Tuesday, October 19, 2021


               Tyehimba Jess, American poet.

Poetry is changing. New style. New voices of color. Here’s an article about some of the new poets from CNN:


Monday, October 11, 2021


                                     (I took this photo last week on Union Square in NYC)

I loved going to the library. It was the first time I ever saw Black newspapers and magazines like JET, Ebony, the Baltimore Afro-American, or the Chicago Defender. And I’ll never forget my librarian.’
           ― John Robert Lewis, March: Book One

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Sunday, October 3, 2021


‘Even before he started elementary school, his mother had taught him how to read.’

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Tracy K. Smith was Poet Laureate of the country. A book of her collected and new poems comes out next week. It’s called Such Color. Here she talks with TIME magazine:


Saturday, September 25, 2021

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

First paycheck I get, I thought, I'm going to get myself a room near the downtown L.A. Public Library.’

― Charles Bukowski, Ham on Rye

Monday, September 20, 2021

I had told myself and others and you that I’d probably get back to holding my sign this week. It had been since the pandemic started that I’d felt fulfilled like holding the sign fulfilled me. I set the alarm a little earlier last night. I put the sign out and the big bag I carry it in like I always did. But I woke up at 4-something this morning and couldn’t sleep and thought about today and decided there so much shakiness going on in the schools to get it right with vaccines and masks that me on the sidewalk with my sign would be just another thing. I’ll wait.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021


I SHOULD because school is back in session this week be holding my sign but with the difficulty for everyone starting up again I thought I’d wait a bit. Maybe next week.


Books on Race Filled Best-Seller Lists Last Year. Publishers Took Notice.

Titles that the houses signed in 2020 are now entering the world, with authors, agents and editors anxious to see how they do. Here’s a ‘New York Times’ piece about it:


Thursday, September 9, 2021

‘There is no reason why a nation as rich as ours should be blighted by poverty, disease, and illiteracy.’

—Coretta Scott King        


Monday, September 6, 2021

THE UN ESTIMATES THAT, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HISTORY, about 1.5 billion children were out of school during the pandemic, with at least a third unable to access remote learning.

Now, as much of the developing world faces a combination of interrelated crises including extreme poverty, Covid-19, climate breakdown and intercommunal violence, there are growing fears for a ‘lost generation of learners’. (from ‘The Guardian’ article below):


Sunday, September 5, 2021



I bought three books

the other day

at the store I

go to

the store my daughter used to

go in almost every day when

she lived in that neighborhood.

I had them send a fourth book

to a friend.

No I don’t need a card to 

go with it

you don’t need to

even put my name.

One of your bookmarks

will be enough.

The person

will know.


Friday, September 3, 2021


Yesterday after the storm of the night before it was beautifully clear and I took my afternoon walk to Union Square maybe 10 minutes from where I live. It’s where I saw the young man on the left with two stacks of books each bound with some straps. He was there to see if someone might want to buy any of them. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2021


Bleak House Books an independent English-language bookstore in Hong Kong is closing next month. Here is a piece explaining why:


Tuesday, August 31, 2021


‘What if there was a disease in Alexandria, she thought, and everybody died but me? 
I’d go live at the library, she told herself. The notion was cheering. She saw herself reading by candlelight, shadows flickering on the ceiling above the labyrinth of shelves. She could take a suitcase from home–peanut butter and crackers, a blanket, a change of clothes–and pull together two of the big armchairs in the Reading Room to sleep on…’
           ― Donna Tartt, The Little Friend

Monday, August 30, 2021

There are a few libraries and bookstores around the world where you can stay the night. Here are eight of them:


Wednesday, August 25, 2021


I saw this on an architecture/design site. It’s a new very small library in Seattle. A community space. With books about social activism. You’ll like it: 


Tuesday, August 24, 2021


A STIMULATING START to the day. Holding it, leafing through it, folding it, looking at the photos, reading articles big and small. It might seem unnecessary when it’s all online. But it’s bigger than that.

Saturday, August 21, 2021


A city reader in Chelsea this afternoon on my walk.


This obituary of Eloise Greenfield was in the Times. She wrote a lot of books. When you read this, you’ll like the way she wrote her poems. The way her language worked, which makes the poems work. You’ll maybe want to read some lines again.


Thursday, August 19, 2021


How to open your own bookstore. Here are some tips from someone who did:

One of themDon’t start a bookshop just because you love books – start one because you have something new to bring to the table. Figuring out what that is will be a crucial move.’


Wednesday, August 18, 2021

There are two powers in the world; one is the sword and the other is the pen. There is a third power stronger than both, that of women.’

—Malala Yousafzai

Tuesday, August 17, 2021


THE LITERACY RATE in Afghanistan is 43%, among the world’s very lowest. Countries whose difficult names you’d think might be that low are in the 90%. Female literacy in Afghanistan is 29%. And these numbers are appreciably better than they once were.

Monday, August 16, 2021


After a lifetime dedicated to expanding literacy, Daniel Goldin now wants to build public spaces for Mexicans of different backgrounds to read, rest, and play. I’d never heard of him till I read this piece in ‘Tablet’ magazine:


Sunday, August 15, 2021

Books taught me that things that tormented me the most were the very things that connected me to everyone who is alive and who had ever been alive.’

                                                                —James Baldwin

Saturday, August 14, 2021


An interview with Marty Baron former editor of the ‘Washington Post’, before that the ‘Boston Globe’. This was online from ‘Vox’:



Jason Reynolds has written bestselling books for young people. He’s now the Library of Congress’s National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. ‘The New Yorker’ profiled him in the new issue. Here’s a paragraph from it. The whole piece is linked below that:

…In April of this year, Reynolds paid a virtual visit to students at Coalinga Middle School, in central California, from his sunny home office. His oversized Library of Congress medal was conspicuous hanging from his neck. He explained his role as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature: “What I’m supposed to do is encourage all the young people to read and write, right?” He continued, “If my teen-age homie don’t like to read, and I show up and I’m, like, ‘Hey, I know you don’t like reading, but guess what I’m getting ready to tell you? You got to read,’ they’re going to say . . . ‘No.’ That doesn’t work.”


Friday, August 13, 2021


TWO AMISH BROTHERS yesterday fellow passengers on the Amtrak train from Cleveland to New York checking out magazines on our long stop-over in Albany.

Thursday, August 12, 2021


An online short description in ‘Entertainment Weekly’ of Jonathan Franzen’s upcoming big new novel Crossroads which is the first book in a trilogy: 


Wednesday, August 4, 2021

‘BEING A BLACK WOMAN WRITER is not a shallow place but a rich place to write from. It doesn’t limit my imagination; it expands it. It’s richer than being a white male writer because I know more and I’ve experienced more.’       

                                          —Toni  Morrison

Tuesday, August 3, 2021


It was a brick school

a grade school

a Catholic grade school

with the priest’s house 

sharing the parking lot 

it was that close

there was a big church there too

I don’t remember if there was a convent

for the nuns who taught at the school

one taught across the hall from me

she had those felt hand-made wall hangings

with doves on them and peace

she also had a Corita Kent poster and 

she played folk songs on a guitar

it was 1970

she’s no longer a nun

I was teaching there to avoid going to Vietnam

so I liked the doves 

she had on the wall.


‘IF YOU GIVE PEOPLE LITERACY, bad ideas can be attacked and experiments tried, and lessons will accumulate.’

                                        —Steven Pinker

Monday, August 2, 2021


‘People don’t realise how a man’s whole life can be changed by one book.’ 

                          —Malcolm X

Saturday, July 31, 2021


THE NEW YORK TIMES has this week given more space to Scarlett Johansson suing Disney than they give in a year to the issue of the city’s schools’ failure to teach every school kid to read well.

Monday, July 26, 2021


Rosenwald Schools. You may not have heard of them. Amazing that we didn’t know or hear much if anything about them. Booker T. Washington got with Julius Rosenwald head of Sears in Chicago in 1911 and from those discussions came a commitment from Rosenwald to help build and fund schools for under-served Black students in the South. From 1912 to 1937 Rosenwald helped underwrite 4,978 schools. Maya Angelou attended a Rosenwald School, so did Medgar Evers. John Lewis did too. He wrote the foreword to this book done by Andrew Feiler a photographer who took photos of some of the structures that still stand. Here’s a connection to an enlightening talk with Feiler which I just watched. I ordered the book from my bookstore after I watched:



Bob Moses a pioneer of the civil rights movement dies at 86.

In a 2014 interview with Julian Bond, Mr. Moses credited his parents with fostering his love of learning, recalling that they would collect books for him every week from the local library in Harlem.


Sunday, July 25, 2021

IN A NEW YORK TIMES PIECE ON summer schools going on right now: ‘This moment is critical. Research shows that students who do not learn to read proficiently by the beginning of fourth grade are likely to remain poor readers in high school, and are at higher risk of dropping out or failing to graduate on time.’

Saturday, July 24, 2021


Even on Saturdays, I come to my neighborhood library since it reopened. It’s a big room, bigger than mine or yours. The windows are bigger than mine or yours. There are more books of course. There if you need them. The photo is of the desk that I sit at with 23rd Street out the window a few feet behind me. 

Monday, July 19, 2021


Movie/TV creative curious guy David Lynch does a very short daily weather report. I see it on youtube. It’s something to look at even if not much changes in his report from day to day. That partly LA and partly his way of seeing things:


There’s good book talk online. BOOK TV on C-SPAN2 for sure. But bookstores and publishers too. Go on youtube. Poetry and Prose is a DC bookstore that has an author conversation almost every day. The talk on these sites is way deeper and longer than you get on TV talk shows. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2021


This piece on Woody Guthrie was reprinted online by The New Yorker today. It’s Woody’s birthday. He was born in 1912.


Monday, July 12, 2021


Prohibition. This is a 12-minute documentary on the closing of a newspaper in Hong Kong. It was done by DW a German English-language broadcaster like the BBC. It’s good. 


Thursday, July 8, 2021


Even if you’re only half interested in the ‘60s and folk music and Bob Dylan and even if you are fully interested but Jesus you don’t want to see those same clips you’ve seen forever, this documentary is done in a way that’ll keep you watching. Every talking head is a talking head you’ll like because each is smart. It just showed up on youtube for me last night.


Wednesday, July 7, 2021



I’d rather take a photograph 

but I’m inside now and

my jar of water looks 

the same

so does the other stuff in here

you’ve seen.

A photo has an instant that

you know is it.

I must be made in a way

that likes that more

than this.