It is quite drizzly on this 2nd of July–the perfect day to deliver our next batch of micro reviews for your reading pleasure.
This month, we are bringing you four “true stories” that defy convention, and play with the idea of what it means to write about reality. We have a book of poems that take language from someone else’s diary to tell a new kind of truth. Auto-fiction, which uses fiction as a vehicle to explore a very real autobiography. A hybrid essay-poem that plays with space to portray family truths lost to history. And a book of essays that doesn’t shy away from the ugliest, strangest, funniest parts of what it means to be human.
We hope our picks this month inspire you, and give you space to ponder what it means to tell the truth.
Derived from the ancient word for “watching,” waiting seems especially relegated to the human animal. Waiting implies the existence of a thought process as well as biology–a stasis, a trance. The state implies a wish, as a reaction to time and action. It makes sense that the literature of waiting has ancient origins, and that the sub-genre thrives during war. The world’s most important epics are also part of the body of the literature of waiting. The Odyssey and Penelope’s wait, and The Aeneid and Dido’s wait are two of our most essential examples. Naturally, the literature of waiting thrived during World War II, when Yehuda Amichai wrote the marvelous poem I heard him read in Hebrew and in English at the Hillel Center at UCLA in the 1990’s, where he said, in essence, that the war was not worth the poems made by the light of warfare. It begins
The term “interculturality” has been widely used in pedagogic and academic settings to contextualize the interactions between individuals from two or more cultures. Rather than speaking about others and their differences, an interculturally competent individual seeks to establish a dialogue that acknowledges diversity and, at the same time, focuses on aspects that make communication possible and that enable an understanding of another person’s culture. In a world where borders are becoming increasingly porous, more and more writers address these exchanges in their work from a variety of perspectives, sometimes as observers, others as insiders. Such is the work of poets Erika Sanchez, Javier Zamora, Juan Felipe Herrera, Layli Longsoldier, Natalie Diaz, Sherman Alexie, Li-Young Lee or Jaswinder Bolina, to mention just a few. Continue reading →