Facts, Fictions, and Memory

So I was at the Literary Arts office today talking to Jennifer Gurney, Program Manager for the Delve Readers Seminars, when I realized that the lovely poet Cindy Williams-Gutierrez' write-up of our January seminar on Claudia Rankine was posted. It's pretty sweet, and offers a bit of an unofficial syllabi for the seminar. Check it out! Here's an excerpt:

Under the guiding hand of Samiya Bashir, we arrived at each session with a question, we began each session with a free-write in response to a quote from the text, and we participated in open dialogue in a space made safe by Samiya’s respect and gratitude for each participant’s contributions. Silence—patiently holding the space open—proved to be as important as offering prompts, posing questions, and revealing layers of meaning.

Here we are during Rankine's visit to Reed College, just after the publication of Citizen.

The relevance of this seminar was unparalleled. In a time marked by discussions of reparations for slavery, protests for Black Lives Matter, and an election smeared by the bigotry of GOP candidates, the profound dialogue that occurred on six wintry Monday evenings at Literary Arts felt like a conversation of national import. We were offered the rare opportunity to come to this conversation in the true Socratic sense of discovering, unraveling, deepening our own thoughts by approaching Rankine’s work ready to be changed: “…what alerts, alters” (p. 57, paraphrasing Myung Mi Kim).

I am grateful for the outstanding group of women who came together for six weeks of wrestling with the difficult questions of race and culture, especially in the midst of our current dangerous season on those issues. It was a beautiful group and a beautiful period. 

Click here to read the rest of the write-up!