Blind Poet - Economics as Art - Burning Bright

Hour One

Blind Poet

blindness.jpg

John Mikhail Asfour was thirteen years old when a grenade blew up in his face. It was 1958, and he was a teenager living in Lebanon during the civil war.

Three years later, the full impact of that grenade blast hit him: he went completely blind.

He emigrated to Canada in 1968, moving to Montreal where he became a translator, an editor and a poet.
He has published seven books of poetry, including his latest, Blindfold.

The Association of American University Presses selected Blindfold as a distinguished book, calling it "a moving collection of poems on the distance surrounding disability".

He is also the editor of the soon-to-be-released anthology, V6A: Writing from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

John Mikhael Asfour joined Michael from our studio in Montreal.

Related Link:

Blindness - McGill-Queen's University Press 

Music in Hour One:

Bright Sky by Alex De Grassi from the CD World Getting Loud

Fantasia No. 7 In E Flat  Major - Scherzando by Angele Dubeau from Jewels of the Baroque

Beautiful Sun by Little Miss Higgins from Across the Plains

Torontella by Vitti Rezzo and 5 After 4 from Drums of Avilla

Hour Two

Economics as public art

Almost 240 years after Adam Smith wrote The Wealth of Nations, economists are still trying to get it right ... and still playing a leading role in shaping public policy.

But Judith Marquand worries that the roots of the world's current economic malaise may lie in the discipline of economics itself.

And she's an economist.

Judith Marquand worked for years in the UK Government Economic Service, and she's a former professor of economics at the University of Sheffield. Her books include Autonomy and Change: The Sources of Economic Growth.

Judith Marquand joined Michael from a studio in Oxford.

Related Links:

Judith Marquand's essay: Economics as Public Art

Documentary: The Some Kind of Wonderful Life of John Ellison

Thumbnail image for soul-brothers-six-some-kind-of-wonderful-atlantic.jpgYou know the song.

In 1975, Some Kind of Wonderful was a huge hit for Grand Funk Railroad.

But Some Kind of Wonderful wasn't written by, or even for, Grand Funk.

John Ellison, the lead singer and songwriter for the Soul Brothers Six, wrote it in 1967. It was a hit for the all-black group but it was only played on black radio stations.

It was not until a white group sang it and white radio stations played it, that it turned into a mainstream classic. Since then, more than 50 artists have recorded Some Kind of Wonderful, making it one of the most played songs in pop music history.

John Ellison tells his story in plain language, using words we don't often put on the radio.

The Some Kind of Wonderful Life of John Ellison was produced by Jean Dalrymple.

Related Links:

2008 Hamilton Music Awards - John Ellison performs Some Kind of Wonderful.

Music in Hour Two:

Sleepwalk by Fred Redekop from the CD Shoot the Moon

In the Field by Colin Linden from Six Strings North of the Border

Some Kind of Wonderful by Grand Funk Railroad from Grand Funk Railroad Greatest Hits

Fred's Worried Life Blues, by Fred McDowell

Johnny B Good, by Chuck Berry

I Don't Want to Cry, by Soul Brothers Six

Some Kind of Wonderful, by Soul Brothers Six

My Baby's Gone by Doug Riley from Stride

Hour Three


Essay: Seeing Things Through

farm.jpgEven the most citified among us have probably entertained the romantic fantasy.

Be one with the land, provide sustenance and health to people, claim a more grounded existence - literally.

Yes! Be a farmer! 

No thinking animal, plant or human being will be surprised to know that the reality is just a little more complicated.

Jordan Marr lives in Peachland, B.C., where he wrote his essay, Seeing Things Through.

Documentary: Burning Bright

Occupy2.jpgThis weekend, friends, family and fellow rabble rousers gathered to mark the anniversary of the death of Tooker Gomberg - Edmonton bicycle crusader, environmentalist, would-be-mayor of Toronto, sunflower lover, activist extraordinaire. He died in 2004.

With Angela Bischoff, his partner of seventeen years, Tooker Gomberg went about trying to change the world ... almost every hour of every day, until he flamed out and tumbled into a deep depression.

For many activists, burn-out is an occupational hazard.

This morning, The Sunday Edition reprises a cautionary tale about the activist life. It's called Burning Bright, by Frank Faulk.

Related Links:

Canada Tibet Committee

Greenspiration

Anima Leadership

The Lifelong Activist

Music in Hour Three: 

Cripple Creek by B-flat Sisters from the CD Versatility

St.James Infirmary by Hugh Laurie from Let Them Talk

Mustang Sealy by Joe Sealy from Blue Jade

I Like Your Company/Old Friends Medley by Jackie Richardson from A Woman's View...

Through Child Eyes

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