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To Ask or Not to Ask: That is the Question

By Kristen Hogan

“What is the universe made of? If it’s not water or air, what is it?” “The universe is made of space.” “Yeah, but what is space?” “Space is empty. It’s nothing. That’s why it’s called space.” “That’s impossible, actually. It has to be made of something.” So begins a conversation with my seven-year-old son. I’m …

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Knowing What We Don’t Know

By Jessie Christensen

Last weekend I decided to watch a movie that came out last year, but apparently has not had much publicity because I had not heard of it until a few weeks ago. The movie is called A Better Life and it is about a gardener who lives in Los Angeles and is raising his teenage son by himself. The gardener, Carlos, wants his son, Luis, to have a better life than he has, but is so busy working to just to pay the rent that he and Luis have grown apart. Carlos’ boss convinces him to buy his truck when he decides to go back to Mexico, and for one day Carlos thinks he finally has a chance to get ahead. Then his truck is stolen and Carlos, who cannot go to the police for fear they will discover that he is undocumented, enlists Luis to help get it back and save their family. A major theme in the movie is the unknown: Luis really doesn’t know what his father does all day or understand the sacrifices Carlos makes for him; Carlos doesn’t realize that his son is drifting farther away from him and is tempted to join the gangs in his neighborhood; and most of the people in Los Angeles don’t even see Carlos or his family and friends at all or understand anything about his existence.

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Warning! Poetry!

By Kellie Purcill

I would hugely appreciate such a warning, as I am incredibly wary of poems. They are dangerous, wily creatures that lie in ambush, lurking stealthily beneath words in my personal scary wilderness. Seemingly restful and innocent, luring me in closer to the stunning flourishes, the polished simplicity, the sweetness of gentle phrases, incredibly lovely to SNAP/?crunch&%^!wallop – and suddenly I’m dazed, leaking blood or tears and left aching in the dust. Or I see something fluorescent green with a clunky gait, seventeen heads and galloping backwards and am told to my bafflement “Oh, that’s a poem.”

Poetry represents my first concrete, unpleasant realisation that language could be mean.  My teacher opened my mind to the beauty of poetry, so readily created in six little lines of rhyme, in something called (so delightfully to a besotted seven year old) a “lim-er-ick”. The giddiness lasted 10 minutes, until Mrs Sumpton told the whole class to make up a limerick about someone – and all but two of my classmates wrote a limerick about me. Kellie. Jelly. Telly. Belly. Oh, the inhumanity.

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