Shailja Patel’s Migritude: Poetry in Motion

Written by Katelyn Connolly

Migritude is a text obsessed with movement. The content of Shailja Patels striking work of poetic theatre, first staged in 2006 and published in book form in 2010, is a meditation on the history, politics, and emotion of migration. Her story moves across Africa, Europe. and North America. Its form is an exercise in the fluidity of style, genre and narrative voice. In performance, it calls upon dance and choreography to drive home spoken word. And the text itself came to me and passed from my hands in a remarkably diffusive manner. My friend read Migritude for a class called Reading Resistanceat a college in Portland; she mailed it to me because she knew of my interest in memoir and witness; I passed it along to my old roommate here in Austin because her family are Gujarati emigrants, like Patels own. Each of us reads for a different reason, and the text continues to move physically across land and through new lenses of meaning.

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Art, addiction, and Remembering to Write

Written by Katelyn Connolly

In her Twitter bio, Hope Ewing describes herself as a “drink pusher, writer. Not necessarily in that order.” Fittingly, in a recent article written for Literary Hub, she explores the relationship between art and alcohol abuse, an issue that hits close to home for many artists and members of creative communities. In Ewing’s case, the problem of alcoholism exists generally in her family. Yet her admission that “stories of epic blacked-out shenanigans…were so normalized in my childhood that they seemed like common rites of passage,” rings eerily true for social scenes crafted by artists, as well. Writers, painters, musicians and film-makers have historically existed in worlds where drinking and drug use are regarded as more acceptable than they might be in other circles. Artists often seek to be deviants, and deviant behaviors become par for the course. Addiction is normalized under the banner of Art.

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Layla AlAmmar’s The Pact We Made is the first book to be published through the Open Call for Submissions from Muslim Writers

Written by Katelyn Connolly

In January 2017, a group of literary agents and publishers announced an Open Call for Submissions from Muslim Writers, just two months after the election of President Donald Trump. The call responded to the now-infamous Muslim banthe president signed during his first week in office, which sought to halt immigration or travel to the United States from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemenall Muslim-majority countries. The literary community that created the open call believe they occupy a unique position to help contribute to bringing more empathy, compassion, understanding and tolerance into this world through books,and that Muslim authors are particularly necessary voices given the current climate in the United States and abroad.

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