How a Mississippi Man’s Struggles with Weight Tell the Truth about America

“America understands itself as God’s handiwork, but the black body is the clearest evidence that America is the work of men.”  —Ta-Nehasi Coates, Between the World and Me I confess that I picked up Heavy, Kiese Laymon’s staggering memoir about growing up bright and black in Mississippi, with more than a little curiosity about the obesity […]

#10 Heartlands Best Reads of 2018: Turtles All the Way Down

What does it take to be a Heartlands Best Read of 2018? —Alex has to have read the book. This is a big limitation right from the get-go, but, hey, it’s reality. —Excellent writing. Good stories, good prose, good poetry. You won’t get there on the ideas alone. —A strong sense of place. —Preference is […]

Why We Don’t Care About ‘The National Water Situation’

“For all my love of rivers, ‘our nation’s rivers’ have not moved me once.  The rivers that move me are those I’ve fished, canoed, slept beside, lived on, nearly drowned in, dreamed about, sipped tea and wine by, taught my kids to swim in, pulled a thousand fish from, fought and fought to defend.  I’ve […]

Sitting Beneath the Michigan Tree: Back at the Festival of Faith & Writing

Kwame Alexander, Newberry Award-winning author of The Crossover, looked out across the sea of 2,000 introverts and defied every tenet of writerly reserve. “Say ‘yes,’” he said. Say ‘yes’ to the opportunity, the challenge, even to the indignities of selling your work. There is power in your words. Kwame has a bus now with a […]