Kenneth Koch was one of the merrier in the bunch known as the New York
School of poets. But he was more than just a poet of humor. He
sought the essential nature of human existence, and displayed his
infectious awe of the universe in enchanting verse.
In the gloom of post-election 2004 few people, if any, could have
anticipated the wild surprises of 2005. Focusing on three unforeseen
developments of the past year, a meditation on
how life has changed in unexpected ways.
Anne Winters's The Displaced of Capital, winner of the 2005 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, is a reflective, documentary and visionary volume of poetry inspired by the city of New York.
If New Orleans is to reclaim its greatness, the scope of the solution must match the scope of the problem. The city could become the nation's classroom by re-engineering levees, responsibly building neighborhoods and schools and repairing the environment, but time is running out.
If a society is measured by the treatment of its prisoners, we are in deeper trouble in New Orleans than we realize. The biggest prison crisis since Attica is now unfolding in the devastated city, with inmates jammed into inadequate facilities, often abused and unrepresented by attorneys or advocates.
The nation might believe it has moved on from Katrina, from the name so
childish and somehow slightly foreign, not Sherry or Ann or Margaret.
Moved on from the scenes of dark-skinned people in
Faced with the challenge of rebuilding, New Orleans seems stuck in the mud--not just mired in the muck caking the city but also trapped by centuries of policy mistakes, especially the fantasy that it can be separated from its surroundings.
Home equity--for those lucky enough to own a house or condo--is a
primary source of economic security. But unsold inventory, rising
interest rates and record levels of mortgage defaults are making the
future look grim.
San Francisco recently launched universal preschool,
designed to make young participants higher earners and better citizens
when they reach adulthood. If successful, San Francisco's initiative
could make preschool as commonplace as kindergarten.
Advocacy groups like ACORN want New Orleanians to play a
role in the rebuilding of the community they had to leave. The biggest
issue so far: getting refugees of the storm back home.