It’s been a great few months and I’m back in Chicago again and back in school. The stress and fatigue resulting from a full class and work schedule has set in, but I’m doing my best to maintain some type of living regularity.
For a thesis class I’m taking with Myra Greene, the students have been asked to keep some form of a journal containing our interests and ideas throughout the semester. So, I decided that I’m going to change a bit of the direction of this blog by catering to that idea. So, you can expect more talk of what I’ve been thinking about, reading, etc., than the too-many-pictures-posts that I normally do.
So then, a few things that have been on my mind lately:
This post that Brian Ulrich made yesterday beginning with,
“I’m always somewhat surprised that there are not more artists reacting to environmental conditions. Perhaps it’s from spending so much time among students, perhaps it’s the latent and fizzling art market that plucked hipsters from bars and placed them on art fair stages, but it still seems so many young artists are still concerned primarily in their work with the self.”
It has caused an interesting fuss, check out the variety of discussion on the comments of it. I like the opinion party that has broken out.
Also, this Langston Hughes poem I read recently has resonated with me quite a bit.
Someone told me once that saying poems aloud help you understand it a bit more. I tried it and I absolutely agree. It’s a bit long, but take your time with it. I think it’s worth it.
Let America be America Again (1935) – by Langston Hughes
Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.
(America never was America to me.)
Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed–
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrans scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.
(It never was America to me.)
O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.
(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)
Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?
I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek–
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.
I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! OF grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!
I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean–
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today–O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.
Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home–
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”
Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay–
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.
O, let America be America again–
The land that never has been yet–
And yet must be–the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine–the poor man’s, Indian’s,
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.
Sure, call me any ugly name you choose–
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From thsoe who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath–
America will be!
Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain–
All, all the stretch of these great green states–
And make America again!
Take care then, I’ll be posting again soon.