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

Anne McKim: First post and a poem

Zach Evans, the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana’s Director of Marketing and Community Projects, suggested that each staff member write a weekly blog post during this time of virtual programming and virtual connection. Great idea, and easy enough: This is a chance to share with Arts Council friends who we are, the art that excites us, or why we’re so committed to this organization. 

My posts will be published on Tuesday mornings. At 10:30 p.m. on Monday night, and after several rewrites, here’s what I have so far:

Anne Blog.
Angle Nob.
Non Bagel.
Long Bean.
Bon Angel.

As it turns out, writing blogs doesn’t come easily to me. (This is not good. No one wants to disappoint Zach.)

It’s been a long time — a very long time — since I last wrote for pleasure, which is, really, part of this project. Zach, Andrea Adams (our Gallery Director) and I aren’t just sharing our thoughts through these posts, we’re intentionally encouraging each other to flex our own dormant creative muscles — the muscles that we spend our professional (and often personal) time, energy, and resources celebrating in others. And, as I type it, that is why I love the Arts Council.

It’s incredibly hard to create, to communicate, to make something from nothing. It’s incredibly humbling to be as vulnerable as one is when sending a message out to the world. Every single day, the Arts Council displays work or provides a venue for performances by the people doing just that, Every. Single. Day.

So, in honor of all of the vulnerable and persistent and audacious artists that we work with, I’m doing something that I’ve never done before: sharing a piece of writing that I put myself into, that I care about. *takes deep breath* Here it goes:

Rory Poem:

My boy does not want your ladder.

No hard feelings- He doesn’t want mine.  

Safely secured, 
Belayer in place, 
My son freezes, hangs limp against the rock.

A wall, though, or a tree.  
The garden shed.  
Counter tops and bed frames and roofs of cars,

Vines and stop signs.

Perhaps a ladder – but only one left unattended.  

This child manipulates gravity 
to control bedtime and pizza toppings 
and every moment 
of standing and falling
in line 
every day
every day
every day.

Sinewy-young-boy-muscles propel him upward, ever upward,  

We’re left to follow him  
with eyes from below.  


And now I’m off to begin the first of 12 to 15 rewrites of next week’s blog post.  Fortunately I have plenty of time on my hands these days… 🙂

Posted: Tuesday, March 31, 2020.