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Daily Fare: Essays from the Multicultural Experience / Edition 1

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Athens, GA 1993 Softcover Edition Unstated New Condition New book. Multiple copies available this title. Quantity Available: 7. Category: Sociology & Culture; ISBN: 0820314994. ... ISBN/EAN: 9780820314990. Inventory No: ABE333091652. Read more Show Less

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Daily Fare presents seventeen artfully crafted essays in which writers representing a broad spectrum of the American experience ponder the meaning of living in a nation of diverse and competing cultures. Consistently thought-provoking and often intensely personal, these pieces confront such themes as the question of identity, the individual's relation to culture, problems of communication, and the need to strike a balance between preserving traditions and merging them.

Memories both tender and painful fill these pages. Toi Derricotte, recalling her experiences as the only black person at an artist colony, often found her sense of isolation almost unbearable: "No one can help. Only I, myself. But how can I let go? My face is a mask, like Uncle Tom's, my heart twisted in rage and fear." In "The Death of Fred Astaire," Leslie Lawrence reflects on the difficult decisions that led to her becoming a lesbian mother and the mix of emotions--apprehension, maternal longing, and, finally, joyous fulfillment--that accompanied her choices. In "Kubota," Garrett Hongo describes how his grandfather enjoined him to learn and to give witness to the injustices committed against Japanese Americans by their own government during World War II; Hongo accepts this responsibility as "a ritual payment the young owe their elders who have survived."

Several bilingual essayists contemplate their relationship to the English language--a language that can empower its users or deny them access to the dominant culture. For Judith Ortiz Cofer, reading books from the public library as a child gave her a sense of freedom as well as her first intimations of the writing career she would later pursue. Alberto Alvaro Rios, however, reminds us that learning English in the first grade also meant being punished for using Spanish: "Spanish was bad. Okay. We, then, must be bad kids."

Still other essays explore what it means to confront the confusions of a plural family heritage or to be a black artist from a Catholic background when so much of black culture is tied to the Protestant tradition. "Despite the current interest in multiculturalism," Kathleen Aguero observes, "the notion of culture in the United States today is too often synonymous with predominantly white, male, heterosexual, upper-class, Eurocentric interests." In bringing together writers from beyond this tradition, Daily Fare provides a valuable perspective on our current moment in history. As Jack Agueros, summing up both the dilemma and the pleasure of our society's diversity, writes, "It's hard and wasteful to be purely ethnic in America--definitely wasteful to be totally assimilated."

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Daily Fare abounds with treasures . . . It is about learning to accept and cherish uniqueness in ourselves and one another."--Sante Fe New Mexican
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In 17 personal essays, writers from outside the white male tradition offer varying perspectives on their place in society. Though some essays devolve into breast-beating or celebrate minor epiphanies, most are more engaging. Toi Derricotte's episodic memoir of her stint as the only African American at an artist's colony recounts some condescending white behavior: ``Now that I am the `known' black here, everything with a tinge of blackness on it is delivered to me.'' Kiana Davenport, half Hawaiian and half Caucasian, warmly remembers finding her identity at a New York City YWCA, in the company of a woman from South Africa and another from India. Leslie Lawrence, a lesbian and feminist, offers an amusing and sunny story of how she conceived a child through alternative (``there's nothing artificial about it'') insemination. Jack Agueros, reflecting on the diverse foods of multicultural New York, concludes, ``Ah, Bread, you make me realize that it is hard and wasteful to be purely ethnic in America--definitely wasteful to be totally assimilated.'' Aguero, a poet, is the author of Thirsty Day . (Apr.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820314990
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/1993
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 248

Meet the Author

Kathleen Aguero is an assistant professor in the humanities division at Pine Manor College, where she also directs the composition program. She is the author of two volumes of poetry, Thirsty Day and The Real Weather, and coeditor (with Marie Harris) of A Gift of Tongues: Critical Challenges in Contemporary Poetry and An Ear to the Ground: An Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry (both Georgia).
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Table of Contents

Books in the Closet, in the Attic, Boxes, Secrets 1
Becoming and Breaking: Poet and Poem 20
The Paterson Public Library 28
At an Artists Colony 34
Black Catholics: Cultural Exiles, Literary Exiles 47
War Doll Hotel 65
Kubota 78
Jiddo: A Portrait 98
Brother: A Memoir 112
Pennsylvania Power & Light 123
The Death of Fred Astaire 138
from 1935 157
Of Rice and Bread 174
Black Hair 186
Atlantic City - 1955 197
Walking Between the Worlds 205
Beyond the Crust 216
Contributors 229
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