In a recent interview for the New York Times, American poet Jane Hirshfield discusses the transformative power of poetry. “A poem … tries to see the wholeness of things from every angle and every side in order to see more clearly,” she says. In one sense, going back to the Ancient Greek origins of the word, “poiesis,” a poem attempts “to make” a new world for the reader as it offers a different view of reality.
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In our conversations on anti-racism within the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) plan, some hold out “justice” as a goal. While everyone may understand what he/she/they means by “justice,” collective use of the term is problematic. “Justice” is subject to interpretation; it is subjective, a double-edged sword. One’s justice can become another’s oppression. In order to reverse centuries of institutionalized and systemic racism and discrimination in this country, I would instead suggest “diversity” and “tolerance” as concepts to discuss, pursue and implement.