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The Country Between Us By Carolyn Forche

The Country Between Us by Carolyn Forche

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Summary

Carolyn Forche's The Country Between Us bears witness to what she saw in El Salvador in the late 1970s, travelling around a country erupting into civil war. Briefly available from Jonathan Cape in the 1980s, it was reissued by Bloodaxe to coincide with the publication of Forche's long awaited memoir of those times, What You Have Heard Is True.

The Country Between Us Summary

The Country Between Us by Carolyn Forche

Carolyn Forche's The Country Between Us bears witness to what she saw in El Salvador in the late 1970s, when she travelled around a country erupting into civil war. Documenting killings and other brutal human rights abuses, while working alongside Archbishop Oscar Romero's church group, she found in her poetry the only possible way to come to terms with what she was experiencing first-hand. By 1980, when the fighting was becoming too dangerous, Archbishop Romero urged Forche to return home, asking her to 'talk to the American people, tell them what is happening to us. Convince them to stop the military aid.' A week later he was assassinated (and is only now being made a saint). Back in the US, Forche gave readings and talks about US-backed oppression in Central America, but found publishers and critics uncomfortable with the startlingly different poems of her second collection, poems relating to torture, murder, injustice and trauma. When the book appeared in 1981, at a time when the conflict in El Salvador had finally forced its way into public awareness, it won her immediate recognition. Briefly available in Britain from Jonathan Cape in the 1980s, it was reissued by Bloodaxe to coincide with the publication by Penguin of Carolyn Forche's long awaited memoir of those times, What You Have Heard Is True: a memoir of witness and resistance (Penguin, 2018) followed by a new collection from Bloodaxe, In the Lateness of the World (2020). The Country Between Us has sold tens of thousands of copies on the US, where it has never been out of print. It won the Poetry Society of America's Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, and was the Lamont Poetry Selection of the Academy of American Poets.

The Country Between Us Reviews

Her collection of poems The Country Between Us (1981) has been reissued to accompany the memoir. It was a bestseller at a time when many Americans were increasingly aware and ashamed of US-sponsored brutality in its "backyard". It's fascinating to see how the two works qualify and complement each other across the intervening decades. -- Lorna Scott Fox * Times Literary Supplement *

About Carolyn Forche

Carolyn Forche was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1950, and has taught at several universities. She was Director of Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice, and held the Lannan Visiting Chair in Poetry at Georgetown University, Washington, DC, where she is now a University Professor. Her many honours include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts; the Edita and Ira Morris Hiroshima Foundation Award, given in 1997 for using her poetry as a 'means to attain understanding, reconciliation, and peace within communities and between communities'; and most recently, Yale University's Windham-Campbell Prize. Her first collection, Gathering the Tribes (1976), was selected for the Yale Series of Younger Poets by Stanley Kunitz. Her second book, The Country Between Us (1981; UK reissue from Bloodaxe, 2019), drew on her experiences in El Salvador before and during the civil war, and won the Poetry Society of America's Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, and was the Lamont Poetry Selection of the Academy of American Poets. Her later collections have drawn upon work written over many years: The Angel of History (HarperCollins, USA; Bloodaxe Books, 1994), Blue Hour (HarperCollins, USA; Bloodaxe Books, 2003), and In the Lateness of the World (Bloodaxe Books, UK; Penguin Press, USA, 2020). Her landmark anthology, Against Forgetting: Twentieth-Century Poetry of Witness (Norton, 1993), was followed by Poetry of Witness: The Tradition in English: 1500-2001 (Norton, 2014), edited with Duncan Wu. She is Visiting Professor at Newcastle University, and edited the anthology The Mighty Stream: Poems in celebration of Martin Luther King (Bloodaxe Books / Newcastle University, 2017) with Jackie Kay. Her memoir What You Have Heard Is True: a memoir of witness and resistance (2019) was published by Penguin at the same time as Bloodaxe's UK reissue of her 1981 collection The Country Between Us, which covers the same period as the memoir. Her translations include Mahmoud Darwish's Unfortunately, It Was Paradise: Selected Poems (with Munir Akash, 2003), Claribel Alegria's Flowers from the Volcano (1983), and Robert Desnos's Selected Poetry (with William Kulik, 1991).

Table of Contents

IN SALVADOR, 1978-80 11 San Onofre, California 12 The Island 15 The Memory of Elena 17 The Visitor 18 The Colonel 19 Return 23 Message 25 Because One Is Always Forgotten REUNION 29 Endurance 31 Expatriate 33 Letter from Prague, 1968-78 35 Departure 36 Photograph of My Room 39 On Returning to Detroit 41 As Children Together 44 Joseph 47 Selective Service 48 For the Stranger 50 Reunion 52 City Walk-up, Winter 1969 54 Poem for Maya OURSELVES OR NOTHING 52 Ourselves or Nothing

Additional information

NGR9781780373744
9781780373744
1780373740
The Country Between Us by Carolyn Forche
New
Paperback
Bloodaxe Books Ltd
2019-03-28
64
N/A
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
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