light. Herein lies the drama of an indispensable duo meant to be seen, in multitudes of splendor, in paintings photographs and drawings.

Let us go into the season with an Invocation of Beauty seeking not, its Genesis but Graciela Iturbide’s Mexico and Antonio Berni’s Juanito and Ramona.

Let us bask in some Remembered Light knowing that The Disappearance of Darkness cannot erase our Night Vision for it is vision we are seeking. It is a widening, expansive vision that we need to see us through. Continue reading “Wintering Over: Art in Shades of Dark and Light”