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Display in the window of a well-established charity shop in Epping, Essex UK

Digging for Bargains (and Stories) at Thrift Shops and Other Places

I have to confess I used to avoid going to second-hand stores–not because I’m a snob, but because I’m sort of a hypochondriac. I always imagined those places teeming with viruses and crawling with germs. But my recent move to Ann Arbor as a grad student forced me to evaluate living a more practical lifestyle.

A Device for Binding the Intellect

by Greg Schutz

The 2012 education platform released by the Republican Party of Texas last summer contains more than just a troubling attack on critical thinking skills in the classroom. Considered in a broad historical context, the GOP’s platform lays bare fundamental inconsistencies in the conservative thought that birthed it. The product of a grossly divided intellectual legacy, it represents an extraordinary cheapening of our American heritage.

Against Writing Every Day

by Claire Skinner

Like most creative writers (especially us wayward poets), I don’t relish being told what to do. Perhaps this is why I bristle when I hear the dictum write every day. To me, writing every day doesn’t sound appetizing: it sounds like a dry piece of rye toast with no butter. It sounds Machiavellian. It sounds like a chore, replete with brooms and mops and green jars of Comet. As it is, my To Do List is already chock-full of this and that and a little more of this.

The State of the Book and the Great Write-Off

Believing as we do that Michigan is a state where literature matters, we’d love to invite you, wherever you are, to visit our fine state this month to celebrate the written word. We’re hosting a day-long symposium, called The State of the Book, and drawing a crowd of writers and readers from around the world to talk books in Ann Arbor.

Poetry by Cleopatra Mathis


1. Between Grief and Sorrow

Grief staggers around the house

some thief has emptied.

It wants to tell you everything

all over again; blame is the story

grief hammers, hammering until your leg shakes,

your right foot won’t stop tapping.

It’s a dance for the shaken,

strung out with waiting, and now look

who’s back to guard the door: