In the November installment of Friday Reads, our Issue 20 contributors reflect on the pedagogies of teaching over Zoom, the engines of colonialism, and the process of breaking down cultural divides. As the weather gets colder, curl up with one of these recommendations, and make sure to pick up your copy of Issue 20 today.
Recommendations: Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys; Poems in the Manner Of… by David Lehman; The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion by Kei Miller; Reimagining Liberation: How Black Women Transformed Citizenship in the French Empire by Annette K. Joseph-Gabriel
When the exhibit went up at Peachtree Center, the Chinese of Atlanta flocked downtown. Jews had been in Henan so close to forever, they weren’t seen as foreign. And we had found an exhibit on China that wasn’t old vases. Jews were Chinese in more ways than food. Migration was not always out of the places our families had fled; it had once been to. Our pantries were “ethnic” not just for the shrimp chips and wood ears, but as well for the matzah. Maybe, when asked, Do you celebrate Christmas?, we were not being checked for Zen or the Buddha. We didn’t say it in so many words. The line between Asia and Europe had blurred.
Richard Hoffman|A Prayer for the Souls in Purgatory
Calvary Bruce Bond
What you have heard is half true, half forgotten. It’s what we have, a rubric written in old blood whose spirit of inclusion admits the occasional invention, the apocryphal goat at midnight, for one, who has broken down the gate again, and wandered through the refuse of our neighbors. Forgive him. Him and the others of a now more distant Jerusalem whose pattern of lesser hardships and small routines goes largely unreported. No less imagined than the clouds of certain portraits of the killing, the same weather that hung above the clueless who pulled in their laundry, looking up to see future there. What they do not know cannot save them. Or bring them comfort.Or the vague weight of clouds when they make a night of day. Imagine then, once the body is deposed, the men who take the burden on their shoulders go nameless through the margins to the grave. Forgive them.They know not what they do. Take this young man, a soldier of low rank, his wave of nausea slow to gather and withdraw into the obscurities holy books are made of. He is sitting beneath an olive tree, counting coins, fouled with blood, less a true believer in the entitlements of kings than an otherwise impoverished soul with a wife, an oath, a child. A drudge of circumstance.That is the story he tells himself, and the need for the ever better listener feels fundamental, as work is, and wine at dusk, and whatever cut of meat and means the heirs of grief and privilege refuse.