A change is gonna come.

Ugh, what a day. I think I slept two and a half hours, and awoke to the final day of the steambath. Figured I’d work out in the morning cool, which wasn’t. Cool, that is. Halfway through, I was gasping for breath. I know the weather change is days away, but this wet-cotton sauna shit just gets on my nerves. A few hours later my eyes felt swollen shut and it was clear that nothing was going to salvage it.

But I got a few chores done, and some work shoved out of the way, and now the sun is down, and I am ready to embrace my pillow like it’s George Clooney.

So once again, one lousy link. Like this one, with a Fort Wayne angle:

Sherman Alexie read hundreds, maybe thousands, of poems last year while editing the 2015 edition of Best American Poetry, an annual anthology that comes out Tuesday. Just over six dozen of them made the final cut, including “The Bees, the Flowers, Jesus, Ancient Tigers, Poseidon, Adam and Eve” by Yi-Fen Chou, 20 brief, cynical lines on the absurdity of desire.

But after Alexie had chosen the poem for the collection, he promptly got a note from the author, who turned out not to be the rueful, witty Chinese American poet he’d imagined while reading the piece.

It was written by Michael Derrick Hudson of Fort Wayne, Ind., a genealogist at the Allen County Public Library who, given his field of expertise, could probably easily explain that he is not of Asian descent.

Boy, I hope the pollen count isn’t so high tomorrow.

Posted at 12:53 am in Current events |

33 responses to “A change is gonna come.”

  1. Brandon said on September 9, 2015 at 3:29 am

    We have lots of writers in Hawaii, many who are actually of Asian descent.

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  2. Wim said on September 9, 2015 at 7:14 am

    So there’s just this one guy who decides what’s the best American poetry? Sheesh. Well, I’ve labored in the slushpiles. One does get giddy after a few thousand manuscripts.

    That’s fascinating, Brandon. What else can you tell us about Hawaii?

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  3. alex said on September 9, 2015 at 7:14 am

    Amazing how the people who play identity politics will make hay out of just about anything. “Yellowface”? Really? As if this poem is somehow serving up the Asian race a la Amos & Andy? I’m not seeing it.

    I suspect, though, that the poet is correct in his assessment that an interesting name is more likely to get bleary-eyed poetry reviewers to look at his shit. If he confined it to the Caucasian race he could probably go French or Italian or Celtic without causing too much of an international scandal. He should probably do his Ancestry.com DNA test and pick from there.

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  4. Suzanne said on September 9, 2015 at 8:00 am

    Yes, Indiana makes the national news yet again but almost never in a positive light. Honest to Goodness, Indiana!

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  5. beb said on September 9, 2015 at 8:13 am

    One of the wonderful things Jon Stewart would do on the Daily Show was stitch together clips of politicians and pundits saying incredible stupid shit. The White House, freed from restraint by the President’s Lame Duck status, has decided to use that shtick on Dick Cheney who has been going around saying that the Iranian deal sucks and people should listen to him because he was right about Iraq. Rachel Maddow ran all or part of it on her show last night and it was devastating. It’s hard to understand why the media continues to give Cheney a chair on television considering how wrong he has been about so much. IOKIYAAR, I guess. But it’s nice to see someone push back.

    I’ve often wondered how one can read through a slushpile without losing one sense of discernment. It has to be numbing to read so much bad poetry.

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  6. Connie said on September 9, 2015 at 8:45 am

    Any one watch Colbert last night? Reports?

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  7. Wim said on September 9, 2015 at 9:40 am

    He knocks another one out of the park: http://www.ginandtacos.com/2015/09/08/the-short-con/

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  8. Dorothy said on September 9, 2015 at 10:26 am

    Connie I only had time to see the first 15 minutes or so of it this morning before heading to work. The theater looks great, although I had twinges of sadness over what’s NOT there anymore. His shtick with the hummus fell flat for me. Loved the surprise behind the catcher’s mask, though!

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  9. coozledad said on September 9, 2015 at 10:58 am


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  10. coozledad said on September 9, 2015 at 11:18 am

    Please just slap us on the wrists so we can keep our good Christian slutgrift going.

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  11. Charlotte said on September 9, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    Wim — those best of anthologies have a general editor, I believe the poetry one is Daniel Lehman. The guest editor changes every year — Alexie wrote an interesting piece about his selection criteria here and the guy with the pseudonym here: http://blog.bestamericanpoetry.com/the_best_american_poetry/2015/09/like-most-every-poet-i-have-viewed-the-publication-of-each-years-best-american-poetry-with-happiness-i-love-that-poem-je-1.html
    He and Jess Walter also have a terrific podcast about writing called A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment (http://www.infiniteguest.org/tiny-sense/).
    I made the Best American Food Writing in 2010, which if I was more ambitious about my moribund writing career would have meant more — but especially if you’re in academia, getting in one of the anthologies is kind of a big deal.

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  12. coozledad said on September 9, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    Separated at sporulation:

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  13. Suzanne said on September 9, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    Coozledad @ 12-
    You just taught me a valuable lesson. Do not read this blog at work. I snort/laughed when I saw that pic.

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  14. susan said on September 9, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    If we treated teachers like athletes…

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  15. Jeff Borden said on September 9, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    There’s something so low rent about the entire GOP field, regardless of the presence of Donald J. Trump, whose wealth did not translate into good taste, but there is something just hilariously wrong with the stories coming out of Rowan County, Kentucky. Apparently, a good-sized aide to Mike Huckabee stood in the way of Ted Cruz, who was angling to get into the “money shot” as the bigot Kim Davis emerged from the pokey, enraging our favorite Cuban-Canadian-faux Texan. It’s like junior high school pettiness. Small men who honestly imagine themselves as the leader of the free world.

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  16. Brandon said on September 9, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    @Wim, post no. 2

    People might remember Lois-Ann Yamanaka, who became mainland-famous in the mid-90s for her debut novel, Wild Meat and the Bully Burgers. She, along with many other writers (of various ethnicities), were published in Bamboo Ridge.



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  17. Sue said on September 9, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    I begin to think that if Republican primary voters come to their senses, it’ll be Kasich. He comes off extremely well, case in point yesterday’s what next comment. He threaded that needle perfectly if he wants to present a sane choice to voters.
    But it seems Ohioans are as appalled by him as we are by Walker. How bad would a Kasich presidency be? Someone tell me please. The word ‘Neanderthal’ keeps coming up in comment sections.

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  18. Jo K said on September 9, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    Not quiet Nashville, but I’m dropping freight in Portland Tenn. Descent bar-b-q, and Winona Judd is filming a video here at the airport.

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  19. Brandon said on September 9, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    @Sue, post no. 17: He can’t be as bad as Abercrombie was for us in Hawaii. Although a liberal Democrat, Abercrombie soon alienated core constituencies like teachers, environmentalists, and labor unions. Last year, in the primary, he was voted out in favor of David Ige.

    In Kim Davis news:

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  20. brian stouder said on September 9, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    Sue, I also think Kasich-of-Ohio is their man (because, Ohio!), but he will be even worse than President Obama/Arnie Duncan/”Race to the Top”/No Child Left Behind and the past decade-plus assault on public education and our dedicated professional teachers

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  21. Sherri said on September 9, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    Polls, caucuses, primaries: forget all that. Who’s going to win the important races? The race for the big money:


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  22. brian stouder said on September 9, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    Who is impressed by this sort of irresponsibility?


    The lead –

    In America, you can’t legally bet on political outcomes (at least not yet). But if you could, we’d advise you to put some money on the government shutting down on Oct. 1.

    Where’s the gain? Who scores for this?

    Congress is acting like nothing so much as an exhibitionist on the street corner, making me want to say “EGAD!! Put it back!!”

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  23. Scout said on September 9, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    G&T definitely hits it outta the park today:

    “The thing that bothers me is that it’s so painfully obvious what she’s doing here. It’s a pattern and she’s merely the latest one. Take some kind of nonsensical stand against The Homos. Wave the Bible around a lot. Say incoherent things about the First Amendment. Become a national pariah to most but a martyr-hero to a select group off of whom you will live like a well-hidden parasite for the rest of your days. Book deals. The right wing lecture circuit. Paid appearances at every Christian Right event from here until the end of time. And of course, the inevitable GoFundMe. That worked out pretty well for the no-gays pizza parlor in Indiana. How long do you think it would have taken them to make $844,000 selling shitty pizza in the middle of a cornfield? Took about three days to raise that amount on social media.

    This is the new white trash, pearl clutching version of winning the lottery. … Rather than being disgusted or, god help you, impressed by this spectacle I wish everyone could see it for exactly what it is: an audition.

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  24. Dorothy said on September 9, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    One of the things that still aggravates me about John Kasich:


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  25. Dexter said on September 9, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    Well, she’s all ready for the trip across northern Ohio to Cleveland Clinic for her new knee. Mrs. Dexter isn’t at all apprehensive, she wants it done. She’s actually as excited as a kid at Christmas. It was a family decision that I have to stay back in Toledo to watch all these dogs in the family…no way could we board all of them. This way both Ohio daughters can be there in Cleveland to handle everything. That is just how it is, but I would rather be there of course. It’s all good, don’t get me wrong, no sour grapes here. It’s different these days…her surgery is in 10 hours and we are just now about to leave for Toledo where the Columbus daughter will drive her new car the rest of the way to Cleveland, Mom and sister in tow.

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  26. Basset said on September 9, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    Joe, I have indirectly had some dealings with ol’ Wide-Loada myself. She used to live down the road from my main fishing partner in the hills south of Nashville – her property backed onto a creek we would float sometimes, and if you caught it at just the right time one or two of her bodyguards would be standing down at the foot of the yard with their arms crossed, glaring at anyone who dared to look that way.

    She left the Christmas lights up on her fence well past the holiday one year, my buddy left a note in her mailbox saying that looked “common” and they were gone soon afterward.

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  27. Joe K said on September 9, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    Common, great story, I’ll be at bna Thursday for about 15 minutes, long enough to pick one up and take back to Indy,
    I get one where I’m overnight, I’ll let you show me the Local not tourists hot spots.
    Pilot Joe

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  28. Sherri said on September 9, 2015 at 9:32 pm

    Dahlia Lithwick reminds us that there’s a far worse evil than the privatization of the public school system: the privatization of the juvenile justice system.


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  29. basset said on September 9, 2015 at 9:41 pm

    With a little notice I can take the day off for that one, start with some Nashville hot chicken and go from there. We just got some kind of off-brand airline here which is about to or may already be flying eight-seat business jets between here and Indy, I don’t see how that can make money on any regular schedule but what do I know?

    If your passenger wants to take time for lunch go to Monell’s on Murfreesboro Road, easy cab ride from the GA part of the airport.

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  30. basset said on September 9, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    Oh shit. Fox just bought a controlling interest in National Geographic.


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  31. Sherri said on September 9, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    I was just about to post about that, basset. Talk about selling your soul.

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  32. Dave said on September 9, 2015 at 11:32 pm

    I heard that story on NPR this evening and could scarcely believe what they were saying. All I could think is that this is what the consolidation of the publishing world has brought us to.

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  33. beb said on September 10, 2015 at 8:20 am

    I don’t read enough Dahlia Lithwick, because when I do she’s always good. The Kids for money scandal is just a horrible, horrible act of abuse. I see where one judge is getting 28 years for his part in it but it’s outrageous that the operators of the for-profit prisons are only serving 12-18 months for their part in the bribery. I can understand that Judges are held to a high standard and thus will get longer sentences for their crimes but, still, isn’t the crime of offering a bribe to a judge as bad as accepting a bribe? Those people ought to be doing 28 years as well.

    There’s a long list of crazy zero-tolerance stories out there: the boy punished for nibbling his poptart to look like a gun, the kid who brought a small knife to school, sexting between minors. The girl who brought an OTC pain-reliever to school. Then there’s the whole practice of calling in the police to deal with unruly students (usually K-1,2,3) which seem to be disproportionately black. It seems like they’re trying to criminalize individuality.

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