January 6th: Business as Usual in the U.S. Capitol

I wrote this essay in the immediate aftermath of the January 6th assault on the U.S. Capitol but was uncertain whether I should share it. Today, however, three weeks since that assault, it is all too clear that the public’s attention is already moving on. We are drifting into national forgetfulness, as we have done so often before and as we must not do again. It is crucial that we remember what happened on January 6th and that it has happened many times before. Otherwise, it will happen again.

The storming of the Capitol by a violent mob on Wednesday, January 6th, left many Americans stunned. It should not have. Violent white supremacists committing insurrection with impunity is business as usual in the United States of America. January 6th was simply a repetition of one of the oldest themes in our history.

Continue reading “January 6th: Business as Usual in the U.S. Capitol”

“America Used to be America (for Me)”: A Poem

I suppose this is my personal homage to Langston Hughes’s great poem, “Let America be America Again,” about which I’ve written on my other blog. Perhaps it’s also my personal update to that poem, my own “creative misprision”–to borrow Harold Bloom’s term–through which I’m trying to say where I think we are and where I hope we’re going. Continue reading ““America Used to be America (for Me)”: A Poem”

Breaking the “Great Taboo”: A Translation of Li Bai’s 李白 “Drinking Alone Beneath the Moon 月下獨酌”

There is a tradition among English-language translators of Chinese poetry to translate all Chinese poems as unrhymed free-verse. This tradition goes back at least as far as Ezra Pound, whose “translations” bear little resemblance to their originals, and is very much alive and kicking–so much so that I am borrowing Nathan Sivin’s term, “The Great Taboo,” to describe it. Continue reading “Breaking the “Great Taboo”: A Translation of Li Bai’s 李白 “Drinking Alone Beneath the Moon 月下獨酌””