Generations, by Lucille Clifton

Staff Pick

The prose of great poets resonates from a special, liminal place all its own, and Clifton’s lyrical memoir—first published in 1976 and reissued with an appreciation by former poet laureate Tracy K. Smith—sings with not just her own voice, but those of her family members as channeled through her “great storyteller” father. Richly cadenced with the rhythms of ordinary speech, these moving stories—punctuated by excerpts from Whitman—profile the generations descended from Mammy Ca’line—abducted from Africa, trafficked to the U.S., and forced to walk North from New Orleans to Virginia at “eight years old”; through her daughter, Lucille Sale, “the first Black woman legally hanged in the state of Virginia”; and on to Clifton’s father, Sam, that “rock” of a man who could barely write but was “an avid reader” and instilled in his daughter the pride of Dahomey women.

 

 

Generations: A Memoir Cover Image
By Lucille Clifton, Tracy K. Smith (Introduction by)
$14.95
ISBN: 9781681375878
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: NYRB Classics - November 16th, 2021

Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet

Staff Pick

This is not your usual plant trees-don’t-eat-meat-manual to stopping the ravages of climate change. While many environmental activists and leaders—including the U.N.’s Christiana Figueres, a major architect of the 2015 Paris Agreement—have made Buddhist practices instrumental to their work, the book’s eponymous link is drawn mainly indirectly. But it is everywhere in this eloquent, reassuring meditation on awakening and compassion, and it is crucial. Crucial not just to “saving the planet” from fires and floods, but to lifting humankind from the divisiveness and exploitation that have mired us in the dire conditions we face. Everywhere demonstrating the peace, calm, and joy promised to us on (and as creatures of ) the path of mindfulness, this esteemed master shows us how concentrating on the breath and putting aside the self fosters awareness, keeps us open, and  lets us realize the connections between ourselves, others, and nature. With the communities built on this insight, we can see that we are all parts of one whole, and that only together do we have the necessary strength and energy to create lasting, meaningful change.

Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062954794
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Published: HarperOne - October 5th, 2021

Warmth, by Daniel Sherrell

Staff Pick

As other writers have recently done, Sherrell homes in on troubling issues by framing his timely book around a letter to an unborn child. In this case the issue is climate change and the child is a real question. As Sherrell, an activist with NY Renews, struggles to determine what he “owe[s]” a future family, he turns the Problem—as he calls it throughout this deeply felt and uneasy meditation—from every conceivable angle; starting with the powerful account of a man whose self-immolation caused the briefest flutter in attention to that Problem, he examines his own growing up in a changing world; the anachronistic connection of young children to stuffed figures of animals they may never actually see; the troublesome term “environmentalist,” which he feels shows “the cheapening of a god into a religion”; the anniversary of Katrina as a model for commemoration of those lost to climate, where loss is perhaps salvaged if the moment of silence is viewed as “not the absence of sound but the presence of something that cannot be spoken”; and much more. Though feeling language is “plainly inadequate to any real consideration of the Problem,” Sherrell’s own often takes a lyrical bent, and he lavishes care and attention on describing the natural world, as if to make it—and us—linger here long enough so we can find a way through this unfathomable time.

 

Warmth: Coming of Age at the End of Our World Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143136538
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Penguin Books - August 3rd, 2021

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