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Saved by the Bell

I've got it: An easy way to avoid talking to people we don't want to talk to. Coincidentally, it's the same way we avoid talking to people we do want to talk to, and you know how we do that. We talk...


Siri, Cortana and Alexa Walk into a Bar

(Dear reader, what follows is a true story that I made up. In other words, it didn't happen, but it really could have.) Ann told a group of us having lunch that her husband is having an affair. "We...


American Life In Poetry

There are so many delightful poems by Faith Shearin that it can be difficult to select just one to show you. This one is from her sixth book, Darwin's Daughter, published in 2017 by Stephen F. Austin...


Big Foot Is A Gasbag

After a great deal of time and effort and some very careful calculations, I've managed to measure my carbon footprint. It turns out that, much like my actual footprint, it's somewhere between a large... Full story


American Life In Poetry

Lately I've been worried about the welfare of a young groundhog who lives under our front deck. His back legs won't support him and he drags them behind. This poem has been a good lesson for me. That...


One Small Step for Man, One Giant Leap for Bubblegum

It was fifty years ago on July 20 that astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins traveled to the moon, changing America forever and inspiring one of the most famous and often-quoted...


May I Speak to a Real Person Please

I once ordered virus software from a particular company. Turns out, it would have been easier to have a virus. I was unable to download the software, so I emailed the support desk for help as...


American Life In Poetry

The following poem by James Davis May, published in 32 Poems Magazine, has a sentence I'd like to underline, because it states just what I look for in the poems I choose for this column: "We praise th...


American Life In Poetry

I am often asked if I know of a good poem to be read at a wedding, and here's one by James Bertolino, from his new and selected poems, Ravenous Bliss. Bertolino lives in Washington state and I have... Full story


Business is Picking Up

An article's headline is like a carnival barker without the midway. Metaphorically speaking, it calls out to readers as they hurry by. "Read this! You won't win a giant teddy bear, but you won't have... Full story


American Life In Poetry

I'm afraid that if I'd asked my grandparents what the past was like they'd say it was "hard," and that would be it. But Megan Arlett is privileged to have a grandmother who knows how to enchant us...


American Life In Poetry

Here's a fine poem about a loving, attentive father, by Elise Hempel, who lives in Illinois. Notice how deftly she's placed her rhymes so that we scarcely notice them as the words flow on. Ms....


American Life In Poetry

When I was a nasty little kid I once made fun of a girl in my school because her father worked cutting up dead animals at a rendering plant.My mother sat me down and said, "Ted, all work is... Full story


Business is Picking Up

The reason people who litter are called litterbugs is because they bug me. Okay, maybe that's not the reason. But they do bug me. Litter ends up in waterways. It makes road ditches and parks look...


American Life In Poetry

Austin Smith lives in rural Illinois and is an acute observer of the world at hand.This poem is from his book Flyover Country, published by Princeton University Press. Cat Moving Kittens We must have...


Rules of Engagement on Facebook

I've only unfriended one person on Facebook, and he had it coming. It was before the last election, and Misguided Fool (not his real name) posted a steady stream of mean-spirited phooey. I realize tha... Full story


American Life in Poetry

I don't suppose there are many of our younger readers who have started to worry about the possibility of memory loss, but I'd guess almost everybody over fifty does. Peter Schneider lives in... Full story


American Life in Poetry

Ibbetson Street is a journal that comes out twice a year and does a fine job selecting its poems. I like this one by Kenneth Lee, a gynecological pathologist in Boston, whose most recent book is...


His and Hers Sleep Checklists

Women need around 20 minutes more sleep per night than men do. I read it on the internet, so it must be true. Unfortunately, we also suffer from insomnia more often than men do, maybe because we have...


American Life In Poetry

How many of our mothers set aside what they wanted to do with their lives and chose instead to make good lives for us? This poem is from Faith Shearin's sixth book, Darwin's Daughter, published in 201... Full story


American Life In Poetry

I was very sorry to read that the literary journal Field, with a long history of publishing the finest of American poetry, was ceasing publication. All good things must come to an end. Here's a poem... Full story


No Child Left on Their Behind

I haven't told my husband yet, but I've made a unilateral decision. We're going to observe Screen-Free Week April 29-May 5. I don't normally approve of unilateral decisions in marriages, but I'm suppo...


American Life in Poetry

There's a lot of very wordy poetry these days, but here is a poem of only around 120 words in which every choice is necessary. I recently accepted another poem by Caitlin Doyle, who lives in Ohio,...


American Life In Poetry

There's nothing that can't be a good subject for a poem. The hard part is to capture something in such a way that it becomes engaging and meaningful. Here's a poem from the Summer 2018 issue of...


American Life In Poetry

I like this poem for the way it portrays the manner in which we study the behavior of others and project our own experiences onto their lives. It's the second poem we've published by Jeanie...


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