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Your writing is always thoughtful. Whether the march to green energy, dealing with despots, or something else, I fear we have joined a ride on a very swift escalator and not quite sure whether we are rising or falling. I think the world has made choices with incomplete information all along. Poetry may be useful to help us think differently.

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"I think the world has made choices with incomplete information all along." That is probably the core truth of many of our issues, isn't it? For worse but possibly also for better sometimes.

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That is a great observation Antonia. Your attention to open spaces and walking is a PERFECT example. We would all be better off if when an issue such as that is considered, we could set aside the pettiness of what is in our FB Newsfeed and trust an expert. I believe the assault on expertise and its part in denial of all sorts of things is a feature of our modern world. It seems experts in a field are best equipped to guide us. They OWE us an accessible description of what they are thinking rather than just because I know better. That is the way to promote trust and reverse the descent into our echo chambers. The very best EXPERTS are willing to admit their errors and explain the refinements in thinking.

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This is very true. I interviewed a local wildlife biologist some years ago about her work on grizzly bears and huckleberries, and she took me on a long hike up to one of her study areas. I asked her why she took so much time to talk with me and show her work rather than just explain it briefly, and she said she felt that scientists owed it to the public to communicate what they do and why it's important. We became friends after that :)

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Bravo. While I understood it during my career, taking on writing about some element of complexity in the world reinforces that if someone is HARD TO UNDERSTAND they don't know the subject. Being able to explain yourself, regardless of the topic is the mark of genuine understanding. Your biologist was willing to show her work. That is cool. What this taught me in my career and now is to ALWAYS discount the broad brush and the absolute. They never lead to understanding. Instead they are the elements of manipulation and persuasion absent evidence.

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Well said :)

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founding

Thank you, Nia.

"It is difficult to get the news from poems, yet men die every day for lack of what is found there." ~ William Carlos Williams

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What beautiful truth in that! Thank you, Greg.

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I believe your powerful poetry line fully and emphatically, despite your "sometimes seems" -- and that you are loosely even related to Marina Tsvetaeva (!) is a wonder. I'm reading the Emily Watson translation of "The Odyssey" right now with a student, and I am struck again by its relevancy, by the relevancy and timelessness of all poetry. Kevin Young read Yeats' "Second Coming" at Joan Didion's memorial the other day -- that, too, rang loud and true and devastating and consoling.

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"Sometimes" and "seems" are what often plague women's writing, aren't they? At least I'm told that. And yet I added them because what do I know of what poetry brings to others, or gives to others? I can't help it -- who wants to speak for everyone except the truly arrogant! 😂

And of course you know Marina Tsvetaeva! I wish you could meet my stepmother. She is in charge of the Tsvetaev family archives and spends a lot of time traveling Russia to speak at different museums for different anniversaries (Russians are very into anniversaries -- birth, death, publication date, you name it). She doesn't write poetry herself or even read it much, but she's a wonderful storyteller.

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Sep 24, 2022Liked by Antonia Malchik

"Part of poetry’s power, it sometimes seems, is that it’s asked to serve far more purposes than any other writing, articulating both the pains and joys of human existence, of possibility, with precision and depth that defy even the language it relies on."

That is possibly the finest sentence I have ever read about the role of poetry in our lives.

It made me think of this line from Patrick Kavanagh's poem In The Same Mood, "I want by Man, not God, to be inspired."

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That is incredible. I had to do some digging to find the poem that comes from. The line just before that one struck me: "I am tired

Of loving through the medium of a sonnet" -- it made me think of my instinctive yet inexplicable turning away from metaphors over the past couple of years. Now I want to look up more of his work. Thank you!

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Sep 26, 2022Liked by Antonia Malchik

Kavanagh's most famous (long) poem is "The Great Hunger" about the Irish famine.

It's not meant to cheer one up but it's worth a read.

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I'll spend some time with him this week. Thank you.

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founding

These thoughts of Putin, of despots like him, oof. Is it so different from what we are seeing on the American Right? Just think of January 6th, how we all saw with our own eyes what went on, and yet that entire movement is trying to gaslight us to believing it was something else. Not only that, but the people in power never pay the price, are never called out for their contribution to shittiness. It is a reality that echoes in every hall of power, doesn't it? What a mess.

Meanwhile, this sentence: "But it’s not the only perceived need in the world that requires the suffering and sacrifice of others who have no choice." This is some truth, Nia. This is a way we gaslight ourselves with hardly any help at all from the bastards who would do so happily.

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If we could get rid of all the problems by toppling the despots, the answers would be easy, right? I wish it could be that way. And yet to your point, those in power also need to be held accountable for their choices and actions and that almost never happens. I wonder all the time how it can be made to happen, and then about how many centuries others have been trying to do the same.

My daily life, so many choices of what I think are necessary or needed or just comfortable, are reliant on the suffering of people and being I will never know. How to change that even a little is a monumental task ... 🧡

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deletedDec 4, 2022Liked by Antonia Malchik
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Slowing down is the name of my game! Well, by that I mean I prefer to take things slow and steady and get into the depths -- maybe instead of into the weeds? I'm not sure, but doing my best!

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