Welcome to Wednesday.
For those of you not in the Triad (or the Triad’s media market), Winston-Salem’s NPR station (WFDD) yesterday morning broadcast an interview with Press 53 founder Kevin Watson, and interview you can listen to here.Â Press 53 will celebrate its 5.3-year anniversary with a party in downtown WS on Saturday.Â (On Friday, WFDD will air an interview with Press 53 poets Terri Kirby Erickson and Joseph Mills.)
Also on NPR yesterday, “Talk of the Nation” discussed how to write a sentence with Stanley Fish, author of the new book . . . um, How to Write a Sentence.Â His best advice, borrowed from Annie Dillard, is that if you want to be a writer, you have to like sentences, “the nitty-gritty material of the medium.”
Across the Atlantic, poets in Great Britain are embarking on a campaign to reclaim England’s patron saint, the dragon-slayer Saint George, from far-right ultra-nationalist groups.Â As a Shakespeare lover (“and, upon this charge/ Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'”) and unabashed Anglophile, I have a weird little soft spot for Saint George.Â As a Southerner, I know more than a little about historic cultural symbols that have been hijacked by far-right looney tunes.Â Could our poets take up the challenge of reclaiming symbols of Southernness to represent all Southerners?Â More to the point, should they?
Speaking of challenges, the North Carolina General Assembly convenes its 2011 session today facing a possible $3.7 billion gap in the state budget.Â How big is $3.7 billion?Â According to one set of figures I’ve heard, the state could close the entire UNC system, and all the community college, and still not completely fill our budgetary hole.Â And it is our budgetary hole: national politics get all the attention, but state politics usually have more effect on our daily lives.
You’re going to be hearing a good bit from us in coming months about the state budget and the state’s role in supporting the arts, including the literary arts, including the Network.Â We all have a role to play in making sure our legislators recognize the importance of the arts to North Carolina, but we can start today by making sure we’re registered to vote, and making sure you know who your state legislators are.