“The classroom was a jail of other people’s interests. The library was open, unending, free.”
We live in a world where history is built by people and for people, whose shared experience resembles their own. Many may not realize that much of the standard knowledge imparted to us as we come of age – and beyond – excludes a thousand truths or more. Howard Zinn reminded us sharply that history as we know it has been passed down by the victors, by those who conquered and then carefully crafted the events to clean up what they had done to get there. Little do we know about those who lived generations before the conquerors arrived. Little do we hear of their lives before – and only vague scraps of what happened after. Freedom is more than just the ability to do as you wish – it is the privilege of hearing a story that speaks to your origin. Freedom is knowing the truth.
Arhm Choi Wild spoke to us from New York City where the desolation of the continued pandemic makes it feel as though the city may never be the same. Wild works in schools as a diversity, equity, and inclusion coordinator which has given them a front-row seat to the ways in which humans adapt. They have observed the ways in which people are finding to continue engaging in intimate contact and been amazed at the resiliency people have demonstrated. Wild is a writer and poet. During this time of lockdown, they say there has been a lot of pressure on writers to produce more work than usual while they have more free time. They have made the choice to allow themself to work at their own pace. Many of their poems explore the theme of being first-generation Korean-American and coming out as non-binary. Another theme is the violence their father experienced over his lifetime. He passed away last year which has changed the way they approach this topic while the writing has been something of a crutch throughout the grieving process. To hear more about how Wild processes her experience through writing and to hear live readings of her work, listen to the complete interview.
Adeeba Shahid Talukder is a Pakistani-American poet who spoke to us from her home in New Jersey. Throughout the pandemic, she has divided her time between writing and music. She has been learning to sing a form of traditional Hindustani poetry during this time. In her practice, poetry and music are both separate and intertwined. While she has long been interested in music, it was only a few years ago when she was able to begin formal study. She began with Western classical music but has since fallen out of touch with her Western classical teacher due to the pandemic. She has, however, maintained contact with her Hindustani classical teacher who helps her learn different scales and modes of music specific to this poetic-musical discipline. Much of her poetry in English is informed by her poetry in Urdu. To hear more about how music and poetry, Western culture and Southeast Asian culture blend in Talukder’s work as well as live readings of her work, listen to the complete interview.
Few Words to Keep in your Pocket:
History straddles two worlds – what we are told and what happened.
Interviews are available on iTunes as podcasts, and for Android please click here. All weekly essay pieces in a shareable format are here. The full archive of interviews here.
Books to Read
Flash opportunity: Roots and Seeds is an international open call to artists whose work sits at the intersection of art and science. There are two types of residency, artwork production, and research. Both are intended for artists who address the biodiversity crisis in the botanic world and artists must be willing to collaborate with science professionals and/or institutions. Visit the website for more information. Deadline for applications is February 15.
Brainard Carey is an author, artist and educator. He is the director of Praxis Center for Aesthetics. He has written six books for artists; Making it in the Art World, New Markets for Artists, The Art World Demystified, Fund Your Dreams Like a Creative Genius, Sell Online Like a Creative Genius, and Succeed with Social Media Like a Creative Genius.