“Nowadays, I am acutely aware of the power of transgenerational trauma that has come to life in new circumstances. I feel like it’s getting scary to speak openly. This is what was passed down to me from my ancestors from the USSR, what the people already lived during the oppressive Stalin years.”
[…] It was clear that he had the ideal picture of our country in his head. The country he dreams of being a part of is kind and noble, driven by justice and dignity, where people live in peace and travel the world. Tears welled up in my eyes. Feelings were raging inside me. I love my son very much and I love my country, but to my regret, this ideal country has never existed. On the contrary, the worst oppressive practices of the Soviet Union started to mutate in an ugly way in nowadays Russia.
Nancy Kuhl’s fourth book of poetry, On Hysteria, is forthcoming from Shearsman Books in 2022. She was a research fellow at the Western New England Institute for Psychoanalysis from 2010 to 2019. She is co-editor of Phylum Press, a small poetry publisher, and Curator of Poetry for the Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
Deborah Dancy is a multimedia abstract artist whose paintings, drawings, digital photography, and small sculptures play with the shifting intersection between abstraction and representation. Her many awards include a Guggenheim Fellow, a Yaddo Fellow, the American Antiquarian Society William Randolph Hearst Artist and Writers Creative Arts Fellowship, and the National Endowment of the Arts NEFA award. Her work is in numerous collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO; 21c Museum; the Baltimore Museum; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Birmingham Museum of Art; the Hunter Museum; the Detroit Institute of Art; the Montgomery Museum of Art; the Spencer Museum of Art; the Hunter Museum of Art; Vanderbilt University; Grinnell College; Oberlin College Museum of Art; Davidson Art Center; Wesleyan University; and the United States Embassy, Harare, Zimbabwe. She is represented by Kathryn Markel Fine Arts, NYC; Robischon Gallery, Denver; and Marcia Wood Gallery, Atlanta.
You have to hold yourself in your hands—a literal translation of a saying we have that means something along the lines of “get ahold of yourself.” In the days since February 24, I have spoken to my cousin Oksana frequently. She lives in Odesa, our home city in Ukraine.
[…] Afghanistan moves something inside me, a feeling, a motion, a disturbing sensation. Afghanistan is more than a place under a killing sun. It is a feeling from deep inside me. On the surface, it may comprise various geographical references: countries like Syria, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, or Saharan Africa. We are so far apart, so alien to one another, and yet, thinking of those places, I feel as if a strong and old experience of them hides somewhere deep inside my body.
[…]What had I done? I thought my words would be harmless, a mere repetition of hers with a millimeter of meaning attached. I had hoped they would let her know I heard her. How did I alarm her instead? She had been pouring poison in and out of her cup until my words stopped her, as if the poison turned real when I spoke. I should never have linked play with harm. It was weeks before she would come near me again.
Smoke is engulfing the streets of Odesa from the bombardment of the city’s oil refinery by Russian missiles. The Zatoka bridge, which links the city with the rest of Ukraine, has been attacked and destroyed. I watch the news with horror as the map of Russian-controlled territory expands. I fear for Odesa, the “Pearl of the Black Sea.” I fear it could become another Mariupol in Putin’s brutal war. Because I have traveled to Odesa, the news feels personal. Odesa is a city redolent with memories of dear people and precious encounters.
In a single month, I, along with millions of people around the world, and most painfully of all, of course, people in Ukraine and Russia, have witnessed and experienced a strange psychosocial dynamic. The most well-meaning, thoughtful people, usually inclined to carefully reflect on matters that concern them and not in any sense radical, have now been “moved” from a shared reality into separate realities.
Reaching Evangelicals and Catholics: An Interview with Doug Pagitt of Vote Common Good by Elizabeth Cutter Evert
Doug Pagitt, a Midwestern Evangelical Pastor and founder of Vote Common Good, describes that in the 2020 election, there was a 5 to 10 percent shift in Evangelical voters away from Republicans. He is confident that an additional 5 to 10 percent are looking for an “exit ramp” from supporting Republicans involved with “policies of division, racism, selfishness, cruelty, and exclusion. As part of a series of articles for ROOM about bridging divides in the United States, I interviewed him about his work with politicians, as well as Evangelical and Catholic voters, and asked for advice for people on the left who are interested in building inclusive coalitions.