Build Yourself A Boat is more than just the title of Camonghne Felix’s first collection of poems. It’s also an imperative to her audience as much as to herself. Felix, now working for Senator Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign, spent the last December in Chicago working as the communications director for Amara Enyia’s mayoral bid. This is her first full-length book; she previously published a chapbook, Yolk, in 2015. In Build Yourself A Boat, she grapples with trauma past and present, personal and societal, and fights to retain her sanity, dignity and self-identify. Felix’s writing is alternately brash and tender, sardonic and melancholy, but it retains her distinctive and powerful voice throughout.
The first thing to understand is that an eviction filing is not an eviction order. Think of an eviction filing like an arrest—a legal action that in no way indicates guilt. An eviction order, on the other hand, is the result of a court’s decision in favor of the landlord who filed the eviction. Thousands of evictions are filed in Cook County every year, and yet over one third do not result in an eviction order.
I met with José Rico on the first floor of La Catedral Cafe & Restaurant in the heart of Little Village, where we discussed Rico’s long history as an educator and activist in Little Village, his vision for the 12th Ward, and the longtime incumbent, George Cardenas. Later, we heard that Cardenas himself was having a late breakfast just upstairs.
A new coalition of community and environmental activists met for the first time last Thursday to discuss their effort to fight pollution on the South Side. Members of four groups from McKinley Park, Little Village, Pilsen, and the Southeast Side convened in a crowded gymnasium at the Rauner Family YMCA. The impromptu meeting space was organized after attendees quickly overcrowded the small side room originally intended for the gathering.