Essays

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Writer Kelly Conrad at home with the poets who inspire her. (Photo courtesy of the writer.)

During Filipino American History Month and beyond, poetry offers a rare non-colonial lens

Resistance through poetry

The Filipino poetic tradition in English has defiant roots in the American occupation of the Philippines in the 1900s. In honor of Filipino American History Month, Kelly Conrad explores history and self-identity through the rare non-colonial lens of Filipino poetry.
Kelly Conrad

Kelly Conrad

Essays 5 minute read
Can you cut the cake and still get your money back? (Photo by Ali Eminov, via Flickr.)

Are you displacing your rage in the age of COVID?

The great crooked cake crisis

For some, pandemic life brings out extra kindness and patience. But as Roz Warren tells it, others are looking for a target for their anger.
Roz Warren

Roz Warren

Essays 4 minute read
It’s easy to see when the world stopped. (Photo by Fredricka Maister.)

Here's how one person over 60 is handling life in quarantine, eight months later

Eight months on the coronacoaster

Fredricka Maister optimistically began quarantine back in March, like millions of others in her higher-risk age group. But what does life look like eight months later?
Fredricka R. Maister

Fredricka R. Maister

Essays 5 minute read
Noting exclusions in Philly monuments: Sharon Hayes’s 2017 ‘If They Should Ask,’ part of Monument Lab. (Photo by Steve Wenik, courtesy of Temple University Press.)

UPenn’s Arthur Ross Gallery hosts ‘Monuments and Social Justice’

Watch this space

In late September, Arthur Ross Gallery hosted a virtual conversation about the state of public art, looking to the past, present, and future of Philly monuments. Pam Forsythe listened in.

Pamela J. Forsythe

Essays 4 minute read
It’s not what she expected, but Roz is raising a mug to retirement. (Image courtesy of the author.)

I lost my library job because I refused to work with the public in the pandemic

Grab your books and go

After decades behind the circulation desk, Roz Warren didn’t feel safe going back to work in the pandemic.
Roz Warren

Roz Warren

Essays 4 minute read
At the arcade, a young “DAN” imagined being a superhero, but adulthood brought surprising changes. (Photo by Arcade Perfect, via Wikimedia Commons.)

Here’s what my blindness made me realize about superheroes

Reinventing the hero

Danie Jackson grew up loving superheroes, but a changing career and coping with vision loss brought a new perspective on helping and accepting help.
Danie "Ocean" Jackson

Danie "Ocean" Jackson

Essays 5 minute read
The author, her partner, and their housemate bless challah—made from a family recipe—on a recent Friday. (Image courtesy of the author.)

Here’s how my Jewish great-grandparents’ Philly bakery lives in me today

The food chain

While braiding and baking the Friday challah, Anndee Hochman imagines her great-grandmother’s journey from Russia. What did she carry with her? Are those things alive today?
Anndee Hochman

Anndee Hochman

Essays 4 minute read
Offering effective care and compassion means being ready to do it again and again. (Photo by Alaina Johns.)

What being a caregiver in the pandemic taught me about real revolution

When anger isn’t enough

Before the pandemic hit, Michelle Nugent defined herself by her work as a teacher and writer. But a necessary shift to caregiving taught her more about our moment than she expected.
Michelle Nugent

Michelle Nugent

Essays 5 minute read
A signal of better days to come? Philly leaves the lights on for us all. (Photo by Camille Bacon-Smith.)

Who’s behind the lights of Philly’s most iconic nighttime landmarks?

Light at heart

Just like any major city, Philly wouldn't be the same without the lights dotting its skyline. Camille Bacon-Smith talks to the people who keep them on.
Camille Bacon-Smith

Camille Bacon-Smith

Essays 5 minute read
Time for everyone to look inward: a huddle from PlayPenn’s 2016 conference. (Photo by John Flak.)

Philly’s pandemic-era arts reckoning gives leaders a choice

Will we survive? It’s up to us

The current controversies on our arts scene didn’t begin with the pandemic—but life in lockdown forced the community to reckon with its true priorities. Tenara Calem explores the choice arts leaders must make.
Tenara Calem

Tenara Calem

Essays 7 minute read