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After Us

Deus ex machina

- By Jim Hicks

Who’s to say just what it is that inspires a reader? To my mind, the writer who answers this question with the most force and clarity is Erri De Luca. But then, I would think that, since I translate him. Here’s what Erri says:

"For those who stumble into a serendipitous reciprocity between life and reading, literature works at the level of nerve fibers. You can’t book such appointments in advance, nor can you recommend them to others. Every reader deserves to be astonished by the sudden interplay between his days and the pages of a book."

I like this quote on several levels, but mainly because in my experience it’s true. The connection between life and literature, when it happens, is electric, and it sings the...

After Us

Moving Water

- By Doug Anderson

For the last two years I’ve had the privilege of watching Serious Play Theater Ensemble develop its new production, Moving Water. As one of the photographers helping with this project, I have been enchanted by its action and imagery. The subject, however, is far from enchanting: it’s chilling. Fresh water is disappearing from the earth while, paradoxically, global warming is melting icecaps and threatening low-lying coastal areas with submersion.

In Florida, a high rise condo has collapsed killing over a hundred people, and others are in danger. Everything in our daily lives is affected: seventy percent of our produce comes from California and its aquifers are being rapidly depleted during a long and severe drought, in which a spark from a...

After Us

Ordination of the Cherry Trees

- By Greg Snyder and Ruth Ozeki

Warfield Place, Northampton

12 July, 2021

Editor’s note: Below are opening remarks delivered by Kanshin Ruth Ozeki, novelist, Zen priest, Smith College professor, and resident of Warfield Place, followed by an abbreviated description of the ordination ceremony, and concluding with remarks delivered to the trees by Kosen Greg Snyder, senior Zen priest, co-founder of Brooklyn Zen Center, and Senior Director of Buddhist Studies at Union Theological Seminary.

Kanshin Ruth Ozeki:

Thank you all for coming. We are here today to ordain these seven venerable Kwanzan cherry trees that...

After Us

Mobilize the Diaspora, End the Pandemic!

- By Ljiljana Djukanović and Ismar Volić

(Photo: Nedim Grabovica/Xinhua/picture alliance)

As we all know, the coronavirus pandemic will end only when it is defeated globally. One important obstacle, worldwide vaccine hesitancy, is likely to prove to be a more formidable barrier than, for example, equitable distribution. The politics and deceit that fuel vaccine hesitancy regrettably have longer shelf life than the vaccines.

Engaging the diaspora is one way to mitigate the reluctance to inoculation in countries where political systems are unstable and misinformation is rampant. Diasporic communities represent a powerful intellectual and economic force in the...

After Us

Dr. Rieux, Meet Dr. Fauci

- By Lynn Levin

(Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. NIAID Director. Photo: NIAID)

Seeing Albert Camus’s
The Plague with 2020 Vision

In the summer of 2020, seventeen Drexel University students, many of them international students, Zoomed into my Great Works class to explore Albert Camus’s The Plague. The students found themselves amazed at how eerily this World War Two allegory paralleled our own struggle with Covid-19. Many characters in the novel endure quarantine, exile, and the pain of separation from loved ones, and so did a number of my students. Camus describes many of his characters’ actions as expressing the best of humanity; similarly, my students gained a sense of optimism as they observed the empathy and...

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