Friday, December 8, 2023

The Language We Use

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.” -T.S. Eliot

Language is one way in which we articulate ourselves to the world. Powerful, dangerous at times, it takes courage to send words out into the vast openness of space. Language spoken is both fleeting and indelible. A life can be forever changed in the course of just a very few syllables. Language is flexible, adapting to the changing times and taking on a life of its own. Meaning applied today may be unrecognizable just a few decades from now. Language is a tool with which we build relationships and communities. Sometimes it is the language left unspoken that speaks the loudest of all.

Jason Schneiderman is a poet, essayist, and winner of the 2016 Benjamin Saltman Award. A self-described military brat, Schneiderman spent his childhood moving around the country and the world. He attended the University of Maryland on scholarship and studied in Russia for a year. Schneiderman moved to New York City for graduate school where he fell in love and got married. Poetry, Schneiderman says, is a coded language of emotion there for the reader to decipher. Of his earlier work, Schneiderman says much of it was received as being about HIV and the Holocaust. While much of it indeed did explore these themes, he wonders how the work may be interpreted differently now. Presently Schneiderman is working to finish an untitled manuscript. His poem The Last War explores an imagined reality in which the world plans an exit strategy from all armed conflict. The personal and political are inherently intertwined for some, says Schneiderman, and his work attempts to address this while not fully endorsing the notion. Schneiderman and his husband often use the term “think-feel” to articulate the way in which thought is inherently emotional. Poetry, he says, is a medium in which this can be explored. To hear more from Jason Schneiderman including a poem based in Jewish Midrash about the introduction of numbers to mankind, listen to the full interview.

John C. Adams is a gallerist and curator based in Appleton, Wisconsin. Adams is also the founder of The Draw, a creative space for arts events and community. The space began when Adams saw the building that would eventually become The Draw. A friend knew the owner and Adams went to work getting artists to commit to renting space before renovations began. He brought his plan, and a slew of committed renters, to the developer who got on board and The Draw was born. Community and collaboration are driving forces behind The Draw while at the same time the space maintains a core identity curated by a central few figures. It has always been important to Adams that The Draw remain a flexible space adaptable to the changing needs of the community. At the moment he is exploring the possibility of live/work spaces for artists as cost of living in Appleton rises. Among the many and varied events The Draw has hosted are burlesque and dark arts shows. Adams is in the beginning stages of forming a nonprofit aimed at middle and high school students offering art training with working artists. He is also involved with a nonprofit called The Refuge Foundation for the Arts. Adams and his team collaborate with the music-focused group bringing musicians into the fold. As if all this weren’t enough, Adams also works in film production creating commercial spots and has his own film production company through which he makes documentary films. To hear more details about Adams’ many, many projects, listen to the full interview.

A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket:

The magnitude of language cannot be overstated. Empires rise and fall and rise again because of it.

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

What are you reading? Add your titles to our reading list here. Jason Schneiderman recently read The Broken Country by Paisley Rekdal and John C. Adams has been reading Leonard Cohen recently including Let Us Compare Mythologies.

Opportunities / Open Calls

Artist Grant awards one-time grants of $500 quarterly. Eligibility is open to artists worldwide and deadlines vary according to the quarter. There is a $25 application fee. See website for details.


Weekly Edited Grant and Residency Deadlines – review the list here.



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