High school writers connect across chasms with Page Poetry Contest

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IOWA CITY — With the 2020 murder of George Floyd, and the trial of the officer who killed him, a program I started as a high school writing program has become an escape, an outlet, and a way to deal for the young writers who are participating. Page Poetry Contest Winners from IC Speaks Over the past year, IC Speaks and our members have dealt with a pandemic, and an explosion of political conversation happening worldwide. In some cases, I had BIPOC students writing pieces about the anger and pain…

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Jay Wallerich: “I’m Empty Reality”

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“I’m Empty Reality” by Jay Wallerich My mind leaks empty reality; Onto these pages it spills Freely, Chaotically, Endlessly. Something profound festers inside but I have no words to work off of. The madness stays within. I feel need to explain the process in which my thoughts are growing from But my tongue is tangled in the weeds My teeth chipped from rocks, My lips dry from the dirt. Words become utterly useless. What is it called when one’s self is overfilling? Being held above oxygen level, looking down upon…

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Aidan Spurgetis: “Out of Sight”

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“Out of Sight” by Aidan Spurgetis He lost the staring contest because the stucco ceiling had too many eyes. He sat up stretched and yawned. It had been two days since his apocalypse and he brushed his teeth. The arm moved in the old pattern like an explosive jackhammer stinging the edge of his gums. It wasn’t self-punishment only habit. He didn’t know how long he brushed but he stopped when it felt right. He lost the staring contest with the mirror because he had water in his eye. and…

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Nancy Nahra: “The Roar of the Highway”

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The Roar of the Highway by Nancy Nahra The roar of the highway is the song I fight with every night. A hollow sound for the hollow road, Friendless rubber tires and fatigued metal boxes and Chills in fortissimo Amplify The beautiful sound haunting me from my balcony. Low, hazy bellows and hunger- ridden notes cushion and sing the suburbs to sleep. The roar of the highway Cools down the stars. Can you teach me how to have that power in my voice? How to make the desperation sweet when…

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Lies, melodrama, and the hunger to control guns and drugs: roots of police brutality (TRM Blog)

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Days after Derek Chauvin’s trial resulted in full convictions last week for George Floyd’s murder, we’re in the thick, realizing things haven’t changed much in the past year. Since Tuesday alone, victims of known videotaped police shootings are a 40-year-old unarmed Black father of 10 wanted on drug charges, shot in the back; a 21-year-old unarmed Black father of one wanted for missing a Zoom hearing on gun charges; another 21-year-old unarmed Black man who sought help from police; a 16-year-old Black girl shot from behind while rushing another girl…

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A future to avoid on display with Maya Lin’s Ghost Forest

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NEW YORK CITY — How do you persuade naysayers that climate change is real, that the earth is fragile and needs protection? How do you call people to action to forestall environmental collapse and the natural world’s death? American architect and sculptor Maya Lin‘s latest effort is “Ghost Forest,” an installation of 50 Atlantic white cedar trees, each some 40 feet tall, and each defoliated and dead. Looming over Madison Square Park like a warning, the trees look cadaverous. “I wanted to create something that would be intimately related to…

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LGBTQ+ care now, transition care soon: TPQC expands support for health care equity

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QUAD CITIES — When Tyler Mitchell went to a general health care practitioner a few years ago, just as the groundbreaking HIV preventative treatment of PrEP was introduced, he was shocked at what he was not told. “I didn’t necessarily know a lot about PrEP at the time, so I didn’t attempt to engage about it,” said Mitchell, marketing and communications director for The Project of the Quad Cities. “But my provider was aware of the fact that I was a gay male and could be at an increased risk…

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Coralville artist returns to Eldon hometown for massive “American Gothic” mural

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ELDON, IA — It doesn’t get much better than this for a budding artist — or for a humble small town with a renowned American feature. Katlynne Hummell Underhill is painting the largest outdoor mural of her career (20 feet tall by 30 feet wide), featuring an iconic art image (the farmhouse from Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” painting), with the support of a revered arts organization (The Grant Wood Art Colony), in her hometown (Eldon, Ia.). And, her resourceful technique will likely help preserve her work longer and better. “I…

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TRM Blog: Race, gender and religion? Or ego, pride and control? Real-life intersectionality in Grinnell

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GRINNELL, IA — The straight white male history teacher could not have been more repentant. “I drew incorrect conclusions …. I misinterpreted … I did not paint an accurate picture,” he said of an attack letter he wrote about efforts to make Grinnell-Newburg’s public school curriculum more diverse and welcoming. “I failed to reach out… failed to take the time …. misinterpreted… had preconceived notions,” said Kent Kastendick. On he went, in at least 17 different ways, trying to pull back the wave of anger, suspicion and fear he inspired…

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Stealth agents, special agents: A lighter look at how COVID vaccines work

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“As an ICU nurse, I’ve watched far too many die from COVID in the past year. I’m also painfully aware of the horrific atrocities historically inflicted on minority and marginalized humans in the name of ‘science.’ I understand the reluctance of some to accept the vaccine. We do have so much work to do in science and in society to repair and heal our communities. It’s my hope that this vaccine — and my fun little column below — is part of that process.” — author Heather Fudala When you got…

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