Speaking While Masked


Speaking While Masked As the pandemic enters its third year, the role of masks in reducing the risk of infection has been well documented. In the words of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Correct and consistent mask use is a critical step everyone can take to prevent getting and spreading COVID-19." Unfortunately, the protective barriers that masks create can hamper communication unless we compensate for them. I suspect that anyone who has worn a mask has struggled, at times, to be understood. More than once, I have had to repeat myself while placing an order at Starbucks, as in a [...]

Speaking While Masked2022-01-27T13:33:30-05:00

Book of the Month: Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison (1977)


Book of the Month: Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison (1977) Critical Evaluation "Toni Morrison’s first two books — “The Bluest Eye” with the purity of its terrors and “Sula” with its dense poetry and the depth of its probing into a small circle of lives — were strong novels. Yet, firm as they both were in achievement and promise, they didn’t fully forecast her new book, “Song of Solomon.” Here the depths of the younger work are still evident, but now they thrust outward, into wider fields, for longer intervals, encompassing many more lives. The result is a long prose [...]

Book of the Month: Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison (1977)2021-11-17T11:37:23-05:00

Book of the Month: Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead (2021)


Book of the Month: Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead (2021) "Born and raised in New York, Whitehead, who lives on the Upper West Side, writes and talks about the city with a native’s mix of affection and exasperation, marveling at its endless contradictions — the grotesque wealth and grinding poverty, the ambition and dereliction, the striving and corruption, the loneliness and misanthropy, the glamour and grime. He finished writing “Harlem Shuffle” during the first few months of the pandemic, when much of the city felt abandoned and hollowed out, silent except for the sirens. "'I’m describing a Harlem that’s in decline [...]

Book of the Month: Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead (2021)2021-11-11T09:44:53-05:00

How to Write a Letter of Recommendation


How to Write a Letter of Recommendation It's that time of year. No, not just for New Year's resolutions! It's application season. And many applications--for graduate schools, summer internships, and fellowships--require letters of recommendation, sometimes referred to as LORs. It is an honor to be asked to write an LOR, but you need to establish some ground rules and create a basic recommendation letter template to use as a starting point; otherwise, the deadlines could pile up, and there are futures on the line! No pressure. First, you should only consent to write a LOR for someone you know and whose [...]

How to Write a Letter of Recommendation2021-11-16T16:27:55-05:00

A Poem for You: After the Winter


After the Winter Claude McKay  Some day, when trees have shed their leaves          And against the morning's white The shivering birds beneath the eaves          Have sheltered for the night, We'll turn our faces southward, love,          Toward the summer isle Where bamboos spire to shafted grove          And wide-mouthed orchids smile. And we will seek the quiet hill          Where towers the cotton tree, And leaps the laughing crystal rill,          And works the droning bee. And we will build a [...]

A Poem for You: After the Winter2021-10-20T11:49:55-04:00

A Poem for You: won’t you celebrate with me


won’t you celebrate with me Lucille Clifton  won’t you celebrate with me what i have shaped into a kind of life? i had no model. born in babylon both nonwhite and woman what did i see to be except myself? i made it up here on this bridge between starshine and clay, my one hand holding tight my other hand; come celebrate with me that everyday something has tried to kill me and has failed.

A Poem for You: won’t you celebrate with me2021-10-20T11:44:30-04:00

A Poem for You: The Life of a Writer


The Life of a Writer Jalynn Harris the life of a writer is desire              i hammer into the page                          i make up my mind: the streetlight  is not the moon, but anything can be             made beautiful under the ease                          of my hammer  i wish you could see that i write in blue ink             the color of oceans & early mornings                          & everything is clear like  tears rushing towards the chin              of my desire. i pen what i’m meant                         to pen. how deep in love i am  & how silly of me to spend all morning dreaming              about love & not expect [...]

A Poem for You: The Life of a Writer2021-10-20T11:38:29-04:00

A Poem for You: somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond


somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond E. E. Cummings  somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond any experience,your eyes have their silence: in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me, or which i cannot touch because they are too near your slightest look easily will unclose me though i have closed myself as fingers, you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens (touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose or if your wish be to close me,i and my life will shut very beautifully,suddenly, as when the heart of this flower imagines the snow carefully everywhere descending; nothing which we [...]

A Poem for You: somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond2021-10-20T11:34:14-04:00

The Magic of Showing Up


The Magic of Showing Up In our Writing Space Group (a group of Princeton employees who like to write and meet once a month to do so),  we often talk about finding the time and motivation to pursue our own creative projects. Some of us write every day for work, some don't, but we all struggle to find a consistent, viable schedule for our own creative writing projects. We have discussed many strategies, and the key to consistency, it seems, may come from something as simple as sitting down at your desk or kitchen table. A personal trainer once told me [...]

The Magic of Showing Up2021-12-01T16:21:31-05:00

A Poem for You: A Love Note


A Love Note Adeeba Shahid Talukder for Willem My love, you are water upon water upon water until it turns azure, mountainous. The horizon fills like sand between glass marbles. So much has passed between us— last night you told me to press your hand harder and harder as I pained. The sunset was at its last embers. The dark was stealing the blue light from our room. I was falling into you. ~ ~ Compress water and it turns to ice— compress beauty and it loses breath. Gaze at it too long, and even the wide mirror of the ocean [...]

A Poem for You: A Love Note2021-09-21T13:44:12-04:00
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