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December 2023


1. "Birthday (Planning) Queen"

          Photograph by Ben Teese

2. All-Clear

          Poem by Barbara Shields

3. Everyone Leaves for the Moon

          Poem by Courtenay Schembri Gray

4. trading rocks for pinecones

          Poem by Tohm Bakelas

5. Last Breath

          Short Story by Robert Docherty

6. Book Banning and Censorship

            The Experts

7. Lexicon: Tempest (Newspaper Only)

            By Michael McPhie

8. Censorship (Newspaper Only)

           December Crossword


Daily News has been suspended until such a time as we have more time to give it justice.  Thank you for your understanding.


Banning Books and Censorship:

“What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.”

― Salman Rushdie


“Something will be offensive to someone in every book, so you've got to fight it.”

― Judy Blume


“The fact is that censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates, in the end, the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion. In the long run it will create a generation incapable of appreciating the difference between independence of thought and subservience.”

― Henry Steele Commager

“If this nation is to be wise as well as strong, if we are to achieve our destiny, then we need more new ideas for more wise men reading more good books in more public libraries. These libraries should be open to all—except the censor. We must know all the facts and hear all the alternatives and listen to all the criticisms. Let us welcome controversial books and controversial authors. For the Bill of Rights is the guardian of our security as well as our liberty.
― John F. Kennedy


“The important task of literature is to free man, not to censor him, and that is why Puritanism was the most destructive and evil force which ever oppressed people and their literature: it created hypocrisy, perversion, fears, sterility.”

― Anaïs Nin


“I hate it that Americans are taught to fear some books and some ideas as though they were diseases.”

― Kurt Vonnegut

“Censorship and the suppression of reading materials are rarely about family values and almost always about control...when books are run out of school classrooms and even out of school libraries as a result of this idea, I'm never much disturbed not as a citizen, not as a writer, not even as a schoolteacher... which I used to be. What I tell kids is, Don't get mad, get even. Don't spend time waving signs or carrying petitions around the neighborhood. Instead, run, don't walk, to the nearest nonschool library or to the local bookstore and get whatever it was that they banned. Read whatever they're trying to keep out of your eyes and your brain, because that's exactly what you need to know.”

― Stephen King

“A dangerous book will always be in danger from those it threatens with the demand that they question their assumptions. They'd rather hang on to the assumptions and ban the book.”

― Ursula K. Le Guin

In collaboration with Jacob Stevens, local Portland graphic designer, we've designed a logo that is a visual representation of what we try to encompass here at Bel Esprit: original expression, dedicated artists, historical inspiration, and much more.


Birthday (Planning) Queen
By Ben Teese
“Birthday (Planning) Queen” - Ben Teese.jpeg



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Editor in Chief 

Emily Menges

& Trusty Sidekick Turtle

A note from Emily:

Bel Esprit provides a platform for artists to publish their work.

We pay $25 per piece to all artists, but we don't charge you for enjoying their work.


I do not keep a dime of the profits for myself.  It all goes back to keeping Bel Esprit alive.  Considering contributing to the project. 

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