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It’s soothing to imagine an infinitely compassionate universe, where somehow all of the most dazzling poems will be rescued, protected, set free. Soothing to imagine, but maybe impossible, maybe untrue. And maybe poetry, like music, is often a Dionysian art -- not just an art of creation or transformation, but of destruction.
It seems that the readers who are out there buying what we'd call “creative” nonfiction are after personal stories -- of trial and error, of heartbreak, of overcoming obstacles as if the writers are their own versions of a modern-day Odysseus. . . . Does anything out there without the labels “creative” or “memoir” even have a selling point?
"The end for me has become very meaningful, because since the earthquake struck -- I work for the National Library in Chile which has been closed -- I’ve had to be at home, and because of the preoccupation of not seeing my sons, I’ve watched a lot of television and have seen much disaster, much grief, many collapses not only of the city but of memories."
Ingrid Rojas Contreras
We Are Vaguely Included seems to show the influence of Miranda July, who has demonstrated talent in numerous genres while consistently formulating vaguely inclusive titles. July has a performance piece, Things We Don’t Understand and Are Definitely Not Going to Talk About; a film, Me and You and Everyone We Know; and a story collection, No One Belongs Here More Than You. Just typing these titles makes me feel like I’m at an extremely cool party where everyone, at some point or another, mentions their therapist.
The image of awestruck Africans venerating a strange object that dropped out of the skies reeks of colonial condescension. Fury at this prolonged and indeed willful misunderstanding of Africa and Africans by Europeans is a current that runs through many of these sixteen essays, written between 1988 and 2009. Amazing it is, how fresh this theme becomes in Achebe’s hands.
Barbara J. King
"I write novels because it’s a place where I can bring all of who I am, and what I know, and what I don’t know but want to know, into a coherent, created world. In every other context in real life, we are required to atomize pieces of our selves, to amputate this part or that part in order to function or fit in to a particular context. Writing novels is home for me, because I don’t have to do that."
The premises of many of Dick’s stories entailed problems that I and my fellow philosophy students and teachers at Berkeley had wrestled with the decade prior to his death. Two of these questions have occupied the philosophy of mind since at least the Second World War, and have galvanized the attention of philosophers and neuroscientists right in tandem with their hold on the imaginations of filmmaking acolytes throughout the '80s and '90s.
"We are all going to have our hearts broken in some way, at some time. It’s what you do with that experience -- you can become bitter, stay angry, and live in the past, or you can develop a deeper sense of compassion and become a better, wiser, person from the experience. In Hold Me Tight and Tango Me Home, I was very conscious while learning tango that I wanted to take a bad experience and turn it in to a positive change in my life."