Starting Point

‘Are We Not of Interest to Each Other?’

Poet Elizabeth Alexander asks that question. Worlds await when we are present to one another. 

Illustration by Andrea Ucini.

“Race is a little bit like gravity,” john powell says: experienced by all, understood by few. He is a refreshing, redemptive thinker who counsels all kinds of people and projects on the front lines of our present racial longings. Race is relational, he reminds us. It’s as much about whiteness as about color. He takes new learnings from the science of the brain as forms of everyday power. “We don’t have to imagine doing things one at a time,” he says. “It’s not, ‘how do we get there?’ It’s, ‘how do we live?’”

In today’s polarized political climate, the idea of changing a mind or a heart feels impossible. Clare Mulvany reflects on what it means to be open to the possibility of great change in yourself — and in others.

This prophetic conversation, which Rev. angel Kyodo williams had with Krista in 2018, is an invitation to imagine and nourish the transformative potential of this moment — toward human wholeness. Rev. angel is an esteemed Zen priest and the second Black woman recognized as a teacher in the Japanese Zen lineage. She is one of our wisest voices on social evolution and the spiritual aspect of social healing.

Who is "the other"? A call to cultivate deep curiosity for the lives and struggles and to move away from the "Us-versus-Them" mentality — including a reflective exercise you can perform right now, wherever you are.

“Ars Poetica #100: I Believe”

Poetry, I tell my students,
is idiosyncratic. Poetry

is where we are ourselves
(though Sterling Brown said

“Every ‘I’ is a dramatic ‘I’”),
digging in the clam flats

for the shell that snaps,
emptying the proverbial pocketbook.

Poetry is what you find
in the dirt in the corner,

overhear on the bus, God
in the details, the only way

to get from here to there.
Poetry (and now my voice is rising)

is not all love, love, love,
and I’m sorry the dog died.

Poetry (here I hear myself loudest)
is the human voice,

and are we not of interest to each other?

“Ars Poetica #100: I Believe” from Crave Radiance by Elizabeth Alexander. Copyright © 2012 by Elizabeth Alexander. Used with permission of the author.

This poem was originally read in the On Being episode “Words That Shimmer.”