I recently had the chance to sit down with Abdellah Taïa and Chiké Frankie Edozien at the CUNY Graduate Center for an evening of discussion put together by Words Without Borders, Belladonna* Series, and Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative. It was an absolute honor––Taïa and Edozien are talented, fiercely passionate writers whose work challenges political and social boundaries. The video link doesn’t seem to work but you should check out their work!
Hear me explain why the new Joshua Ferris novel, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour, made me floss— and why it’s already divided The Takeaway team. If you haven’t read it, now’s the perfect time to pick it up– just in time for The Takeaway Book Club’s discussion in a few weeks.
It’s got baseball, dentistry, online trolls, a made-up religion, and a protagonist who associates oral hygiene with moral seriousness. What more can you ask for in a summer read?
Reading The Great Agnostic: Robert Ingersoll and American Freethought by Susan Jacoby, I came across this elegant bit of rhetoric from Ingersoll describing his vision for the future:
The popes and priests and kings are gone– the altar and the thrones have mingled with the dust– the aristocracy of land and cloud have perished from the earth and air, and all the gods are dead. A new religions sheds its glory on mankind. It is the gospel of this world, the religion of the body, of the heart and brain, the evangel of health and joy. I see a world at peace, where labor reaps its true reward, a world without prisons, without workhouses, without asylums for the insane, a world where the poor girl, trying to win bread with the needle, the needle that has been called “the asp for the breas of the poor,” is not driven to the desperate choice of crime or death, of suicide or shame. I see a world without the beggar’s outstretched palm, the miser’s stony stare, the piteous wail of want, the pallid face of crime, the livid lips of lies, the cruel eyes of scorn. I see a race without disease of flesh or brain, shapely and fair, the married harmony of form and use, and as I look life lengthens, fear dies, joy deepens, love intensifies. The world is free. This shall be.
As they say in Sanskrit: “tathastu.”