“There is no divorcing the lack of diversity in the outdoors from a history of violence against the black body, systemic racism, and income inequality,” writes Rahawa Haile in her description of hiking the full length of the Appalachian Trail. Along the way, Haile documented her journey and the books she carried — books written by black authors. In a debrief interview, she explains her motivation: “I want[ed] to bring these books places no one likely has. I want[ed] to document where black brilliance belongs.”
Are you familiar with “Teach This Poem“? If not you should be. This organization just won the National Book Foundation’s 2018 Innovations in Reading Prize. Their literary social impact mission? Help teachers add poetry to their curriculum; “Each week, The Academy of American Poets emails out a poem along with interdisciplinary information — classroom discussion questions and multimedia offerings like maps, videos, photography, and related reading suggestions. Everything is curated to help teachers incorporate poetry into the classroom experience.” Find out more about the prize and the org here.
April Bernard is not a fan of Writers’ Houses because she does not believe the “private life, even of the dead, is ours to plunder.” Earlier this year, our own Luke Epplin also noted some of the limitations of Writers’ Houses.
A couple months ago, I linked to a new Granta series in which authors select one of their own first sentences and recall how they came to it. This week, Patrick French explains the first sentence of a nonfiction piece titled “After the War” (available in Granta 125) by digging up an old photograph that shows how the Edwardian English were “stitched and machined into a grid of expectations.”