I’m pleased to announce that The Columbia Review has published my essay “Zora Neale Hurston on Being Black in America, Ninety Years Later” on their website (the title has been changed to the one you see in the title of this post). If you have a chance click over there and give them a visit. Thanks!
I originally planned to post this for Gregorian New Years, but that didn’t happen. So then I thought, given the theme of this blog, isn’t Chinese New Year even better? So to start off my Chinese New Year celebrations, here is a list of books, stories, and essays I read during the last Chinese lunar year. Continue reading
Langston Hughes is one of those poets whose work appealed to me as a young person–I think I was in ninth grade when I first read his poetry–and has only continued to grow in my estimation since then. Continue reading
[UPDATE: I’m pleased to let you know that this essay has been published on The Columbia Review‘s website.] Commencement season at Barnard College this year will mark the ninetieth anniversary of Zora Neale Hurston’s graduation with a BA in anthropology. As a graduate of Barnard’s sister institution, Columbia University, I feel the time is more than ripe to reflect on some of Hurston’s contributions. Continue reading
Ever since I read J.R.R. Tolkien’s essay “Fairy-Stories,” I’ve wanted to write a post about it. Then Ursula Le Guin’s new collection No Time to Spare came out, and I wanted to include some of her comments too. So far, so good, two of my favorite authors backing up several points on which I’m quite passionate. Then Continue reading
My family and I recently made a spur-of-the-moment trip to Beijing. My wife and I met in Beijing and spent several years living there. We still have a number of friends there. In fact, they’re probably the closest we have. Close enough that when we texted them on Saturday morning to let them know we were in town they all met us for dinner on Saturday night. Continue reading
I want to talk today about Keats’s sonnets. I’ve always liked Keats—it’s hard to imagine not liking Keats—but I’ve mostly read his odes. Is it possible to graduate from an English-language high school without reading “Ode to a Grecian Urn?” I certainly hope not. But I honestly can’t recall ever reading any of his sonnets except for “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer.” I didn’t know what I was missing. Continue reading
I am pleased to be able to share another song from my friend, José Marcelino. I should have shared this one in May, but I’ve been busy. Continue reading
Today is the first day of the holiest of all Bahá’í festivals, Riḍván (usually pronounced as it is in Farsi: rihz-vahn). The name means “Paradise” and was the name Bahá’u’lláh, the Messenger of God for this day whose teaching formed the Bahá’í Faith, gave to the garden just outside of Baghdad where he formally announced his Mission to his family and closest followers. The twelve days of Riḍván commemorate the twelve days Bahá’u’lláh spent in that garden.
The writings of the Bahá’í Faith speak highly of the power of the arts. When used properly they can uplift the soul, ennoble the spirit, and serve as a great force of attraction drawing humanity together. Continue reading
I am writing a post today on Kurt Vonnegut for no particular reason. There are other posts I could work on that would be far more in keeping with the overall theme of this blog, but this is what I feel like writing today. One of the nice things about a blog is that you can write anything you want and publish it. There’s no guarantee anyone will ever read it, but that holds true for books as well. Continue reading