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Impossible - Table of Contents

Initial Introduction


Poem: Seamus Heaney—From "The Cure at Troy"
Section One Introduction
Diane Ackerman—"A Slender Thread": Hope and despair in volunteering at a suicide prevention line, by the author of A Natural History of the Senses
Jonathan Kozol—"Ordinary Resurrections": From the book of the same name, the hope Kozol draws from children Marian Wright Edelman—"Standing for Children": by the founder of the Children's Defense Fund and author of A Letter to My Children
Danusha Goska—"Political Paralysis": An Indiana activist with a paralyzing physical disability talks about overcoming political immobilization, drawing on her history working with the Peace Corps and Mother Teresa


Poem: W.H. Auden-From "September 1, 1939"
Section Two Introduction
Howard Zinn—"The Optimism of Uncertainty": Drawing strength from the very uncertainty of our efforts, by the author of A People's History of the United States
Nelson Mandela—"The Dark Years": Memoir of his Robben Island imprisonment from The Long Walk to Freedom
Vaclav Havel—"Orientation of the Heart": The value of seemingly futile actions by Czech president Havel, adapted from his book, Disturbing the Peace


Poems: Wendell Berry—"The Peace of Wild Things" and Antonio Machado—"Last Night As I Was Sleeping"
Section Three Introduction
Scott Sanders—"Mountain Music": Hope between generations, from "Hunting for Hope"
Rabbi Arthur Waskow—"The Sukkah of Shalom": The Sukkot shelter as a metaphor for hope in a vulnerable world, by the author of Godwrestling and Seasons of Our Joy
Rose Marie Berger—"Getting Our Gaze Back": Daily respite amid overload, from a contributing editor to the radical evangelical magazine Sojourners, remembering that "we have more in common with flowers than microchips" Henri Nouwen—"Fragile and Hidden": Catholic theologian Nouwen on daily grace
Parker Palmer—"There is a Season": The seasons of the earth as metaphor for those of our personal and political life; by the author of The Courage to Teach and Let Your Life Speak


Poem: Eduardo Galeano—"Celebration of the Human Voice"
Section Four Introduction
Pablo Neruda—"Childhood and Poetry"
Susan Griffin—"To Love the Marigold": On imagination and hope, by the author of Women and Nature
John Lewis—"Walking With the Wind": Sustaining metaphors from the Congressman and former head of the civil rights group SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee)
Rosemarie Freeney Harding—"Freedom Songs": The music that sustained the civil rights movement
Toni Mirosevich—"Rough Translation": Brief vignette of jazz and resistance in the heart of Soviet Russia
Walter Wink—"Jesus and Alinsky": Jesus as model for legendary community organizer Saul Alinsky
Vern Huffman—"Stories from the Cha Cha Cha": Comic and creative nonviolent resistance in Rhodesia
Sherman Alexie—"Do Not Go Gentle": A story, from the author of The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, about grief, despair, sexuality, and wild hope that transcends any parties or platforms
Tony Kushner—"Despair Is a Lie We Tell Ourselves": by the author of Angels in America


Poem: Marge Piercy—"To Be of Use"
Section Five Introduction
Victoria Safford—"The Small Work in the Great Work": Opening the gates of hope, from a wonderful Unitarian minister Sister Rosalie Bertell—"In What Do I Place My Trust?": Essay on faith and hope for the environment, by a leading Catholic environmental activist
Paxus Calta-Star—"Not Deterred": Brief powerful vignette of an 18-year-old who launched the overthrow of Bulgaria's dictatorship
Jim Hightower—"Rebellion Is What Built America": Lessons in persistence by the Texas populist, from his book Thieves in High Places
Jim Wallis—"Faith Works": Faith and persistence from Sojourners editor and radical evangelical Wallis
Mary Catherine Bateson—"Composing a Life Story": Courage, intentionality, and radical continuity in the narratives of our personal lives


Poem: Martin Espada—"Imagine the Angels of Bread"
Section Six Introduction
Arundhati Roy—"Come September": September 11 and global justice, by the author of The God of Small Things
Ariel Dorfman—"The Black Hole": Recovering the hope of Salvador Allende, by the author of Death and the Maiden
Kenneth Roth—"Hope for Human Rights": From the executive director of Human Rights Watch
Mark Hertsgaard—"The Green Dream": The author of Earth Odyssey and The Eagle's Shadow on global environmental hope
Bill McKibben—"Curitiba": How this Brazilian city has become a global model for development that respects the earth and delights its inhabitants, by the author of Hope, Human and Wild


Poems: Adrienne Rich-From "Natural Resources" and Jalaluddin Rumi—"How Have You Spent Your Life?"
Section Seven Introduction
—: The classic text that everyone's heard of but fewer have read
Paul Loeb—"The Real Rosa Parks": My widely reprinted Los Angeles arial essay on Parks and persistence
Cornel West—"Prisoners of Hope": Hope and rage in the African American community
Carla Seaquist—"Behemoth in a Bathrobe": An inner dialogue on conscience, from the Christian Science Monitor
Billy Wayne Sinclair—"Road to Redemption": How Sinclair, who has been in prison for 38 years and co-edited the award-winning prison publication, The Angolite, helped to stop pardon selling in Louisiana at the cost of remaining another decade in jail Peter Ackerman and Jack DuVall—"Resisting Terror": How nonviolent resistance overthrew murderous dictatorships in Argentina and Milosovic's Serbia, and even freed the Jewish husbands and wives whose non-Jewish relatives protested in Berlin under Hitler, from the book A Force More Powerful


Poems: Elizabeth Barrette—"Origami Emotion" and Sam Hamill-From "The New York Poem"
Section Eight Introduction
Mary-Wynne Ashford—"Staying the Course": Wrestling with despair by the former president of International Physicians Against Nuclear War
Joanna Macy—"The Elm Tree Dance": Despair and healing ritual in a visit to the city most contaminated by Chernobyl's nuclear meltdown, by the author of Despair and Empowerment
Nadezhda Mandelstam—"Hoping Against Hope": From her memoir of deportation under Stalin
K.C. Golden—"The Inevitability Trap": Brief take on why we shouldn't succumb to predictions of the inevitable
Sonya Vetra Tinsley, as told to Paul Loeb—"You Have to Pick Your Team" Margaret Wheatley—"From Hope to Hopelessness": By the author of Turning to Each Other and Leadership and the New Science


Poem: Maya Angelou—"Still I Rise"
Section Nine Introduction
Alice Walker—"Only Justice Can Stop a Curse": The rage that convinces us the world deserves destroying, and how to find the hope that moves us beyond it
Terry Tempest Williams—"The Clan of One-Breasted Women": Her classic essay on radiation survivors and hope, with a new introduction, by the author of Refuge
Starhawk—"Next Year in Mas'Ha": Essay on an Arab-Israeli Seder in the occupied West Bank, by the author of Dreaming the Dark
Amos Oz—"The Gruntwork of Peace": Account by the noted Israeli novelist of an Israeli-Palestinian meeting that has produced a new peace plan as an alternative to despair
Desmond Tutu—"No Future Without Forgiveness": How South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission has helped inspire the world, from Ireland to Rwanda




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