What does it mean to be American?  Read Ms. Bailey’s insightful blog post. Click on the link:

https://baileylaurajean.com/2018/07/12/a-mistaken-appeal-to-selfishness/comment-page-1/#comment-76

I so agree.  These are trying times to be American,and vital that we uphold the very highest ideals.

One of the main arguments I hear in favor of allowing undocumented people to live freely in the United States is that “they” take jobs that American citizens do not want such as backbreaking, physically demanding housekeeping and agricultural jobs. This is the wrong argument for immigration-rights activists like me to advance because it perpetuates […]

via A Mistaken Appeal to Selfishness — Laura Jean Bailey

Poetry is making a comeback? NPR discusses the NEA study

 

gray scale photography of typewriter        As I wrote earlier and as this article declares, “In half a decade, the number of U.S. adults who are reading poetry has nearly doubled.” Read all about it on the NPR (National Public Radio) site, where they quote from the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) study here: Poetry is making a comeback

If a comeback, not even 12% of Americans reading poetry is a paltry figure to me.  How can poetry not be a part of so many lives? And do we even have 12% of Americans buying/ supporting poets and poetry?

I’m not sure about that.  I’d love to see America support its poets and truly embrace poetry, but we have a long way to go.

 

The Fen, late spring–and what’s a fen?

Who walks in the fen when it’s raining? The Big Guy and I do. Peaceful. Beautiful. Today is cloudy, so the leaves are not in a riot of sunshine, but they are lovely.  The raindrops glowed on the leaves, hard to see from cell phone photos.

Nonetheless, the fen is an interesting and often  lovely walk.

 

What is a fen? Definition of fen

While a wetland, a fen is not a bog, swamp, or marsh.  So what is a fen?

It is an unusual wetland; The US Dept. of agriculture defines a fen as:

Fens are a type of wetland. Wetlands are ecosystems where the water table is at or near the ground surface for most of the growing season on most years, and as a consequence, the substrate is poorly aerated, and inundation or saturation last long enough that the dominant plants are those that can exist in wet and reducing conditions. The long duration anaerobic conditions limit the decomposition of plant roots, leaves, and stems and over time this organic matter accumulates to form peat soil. Wetlands include the margins of streams and rivers, and the shores of lakes. There are several types of wetlands: swamps, marshes, bogs, and fens.

 

Furthermore, there are a number of types of fens, and described here: Types of Fens. Furthermore, there are both rich fens and poor fens.  Scientists are beginning to determine the age of fens, and since peat accumulates slowly, fens are being determined to be thousands of years old, as discussed here: Age of fens

 

In our many years of walking here, we know the fen as the place of interesting plants.

 

 

Part 3–Literacy can be the Bridge: in Praise of Public Libraries

cropped-be-creative-creative-creativity-256514      Getting to there from here? How does one change careers while still paying the bills?  This was a true dilemma for me, for there was no trust fund, no rainy day forgotten account, no family to turn to once I quit my job in business.

This is a nice problem to have, and I know that.  It reeks of privilege, and I know that.  Yet I was a healthy adult with so much energy, and I knew I wanted a different type of life than working in an office.  I did not turn to drink, but I turned to sadness.  I turned to tension. Those are not healthy.

Since I loved to read and write, I turned to the public library and was amazed to find the library had become a hub of activity.  The library was not a quiet place as I remembered it, but a place of reading groups, tutoring, computer training, and so much more–in addition to having quiet places for reading and studying.

I wonder if librarians know they have helped to improve the lives of many?  For that is what I saw daily as people looked for jobs, learned a new skill, found positive activities for themselves and their family.

I found the world of book discussion groups, and never looked back. Like-minded reading lovers–what a joy!

And more–the library was looking for literacy tutors and I wanted to become a teacher.  Would I dare to take that risk, even while I was so very sad in my everyday world?  It almost seemed too difficult to risk change and then have the change not work out.

Would I take the risk and make changes?

More to follow.

 

Poetry-reading rate is up in America per NEA study

find joy          Poets! According to this NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) study, poetry-reading rate is up, to about 12% in American, up from 6.7% in 2012. Alas, this means that MOST Americans–88%–do not read poetry at all.  Hmm… from my own acquaintances, I thought more than that percentage WRITE poetry.   And if you write poetry?  You do need to be reading poetry.

Come on, American–we can do better.

Find the article here : NEA Study on Poetry-reading rates in USA

From the study: The 2017 poetry-reading rate is five percentage points up from the 2012 survey period (when the rate was 6.7 percent) and three points up from the 2008 survey period (when the rate was 8.3 percent). This boost puts the total rate on par with 2002 levels, with 12.1 percent of adults estimated to have read poetry that year.

Growth in poetry reading is seen across most demographic sub-groups (e.g., gender, age, race/ethnicity, and education level), but here are highlights:

• Young adults have increased their lead, among all age groups, as poetry readers. Among 18-24-year-olds, the poetry-reading rate more than doubled, to 17.5 percent in 2017, up from 8.2 percent in 2012. Among all age groups, 25-34-year-olds had the next highest rate of poetry-reading: 12.3 percent, up from 6.7 percent in 2012.

Women also showed notable gains (14.5 percent in 2017, up from 8.0 percent in 2012). As in prior years, women accounted for more than 60 percent of all poetry-readers. Men’s poetry-reading rate grew from 5.2 percent in 2012 to 8.7 percent in 2017.

Among racial/ethnic subgroups, African Americans (15.3 percent in 2017 up from 6.9 percent in 2012), Asian Americans (12.6 percent, up from 4.8 percent), and other non-white, non-Hispanic groups (13.5 percent, up from 4.7 percent) now read poetry at the highest rates. Furthermore, poetry-reading increased among Hispanics (9.7 percent, up from 4.9 percent) and non-Hispanic whites (11.4 percent, up from 7.2 percent).

Adults with only some college education showed sharp increases in their poetry-reading rates.  Of those who attended but did not graduate from college, 13.0 percent read poetry in 2017, up from 6.6 percent in 2012. College graduates (15.2 percent, up from 8.7 percent) and adults with graduate or professional degrees (19.7 percent, up from 12.5 percent) also saw sizeable increases.

Urban and rural residents read poetry at a comparable rate (11.8 percent of urban/metro and 11.2 percent of rural/non-metro residents).