216 Chapters
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Medium 9780253000958

The Inheritance of Tools

Scott Russell Sanders Indiana University Press ePub

At just about the hour when my father died, soon after dawn one February morning when ice coated the windows like cataracts, I banged my thumb with a hammer. Naturally I swore at the hammer, the reckless thing, and in the moment of swearing I thought of what my father would say: “If you’d try hitting the nail it would go in a whole lot faster. Don’t you know your thumb’s not as hard as that hammer?” We both were doing carpentry that day, but far apart. He was building cupboards at my brother’s place in Oklahoma; I was at home in Indiana putting up a wall in the basement to make a bedroom for my daughter. By the time my mother called with news of his death—the long-distance wires whittling her voice until it seemed too thin to bear the weight of what she had to say—my thumb was swollen. A week or so later a white scar in the shape of a crescent moon began to show above the cuticle, and month by month it rose across the pink sky of my thumbnail. It took the better part of a year for the scar to disappear, and every time I noticed it I thought of my father.

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Medium 9780253019059

Hometown & Family

Edited and with an Introduction by Owen Indiana University Press ePub

Back to the Midwest and its long, sad wind—and to a story about a little boy and some wild roses, and a blue racer and a whipping.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Ia.—It was soon after crossing into Iowa, coming south, that I gradually became conscious of the wind.

I don’t know whether you know that long, sad wind that blows so steadily across the thousands of miles of Midwest flat lands in the summertime. If you don’t, it will be hard for you to understand the feeling I have about it. Even if you do know it, you may not understand. Because maybe the wind is only a symbol.

But to me the summer wind in the Midwest is one of the most melancholy things in all life. It comes from so far, and it blows so gently and yet so relentlessly; it rustles the leaves and the branches of the maple trees in a sort of symphony of sadness, and it doesn’t pass on and leave them still; no, it just keeps coming, like the infinite flow of Old Man River.

You could, and you do, wear out your lifetime on the dusty plains with that wind of futility blowing in your face. And when you are worn out and gone, the wind, still saying nothing, still so gentle and sad and timeless, is still blowing across the prairies, and will blow in the faces of the little men that follow you, forever. That is it, the endless of it; it is a symbol of eternity.

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Medium 9780253018571

The Staccato Master of the World

IU Press Journals Indiana University Press ePub

AMIRI BARAKA, A brilliant light that shined brightest when in the middle of battling for his people’s rights, has taken the eternal sleep. His manifest destiny was to make racial criminals and political thugs angry and uncomfortable with a staccato style that imitated jazz music in its isolation of certain notes that appeared to be detached and of a shortened duration. This is why the poems he wrote agitated the establishment and made him a righteous defender of human freedom; they were poems with words that actualized energy and power and, more than most poets, he was a student of sound like the old bald-headed Egyptian priests who knew that articulation of the voice was the chief miracle of human mystery. He was a free man and, in that freedom, he was free to be bold, to be wrong, to be strong and to be adventurous, and to be right at times. He knew that freedom came with a price but that price was never too costly for one’s sense of purpose. Always capable of self-correction, Baraka’s ability to take the dagger of his words and strike the blow for truth as he saw it was uncanny and a part of his genius. We will miss him and his poems and plays and essays that provoked a generation to be better humans, to unleash hell on those whose fat bellies snuffed out the souls of the poor. Despite his detractors, or those who believed that he was merely this-or-that, he was a socialist, feminist, womanist, nationalist, and culturalist who sought to bring equality and justices to the world. Nothing anti-African passed him without a comment and nothing was so close to him as his battle with his own intellect. A great spirit has passed this way!

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Medium 9780253000958

Under the Influence

Scott Russell Sanders Indiana University Press ePub

My father drank. He drank as a gut-punched boxer gasps for breath, as a starving dog gobbles food—compulsively, secretly, in pain and trembling. I use the past tense not because he ever quit drinking but because he quit living. That is how the story ends for my father, age sixty-four, heart bursting, body cooling and forsaken on the linoleum of my brother’s trailer. The story continues for my brother, my sister, my mother, and me, and will continue so long as memory holds.

In the perennial present of memory, I slip into the garage or barn to see my father tipping back the flat green bottles of wine, the brown cylinders of whiskey, the cans of beer disguised in paper bags. His Adam’s apple bobs, the liquid gurgles, he wipes the sandy-haired back of a hand over his lips, and then, his bloodshot gaze bumping into me, he stashes the bottle or can inside his jacket, under the workbench, between two bales of hay, and we both pretend the moment has not occurred.

“What’s up, buddy?” he says, thick-tongued and edgy.

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Indiana Connections

Edited and with an Introduction by Owen Indiana University Press ePub

Stop the Presses! Valiant Pyle makes it! 48th state is entered!

CISCO, Utah . . . . . . . .

Some states I have no more than a nodding acquaintance with. For instance, I merely went through Rhode Island on a train one night 10 years ago. In other states, I have spent weeks and months. I know Texas and Colorado and Virginia better than my own native Indiana.

A veteran flier finally uses a plane because he’s in a hurry, and
discovers that “coffee” is not always what it seems to be

INDIANAPOLIS, March—In case you’re contemplating a journey by air, I am prepared to offer, for the asking, a bit of eating-in-the-sky etiquet which might come in handy.

It all boils down to the simple advice: when dining aboard an air liner, look twice at your coffee before you put in cream and sugar. Might not hurt even to smell of it.

We were riding smoothly at 8000 feet over the Alleghenies, just before sunset, and the stewardess was so quiet about it all that I didn’t realize she was getting dinner ready till she put the tray across the arms of my seat.

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Voyageurs

Scott Russell Sanders Indiana University Press ePub

In morning mist on a northern river, a slab of stone tumbled from a boulder into the water, where it came to life and floated, turning into a sleek black head that swam in circles dragging a V of ripples behind it. A beaver, I thought, as I watched from shore. But no sooner had I named it than the creature bobbed up and then dove, exposing a long neck and humped back and pointed tail. Not a beaver, I realized, but an otter. I was pleased to find a label for this animate scrap, as though by pinning the right word on the shape-shifter I could hold it still.

Presently a second otter, then a third and fourth broke free of the boulder and slithered down into the mercury sheen of the river. They dove without a splash, their tails flipping up to gleam like wands in the early sunlight, and they surfaced so buoyantly that their forepaws and narrow shoulders lifted well out of the water. Then one after another they clambered back onto the rock and dove again, over and over, like tireless children taking turns on a playground slide.

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Medium 9780253356864

32. Spider

Robert B. Ray Indiana University Press ePub

Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends. Turn the old; return to them. Things do not change; we change. Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts. God will see that you do not want society. If I were confined to a corner of a garret all my days, like a spider, the world would be just as large to me while I had my thoughts about me. (220)

Walden’s “Conclusion” returns to the tone of exhortation with which Thoreau had begun his book seventeen chapters earlier. But while the opening salvos of “Economy” and “Where I Lived and What I Lived For” ring with the morning bravado of the cockcrow (“I do not propose to write an ode to dejection, but to brag as lustily as chanticleer” [60]), Walden’s final chapter offers a quieter benediction and a different creature for self-comparison. The spider, associated in popular idiom with patience and care, had implicitly appeared in Thoreau’s second chapter, where his words “wherever I sat, there I might live, and the landscape radiated from me accordingly” (58) offered the image of a spider spinning its web from a center constituted only by itself. Like a spider, which sets up shop on others’ space, Thoreau had cleared, planted, and built on Emerson’s land, but the world he had made he called his own.

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Medium 9781574416367

Love and Fire

Gayle Reaves, Editor UNT Press ePub
Medium 9781574416367

Love and Fire: The Washington Post / By Monica Hesse

Gayle Reaves, Editor UNT Press PDF

Love and Fire

The Washington Post

April 10, 2014

By Monica Hesse

In Virginia’s rural Accomack County, a troubled romance was behind a string of 77 arsons

Accomack County, Va. —The corn was harvested, and the field was a dirty sort of brown.

Deborah Clark would think about that later, how at a different time of year she wouldn’t have seen anything until it was too late.

A friend had come over to her house in Parksley, Va., once the kids from Clark’s living-room day care went home. He left about 10:30 that

Monday evening, but a few minutes later knocked on her door again.

“Hey,” he told her. “That house across the field is on fire.”

She knew which one he was talking about. It had been a nice house once: two stories, white paint. But now it was empty, and it had a peeled, beaten look to it. It had been a long time since anyone lived there, so she

126

Best American Newspaper Narratives, Vol. 3

couldn’t think of how it could have caught fire — except that it was so dry that maybe the weather had something to do with it.

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Medium 9781574412086

8. Marian Haddad, “Wildflower. Stone.”

Edited by David Taylor University of North Texas Press PDF

Chapter 8

Marian Haddad

WILDFLOWER . STONE.

Marian Haddad is a native Texan, born and raised in the westernmost part of the state, in El Paso’s desert town nestled between the Franklins. After traveling and living for periods in Boston, Massachusetts; South Bend, Indiana; and in San Diego, California, she couldn’t stay away from Texas. Haddad currently and happily resides in San Antonio and adores the infusion of Mexican culture in this south central Texas city. One of her favorite pastimes is driving through Texas; one of her “most” favorite drives is the drive on I-10 to El

Paso. She shares some of her observations made along this drive, as well as the drive to the Texas coast, in the following essay. Among Haddad’s visiting writerships, workshop instruction, and poetry and creative non-fiction manuscript editing, she, of course, writes: her works-in-progress include a number of children’s books, a collection of essays dealing with her Syrian-immigrant family that resided/resides in El Paso’s bordertown, and two collections of poetry, one which deals with the landscapes and seascapes of Texas and

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Medium 9781574416367

Chasing Bayla

Gayle Reaves, Editor UNT Press ePub
Medium 9781574412086

10. Ray Gonzales, “Tortas Locas” from The Underground Heart

Edited by David Taylor University of North Texas Press PDF

Chapter 10

Ray Gonzales

Tortas Locas

Ray Gonzalez is the author of nine books of poetry. Turtle Pictures

(Arizona, 2000), a mixed-genre text, received the 2001 Minnesota Book

Award for Poetry. His poetry has appeared in the 1999, 2000, and 2003 editions of The Best American Poetry (Scribners) and The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses 2000 (Pushcart Press). “Tortas Locas” is taken from his collection of essays, The Underground Heart: A Return to a Hidden Landscape

(Arizona, 2002), which received the 2003 Carr P. Collins/ Texas Institute of Letters Award for Best Book of Non-fiction, was named one of ten Best

Southwest Books of the Year by the Arizona Humanities Commission, named one of the Best Non-fiction Books of the Year by the Rocky Mountain

News, named a Minnesota Book Award Finalist in Memoir, and selected as a Book of the Month by the El Paso Public Library. His other non-fiction book is Memory Fever (University of Arizona Press, 1999), a memoir about growing up in the Southwest. He has written two collections of short stories,

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Medium 9780253020659

6 Heading Home: Post-Mortem Road Narratives

Hakim Abderrezak Indiana University Press ePub

It is perhaps at the occasion of the death of the migrant that one can grasp his real place with regard to the migratory space that he took up more than a generation ago. Standing on his feet or lying in a coffin, he will return to his place of origin where something stronger than him snatched him one day.

—Yassin Chaïb, “Le Lieu d’enterrement comme repère migratoire”

Born, or arrived in France at a very young age, schooled and brought up in France, they will have to work there all their lives, and they will die in France (and maybe unlike their elders, they will have tombs in France; because the conditions and reasons of a post-mortem repatriation, which is almost the norm nowadays, will have ceased).

—Alain Gillette and Abdelmalek Sayad, L’Immigration algérienne en France

The choice of burial place for French citizens of North African ancestry is a pressing issue not only because death is inevitable, but more importantly because for Maghrebis and their children, burial cannot always follow rules of tradition, which are essentially practical. Indeed, it is customary to bury loved ones in local cemeteries. It is logical that one should want to keep close to home that which is close to heart. But this is not an inevitability for Maghrebis and Beurs. From the moment of their arrival in France and even more so when they realized France was to become their “home,” Maghrebis have had to ponder the question of what was to be the final “home” for them and their children. Available scholarship in the humanities, and in the realm of cultural studies in particular, has treated the notion of home, uprootedness, exile, and biculturalism. But the notion of final “home” has understandably not yet concerned scholars, for the generation of immigrants who arrived in France in the middle of the past century has just started to pass away en masse. Questions related to their burial have been tackled in various disciplines, such as sociology and (clinical) psychology, which deal with the practical and economic aspects of this phenomenon. One can only hope that the humanities will catch up soon. This will become more likely when a higher number of fictional accounts and biographies are produced, thus provoking humanistic studies. Indeed, as of today only a few of these have appeared. A dead individual cannot by definition write the account of his own passing away, just as with illiterature the experience of the death of the other is often told by external “witnesses,” humanists, writers, relatives, etc. But what the available literature and cinematography teaches us is that a reflection on the issue is taking place a priori. It is characterized by investigative journeys, the unknown, and rituals of initiation. According to writers and filmmakers, these narratives imposed themselves as an inevitable source of creative productions through personal confrontation with death. Put differently, these writers and filmmakers’ experiences of the death of a loved one have led them to ponder the sensitive subject. Consequently, retirement, death, and burial sites have taken center stage in their fictional works. This emergence in migrant literature and cinema often concerned with questions of identity in the here and now is a significant move that is bound to raise a few important questions for experts. This is no new matter for the North African community based in France; indeed, the epigraph from French journalist Gillette’s and Algerian sociologist Sayad’s L’Immigration algérienne en France dates back to 1976. It highlights the essential and continual concern: will Beurs be buried back home like their ancestors? The quote starts with the expression of an objective vision: French citizens of Maghrebi heritage will pass away in France. It includes a statement introduced by “maybe” and framed by parentheses. The embedded hypothesis indicates that one is to expect the ending of a trend, which consists of taking the corpse of a family member to Algeria to bury it there.1 Why do the authors assume that this practice is likely to come to a close?

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Medium 9780253001795

Conclusion: Two Homelands Have I: “America” and the Night

DeGuzmán, María Indiana University Press ePub

Night works among Latina/o cultural producers demonstrate that “assimilation” does not have one meaning but several, some of them opposed to one another. “Assimilation” is a commonly used term in U.S. society and has been both an expectation for and practice of the society’s construction since the mid to late nineteenth century, between the Mexican-American War of 1846–1848 and the Spanish-Cuban-American War of 1898, during which time the United States became a world empire. Being so central to U.S. culture (at least thus far), it is an under-examined term and concept because it has been taken for granted by U.S. culture at large and even within academia. Latina/o studies, however, has a history of questioning insufficiently critical uses of the term “assimilation” and its companion term “immigration.” Take, as a salient example, the conceptually astute introduction on “the decolonization of the U.S. empire in the twenty-first century” to a book on Latina/os in the “world-system” by a cluster of Latina/o studies scholars: Ramón Grosfoguel, Nelson Maldonado-Torres, and José David Saldívar. They critically deconstruct expectations about assimilation in relation to immigration as well as the equal-opportunity myth of “America” as “immigrant nation” by pointing out the “complex ways in which race and ethnicity combine with colonization and migration” to produce many conflicting kinds of immigrant experiences and positionalities.1 They posit,

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5. Books

Robert B. Ray Indiana University Press ePub

There are probably words addressed to our condition exactly, which, if we could really hear and understand, would be more salutary than the morning or spring to our lives, and possibly put a new aspect on the face of things for us. How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book. (76)

For Thoreau, the book that marked “a new era in his life” was Emerson’s Nature, published in the fall of 1836 and checked out of the Harvard library by Thoreau the following spring. He was ready for it: having been examined by Emerson on rhetoric in 1835, he had by 1837 won the older man’s support for some of Harvard’s prize money. More importantly, Emerson’s “manifesto of transcendentalism” suited Thoreau’s interest in reconciling his own avidity for nature with an emerging intellectual ambition. In Walden’s terms, Thoreau was “a prepared field.”

Although he writes dismissively of his own college education, Walden’s enormous number of allusions suggests just how bookish Thoreau was. In fact, as Richardson details, he read omnivorously, working fluently in the major European languages, as well as Latin and Greek. But his choice of reading seems strange, perhaps offering a clue to this mysterious man and his mysterious book. Thoreau, of course, was steeped in the classics, having a special fondness for Homer, but as he grew older, his taste became less and less literary: Goethe and Carlyle, yes, but mostly things like books on Eastern religions, tracts on Canadian history and Indian life, Cato’s treatise on farming, natural history (especially botany), travel books (a guilty pleasure), William Gilpin on landscape painting, the Jesuit Relations (forty-one accounts of the Jesuit missions to Canada’s Indians), Darwin. Thoreau showed no interest in fiction: although he knew Robinson Crusoe, he apparently never read any of his friend Hawthorne’s novels. When we remember that Thoreau was born in 1817, four years after Pride and Prejudice, the following list of books he appears never to have looked at seems suggestive:

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