The Internet and the Blogs are filled with tumult and terror over the state 0f the world's economy. These fears do not bother many poets because they dont work in the economy but this terror is real. The truth is however that it has been many years since Americans have had to worry about the state of the economy but like a house that has been eaten by termites America is weaker and we are wondering.
One of my friends who also happens to be a poet Mark Tardi is leaving Chicago to work in Lodz, Poland for a year as a Fulbright Scholar. In Chicago we become immune to thinking of Poland as a foreign land since there are so many Poles here but Lodz has a history worth repeating. It was a great center of Yiddish learning and during World War 2 it was home to the Lodz Ghetto one of the worst Ghettoes in the Nazi system. Today Lodz is a cultural capital in the new Poland.
I think that this is what makes Chicago different than New York. In New York the predominant groups are Jews, Italians & Puerto Ricans. These are all outward looking groups with a history of commerce and expansiveness. In Chicago the predominant groups are Poles/Slavs, Irish, Germans, Blacks and Mexicans. What all the Chicago groups have in common is hard work and strong spirituality. It makes the two cities feel different. Chicago is a stay at home city, New York is a go out city. Chicago is a city of Home owners, New York a city of renters.
This also applies to our Presidential Election. Barack Obama is a Chicagoan. He chose to live here and Chicago for all its culture and dynamism is a really big small town this informs allot of what he believes in. John McCain is a hero but he is not REALLY from Arizona like Barry Goldwater was he is from the Navy.