Jane Eaton Hamilton

"At the bottom of the box is hope." – Ellis Avery.

Tag: Junot Díaz

Junot Díaz in conversation

I urge you to read this conversation VOX has with Junot Díaz:

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“We’re in a period of rabid privatization, and a period where it seems that people believe all specific and social functions, and all specific and social spaces and institutes, should be run like corporations, and that there are no such things as common goods; everything is a site of profit extraction. Given that context, for me, that’s where we’ve got to begin these questions: by sketching out the forces — political, economic, and social — which are distorting our ability to have a reasonable conversation.

“In a universe where everything is governed by the logic of market, that’s not a conversation about the importance of the humanities. It’s already so prejudiced that you can’t even have a fair hearing. That’s primarily what’s happening when we attempt to think in a future-looking way about the humanities, is that the idiom of the culture is so prejudiced against life-specific values, like social and common good. And without those, the appeal that we make about the humanities — it’s not that they don’t even land; there’s no space, in a society that’s entirely market-driven, to have a reasonable creative discussion about where the humanities are.”

VOX

Junot Díaz

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“Whatever privilege we had, we were fucking ravenous about pursuing it. Unfortunately, pursuing privilege crimps your humanity. That’s something that takes a while for you to discover … every exercise of your privilege reduces your sum total of your humanity. I wouldn’t have noticed if my art wasn’t predicated on the sum total of my humanity. I kept coming up short as an artist and I had to look for the leaks. Where the fucking leaks are, it’s being a fucking asshole–you’re a fucking asshole, your humanity shrinks.”—Junot Díaz in conversation with the New York Public Library

New York Public Library podcasts

“The Unbearable Too-Whiteness” of MFA programs: Junot Díaz

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I am a queer feminist author who admires the heck out of Junot Díaz’s work and who also never got an MFA–so was shielded from the fact that anyone not white and straight and male has a tough go of it in many of these programs. But I’ve experienced a lot of homophobia over my career, along with, of course, the side-lining that is ubiquitous for women writing.

Listen again to what Díaz says, folks, about racism in writing. As soon as he was published, he put together a writing workshop called The Voices of Our Nation, and now has compiled an anthology of workshop works and for which he has provided the introduction.

“…something right out of my wildest MFA dreams, where writers of colour could gather to develop our art in a safe, supportive environment. Where our ideas, critiques, concerns, our craft and, above all, our experiences would be privileged rather than marginalised; encouraged rather than ignored; discussed intelligently rather than trivialised.”

And “where our contributions were not an adjunct to Literature but its core”.

Here, as we lean hard into race relations around this globe, is the article from the Guardian, May 2014:

Junot Díaz condemns creative writing courses for ‘unbearable too-whiteness’

 

 

 

List ten short stories you’ve found memorable…

Pam Houston has done it.  Salmon Rushdie has done it.  Come on, everybody.  Jump onboard.  Which short fictions have had the most impact on you?

Here are some of mine:

Sarah Cole: A Type of Love Story, Russell Banks

People Like That are the Only People Here, Lorrie Moore

A Good Man is Hard to Find, Flannery O’Connor

A Worn Path, Eudora Welty

The Year of Getting to Know Us, David Leavitt

A Small, Good Thing, Raymond Carver

Meneseteung, by Alice Munro

Edison, NJ, by Junot Díaz

Hills Like White Elephants, Earnest Hemingway

Selway, Pam Houston

My Lucy Friend Who Smells Like Corn, Sandra Cisneros

Nashville Gone to Ashes, Amy Hemple

We Walked on Water, Eliza Robertson

The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien

Father, Lover, Deadman, Dreamer, Melanie Rae Thon

Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been, Joyce Carol Oates
White Angel, Michael Cunningham

Why I Live at the P.O., Eudora Welty

Gold Star, Siobhan Fallon

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