town hall meetings

Mud Season Salon: Sign of the Times resources

As part of this month's Salon, we asked our presenters to recommend resources, things that they found pertinent to the evening's theme, or things that helped give them solace and hope during difficult times. During the evening, many other resources came up as part of the conversation. Thank you to everyone who shared their words, thoughts, questions, answers, and inspiration!

Robin recommends

Read Hope in the Dark, by Rebecca Solnit, which has inspired Robin to get out on the streets and join with other people in activism, and also reaffirmed the importance of making art and the positive influences that can come from writing. Here are a few quotes from Solnit's book that Robin shared:

  • “Writing is lonely, it’s an intimate talk with the dead, with the unborn, with the absent, with strangers, with the readers who may never come to be and who even if they read you will do so weeks, years, decades later.”
  • “Every line we succeed in publishing today—no matter how uncertain the future to which we entrust it—is a victory wrenched from the powers of darkness.”
  • “Resistance is first of all a matter of principle and a way to live, to make yourself one small republic of unconquered spirit.”
  • “Inside the word emergency is emerge; from an emergency new things come forth. The old certainties are crumbling fast, but danger and possibility are sisters.”

Jeff recommends, "the one source that, if you read it and endured it, knew that this was coming." Reading Breitbart will give you a glimpse into the alternate universe that's happening every day.

After you read that, because it'll be a bit of poison, clear your mind by reading, rereading, or seeing a production of Tony Kushner's play, Angels in America, Parts One and Two. It's like reading a newspaper from today.

Read Carolyn Forche's poem, "The Colonel," and the book from which it came, The Country Between Us. The book includes a series of reported poems about El Salvador during the years of the US-sponsored war there. 

And let's remember a time when poets had pop star status, when Marianne Moore, a devoted baseball fan, threw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium in 1968. Let's not forget there was a time when poets had that kind of recognition.

Finally, read Prophesy Deliverance!, where Cornel West writes about the nature of the relationship between hope and despair, how the two are so closely related that they cannot exist without each other, that hope arises out of despair. 

Taylor recommends

Attend Town hall meetings, which are are "boring in the most important way." Democracy isn't something that just happens. Democracy is something you do, participate in, cultivate.

Subscribe to Read Literately, a monthly newsletter for ravenous readers to distract you from the the crazy out there and remind you that there are thoughtful, creative people in the world writing things for us.

Download The New Economy Chapbook Cookbooka free PDF cookbook put together by a group of poets, activists, and home cooks. The cookbook, subtitled "Inexpensive, Healthy, Hopeful Feasts for 2017," collects fortifying recipes for cooking on a budget.

Read writers who are writing now, publishing today, who are almost writing as fast as you need them to. Poets like Morgan Parker who are writing poems we need to read right now.

And go back to the things you love, the books and movies that you already know and love, to appreciate them all over again, and find solace in things that haven't changed and still bring delight. 

Ben recommends

Find a place between land and air by following roads that aren't really there, going to places where you can't depend on where the ground is, like roads on ice that melts, or flood plains that are land and then aren't. See where the intermediary and temporary spaces are and get comfortable with being there.

Read anything by Rebecca Solnit. Maybe you've already started with Robin's suggestion of Hope in the Dark. After that, continue on with A Field Guide to Getting Lost, River of Shadows, and Wanderlust. These books continue the conversation about the value of looking to the landscape for metaphor and ballast.

Sink into Jane Kenyon's Collected Poems. You'll find sad beauty there, but also much hope and solace.

Shari And Rebecca recommend

Read "The Long and Pretty Good-bye" by Megan Mayhew Bergman (Paris Review).

Read "Grace Paley, the Saint of Seeing," by George Saunders (The New Yorker).

Print your own pocket constitution.

Fold a paper crane.

Take a walk. A long walk. Sing some protest songs while you're walking. Sing loud.

Read anything by Grace Paley, Terry Tempest Williams, and Barry Lopez. For example, Grace's poem, "That Country," Terry's book, Refuge, and Barry's essay, "The Invitation."

Wander through Jeff's Instagram feed to see the photos that accompany his essays. 

Go to Taylor's poem site to read some of her poems and thoughts.

Get your hands on a copy of Robin's book of short stories, Half Wild.

Listen to some of Ben's music, watch his videos, and read his essays.