Anne McKim: Required reading

Anne and the “Paycheck Protection Program” monster

I’ve been in the trenches this week with the “Paycheck Protection Program,” as well as local grant applications, leaving very little time (or mental energy) for creativity. So, this week instead of sharing something I’ve written, here are a few things that I think you absolutely must read.

April is National Poetry Month, and while there are so, so, so many poems I love, it’s essential that you all read “Shoulders” by Naomi Shihab Nye immediately. Right now. Before you finish reading this post. I was so moved by this poem when I first encountered it a few years ago that I wrote it in sharpie on a scrap piece of foam core and mounted it in my children’s bedroom, so they would have to stare at it every night and, subsequently, memorize it. (It worked!) In a time of global crisis, “Shoulders” should be required reading.

Please also read ‘”Just’ Children” by Adam Zagajewski. If you have a little time, read about the poet, Adam Zagajewski, or order his brilliant book of essays, “A Defense of Ardor.” 

Finally, for several months I’ve been telling everyone to read “The Great Believers” by Rebecca Makkai. Jumping back and forth between Chicago in 1985 and present day Paris, the book changed my understanding of the AIDS crisis, and draws brilliant connections between the idea of losing a generation to war, to AIDS, or to terrorism. Reading about a pandemic during a pandemic might seem mildly masochistic, but I promise you won’t be able to put “The Great Believers” down. (Plus, there’s also an art mystery!)

Read and stay well, friends.  


Anne McKim is the Executive Director of the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana.

Published: April 8, 2020

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