As cartographer Denis Wood wrote in the provocative 1977 essay "Free the Children! Down with Playgrounds!": "A playground only makes sense if adults know better than kids where, when, and with what to play. But if kids know best — and everything suggests they do — than the adult construction of playgrounds is senseless."
"Children are a kind of indicator species. If we can build a successful city for children, we will have a successful city for all people." —Enrique Penelosa, pioneering urbanist mayor of Bogota, Columbia.
On a scrap of paper in the archive is written
I have forgotten my umbrella. Turns out
in a pandemic everyone, not just the philosopher,
is without. We scramble in the drought of information
held back by inside traders. Drop by drop. Face
covering? No, yes. Social distancing? Six feet
under for underlying conditions. Black.
Just us and the blues kneeling on a neck
with the full weight of a man in blue.
Eight minutes and forty-six seconds.
In extremis, I can’t breathe gives way
to asphyxiation, to giving up this world,
and then mama, called to, a call
to protest, fire, glass, say their names, say
their names, white silence equals violence,
the violence of again, a militarized police
force teargassing, bullets ricochet, and civil
unrest taking it, burning it down. Whatever
contracts keep us social compel us now
to disorder the disorder. Peace. We’re out
to repair the future. There’s an umbrella
by the door, not for yesterday but for the weather
that’s here. I say weather but I mean
a form of governing that deals out death
and names it living. I say weather but I mean
a November that won’t be held off. This time
nothing, no one forgotten. We are here for the storm
that’s storming because what’s taken matters.
Claudia Rankine (2020)
A Poem of Thanks
I have been spared another day
to come into this night
as though there is a mercy in things
mindful of me. Love, cast all
thought aside. I cast aside
all thought. Our bodies enter
their brief precedence,
surrounded by their sleep.
Through you I rise, and you
through me, into the joy
we make, but may not keep.
Wendell Berry (1968)
My daughter plays on the floor
with plastic letters,
red, blue & hard yellow,
learning how to spell,
how to make spells.
I wonder how many women
denied themselves daughters,
closed themselves in rooms,
drew the curtains
so they could mainline words.
A child is not a poem,
a poem is not a child.
there is no either/or.
I return to the story
of the woman caught in the war
& in labour, her thighs tied
together by the enemy
so she could not give birth.
Ancestress: the burning witch,
her mouth covered by leather
to strangle words.
A word after a word
after a word is power.
At the point where language falls away
from the hot bones, at the point
where the rock breaks open and darkness
flows out of it like blood, at
the melting point of granite
when the bones know
they are hollow & the word
splits & doubles & speaks
the truth & the body
itself becomes a mouth.
This is a metaphor.
How do you learn to spell?
Blood, sky & the sun,
your own name first,
your first naming, your first name,
your first word.
Writing is selection. Just to start a piece of writing you have to choose one word and only one from more than a million in the language. Now keep going. What is your next word? You next sentence, paragraph, section, chapter? Your next ball of fact. You select what goes in and you decide what stays out. At base you have only one criterion: If something interests you, it goes in —if not, it stays out. That’s a crude way to assess things, but it’s all you’ve got. Forget market research. Never market-research your writing. Write on subjects in which you have enough interest on your own to see you through all stops, starts, hesitations, and other impediments along the way. Ideally, a piece of writing should grow to whatever length is sustained by its selected material — the much and no more.
Draft No. 4 - John McPhee / pg. 180
"A means of visual communication that makes things understandable to other people...the goal of graphic design, when it's good, is to raise the expectations of what graphic design can be." —Paula Scher
"[Design exists] to transform content or concepts into visual messages. Content is not a message until it's given form." —Paulus M. Dreibholz
"What is good design? Good design meets your client’s needs and satisfies your client enough to pay you. Good design is about today. Great design? Great design is something else. Great design may be unrecognizable initially as design. It may look useless or weird or extravagant or odd. It may look like something else. The great design of tomorrow may appeal to more senses than merely sight: it may smell or move or touch you back. It may change the way we interpret time or space or beauty. It may demand that we make new neural connections in the brain. I know that sounds scientifically reductive, but it is true. Great design is something we don’t understand when we first confront it. Great design might make us want to understand it but it doesn’t have to. It will wait for us to come around and find new ways to appreciate it." —David Barringer