Yusef Komunyakaa, Poetry Reading 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23

Where: Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, 121 Wall St., New Haven

Yale Collection of American Literature Reading Series

Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection

Celebrated for his powerful and carefully crafted poems, Komunyakaa has been awarded numerous prizes and honors, including the Pulitzer Prize, Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, and the Louisiana Writers Award. About his work, the poet Toi Derricotte wrote for the Kenyon Review, “[Yusef Komunyakaa] takes on the most complex moral issues, the most harrowing ugly subjects of our American life. His voice, whether it embodies the specific experiences of a black man, a soldier in Vietnam, or a child, is universal. It shows us in ever deeper ways what it is to be human.” The Beinecke Library acquired the papers of Yusef Komunyakaa in 2014.

Contact: nancy.kuhl@yale.edu

I wish only the best for you.
Peace,
love,
joy.
When we have it all,
We turn over the next morning
To face the new day.
We put on our best clothes to impress someone,
We think we can feel a change,
We think that what we could not hold onto yesterday
We now have in our hands,
Then a bird lands on the window sill,
And stands alone
And makes us realize
What we grasped so tightly yesterday,
Is exactly what we are holding today.

Christopher Zurcher May 2015

Maya Angelou Stamp Quote Actually Came From Connecticut Children’s Book Author Joan Walsh Anglund

A picture of part of one of the new Maya Angelou stamp sheets that were issues Tuesday, April 7, 2015. (photo: cjzurcher)

A picture of part of one of the new Maya Angelou stamp sheets that were issues Tuesday, April 7, 2015. (photo: cjzurcher)

The news that the U.S. Postal Service was honoring Maya Angelou, poet, author and civil rights advocate, with her own forever stamp was welcomed by her fans. Angelou, who died last year, was a cultural icon and mother figure to a generation of writers.

Jabari Asim, associate professor of writing, literature and publishing at Emerson College in Boston, was excited. Until he read the quote on the Angelou stamp:

“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”

Funny thing, he had always thought the quote came from Joan Walsh Anglund, the prolific children’s book author from Connecticut.

via Maya Angelou Stamp Quote Actually Came From Connecticut Children’s Book Author – Hartford Courant.

Feed the birds

by Christopher Zurcher

I think of the miracle of life.
The beauty of nature.
I get home and on my way from the garage to the house
I hear a chirp. It’s a cardinal chirp and, sure enough, he’s there in the tree next to the feeder.
My friend the brilliant red crested finch is calling me from the pine tree.
“Hey. Man-With-The-Seeds. We’re waiting on you.”
It’s been two days and all that’s left are some husks
in the bottom of the feeder and on the ground below.
“Alright. I’ll be right out.”
cardinal-cjzurcherAs I approach the feeder with my bucket of seeds,
the birds go crazy in the bushes.
I’ve never heard them this excited.
I pucker my lips and fake some bird sounds
as if I can tell them how pleased I am they’re here.
They continue to tweet and chirp and flutter about in the branches.
I turn up the driveway to walk back to the garage. The commotion stops.
I put the seeds on the floor of the garage and turn to watch
them return to the feeder.
At the very top of the same pine tree, the cardinal chirps
the short, shrill cardinal chirp, as if to say “thanks.”
If only I could tell him how beautiful he looks,
Bright red, dignified, important.
I go inside wondering if I he might not already know.

Bleeding Heart by Christopher Zurcher

Bleeding Heart
By Christopher Zurcher

flog me into submission you daily beast of ambition
beating your head against the concrete wall
of emails, text messages and phone calls.

my bleeding heart is no match for the blood you make run
from my forehead, my chewed hang nails, my nose, my heart,
my gums.

why don’t you take it out and show it to me in a broadcast not of beauty but of what’s happening in Africa or the Middle East? bleeding heart.

make me sick again and again with human rights abuses and corporate greed that pollutes the water that quenches the thirst of hundreds of millions of people, you beast, bleeding heart

quenches the thirst of you and me, our children and theirs. bleeding heart.

tell me it’s all in the name of nutrition, flavor, price savings and clean water and air – it’s cheap after all. bleeding heart.

it’s cheap when we pick it up at the supermarket stocked with aisles and aisles and aisles and aisles and aisles in which we lose ourselves among endless varieties of poison, a disease-making cauldron packaged as a fruitopia eutopia. bleeding heart.

my kid screams when he sees the labels of the things he wants, squeaks with feigned happiness and glee.

my kid screams when he holds the plastic that killed someone in its being made and will kill someone else in its disposal.

my phone rings. I pick it up and hand it to him.
he squeals again.

It’s his mother.

bleeding heart

flog me into submission you daily beast of ambition
beating your head against the concrete wall
of emails, text messages and phone calls.
my bleeding heart is no match for the blood you make run
from my forehead, my chewed hang nails, my nose, my heart,
my gums.

why don’t you take it out and show it to me in a broadcast not of beauty but of what’s happening in Africa or the Middle East? bleeding heart.

make me sick again and again with human rights abuses and corporate greed that pollutes the water that quenches the thirst of hundreds of millions of people, you beast, bleeding heart

quenches the thirst of you and me, our children and theirs. bleeding heart.

tell me it’s all in the name of nutrition, flavor, price savings and clean water and air – it’s cheap after all.

it’s cheap when we pick it up at the supermarket stocked with aisles and aisles and aisles and aisles and aisles
in which we lose ourselves among endless varieties of poison,
a disease-making cauldron packaged as a fruitopia eutopia

my kid screams when he sees the labels of the things he wants, squeaks with feigned happiness and glee

my kid screams when he holds the plastic that killed someone in its being made and will kill someone else in its disposal.

my phone rings. I pick it up and hand it to him.
he squeals again.
It’s his mother.

Half a City Street

By Christopher J Zurcher

A Trayvon Martin rally in New Haven (photo: cjzurcher)

A Trayvon Martin rally in New Haven (photo: cjzurcher)


Chapel and Church and
College and Orange and
Court and George and
York and Howe and
Elm and Grove
There’s a misery on the street,
a happiness, a melancholia, a wondering,
a freezing in the winter,
and a melting in the summer.
A little bit on one street
a lot of another world … a whole nother universe on another.
Where some screams are like a baby
or a woman … or a man
or a car, or an ambulance, or a bus, or a train
or just a bad commercial air conditioning unit
next to a parade with bagpipes and sirens.
Music and life.
Glee, and sadness.
A couple holds hands,
She whispers something to him.
His voice is not a whisper, though, nor does he scream it out loud.
A crowd celebrates on the Green
Another protests at City Hall
A child, waiting at the bus stop with his mother
watches and wonders
whether what those crowds are doing,
what those two groups of people are doing,
are one and the same and
just separated by half a city street.

Heavy and Wet

It landed heavy and wet on the ground
Piled up inch by inch
Morning expectedly silent

Morning sun on snow covered pine (cjzurcher)

Morning sun on snow covered pine (cjzurcher)

Plowed only once, no cars were on the street.
The governor said stay home at all costs.
It was still slippery and Marion Street was not plowed at all.
The sun was so pink and bright on the snow covered branches I had to try to take a picture of it.
It came out alright.
Plow drivers later raced back and forth, client to client,
Stopping occasionally to help a lucky someone with the snow plow detritus –
Icy boulders so heavy some driveways are impassable.
Once the sun comes out and melts the slippery sidewalks
brownies will be delivered to thank them
Then we return to work.

Released: WikiLeaks cash blockade ‘ordered’ by American ‘hard-right’ — RT

WikiLeaks has released European Commission documents which show ‘hard-right US politicians’ orchestrated an ‘extrajudicial’ banking blockade against the whistle-blowing site.

In the heavily redacted documents, MasterCard Europe “admits” US Congressmen Joseph Lieberman and Peter T. King were involved in conversations with MasterCard in the United States, WikiLeaks said Tuesday.

Lieberman, then-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, also allegedly boasted of inciting Amazon to cut its services to WikiLeaks, the group claims.

For more on this story, visit: Released: WikiLeaks cash blockade ‘ordered’ by American ‘hard-right’ — RT.