At Liberty Podcast
Ian Manuel stands and delivers a poem at the library with bookshelves in the background.
At Liberty Podcast

Live from Brooklyn Public Library: The Power of Poetry and Magical Thinking

April 11, 2024

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From the ACLU, this is At Liberty. I’m Kendall Ciesemier, your host.

A month ago, we visited one of our favorite spots, the library. You know, at the ACLU, we love a good library. So much so that we even spent a recent Saturday night at the Brooklyn Public Library, along with some 5,000 others, for their annual enrichment event, Night in the Library.

The theme for this year’s event was Out of Darkness, and it included an all-night lineup of performances and conversations focused on what it means to face hardship head-on, and what we gain from confronting life’s challenges with honesty, curiosity, and compassion, and understanding. When we were invited to host a conversation during the event, we knew immediately who we wanted to share with our neighbors in Brooklyn: Ian Manuel.

You might remember Ian from our episode back in January when he joined us to talk about juvenile life without parole, solitary confinement, and restorative justice. Ian is an author, poet, activist, and absolute visionary, working to change our criminal legal system after facing 18 years in solitary confinement himself and 26 years in prison, beginning when he was only 14 years old.

He knows firsthand what it’s like to face darkness in life and move through it and he credits his practice of magical thinking for helping him.

This is the idea that we used as the basis for our Night in the Library conversation. And with it being both National Library Week and National Poetry Month, right now, I can’t think of a better time to share it.

So I invite you to cozy up with us between the bookshelves and enjoy the highlights from The Light of Magical Thinking, live from the Brooklyn Public Library.

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