Waiting for Rain: The Politics and Poetry of Drought in Northeast Brazil

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"In order to understand the impact of drought and the phenomenon of drought politics, Nicholas Arons goes beyond traditional social-science scholarship to sources such as novels, poetry, popular art, and oral history. For many people in the region, these renditions of life are, ironically, a better reflection of reality than political rhetoric, government archives, and newspaper accounts - even though they are infused with myth or hyperbole that make it difficult to distinguish between fact and fiction." Drawing on interviews with artists and poets and on his own experiences in the Brazilian Northeast, Arons has written an account of how drought has impacted the region's culture. He intertwines ecological, social, and political issues with the words of some of Brazil's most prominent authors and folk poets to show how themes surrounding drought - hunger, migration, endurance, nostalgia for the land - have become deeply embedded in Nordeste identity. Through this tapestry of sources, Arons shows that what is often thought of as a natural phenomenon is actually the result of centuries of social inequality, political corruption, and unsustainable land use.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Rarely has any work so deeply touched, infuriated and, surprisingly, imbued me with such hope...a noble, poetic book.” —Studs Terkel, author of Hope Dies Last: Keeping the Faith in Difficult Times“A passionate investigation of the contradictions of drought and injustice in the Brazilian northeast.”—Thomas Skidmore, author of Modern Latin America and Politics In Brazil“A lyrical, close-to-the ground account of the cultural politics and poetics of living in the wings of an impending disaster.”—Nancy Scheper-Hughes, author of Death Without Weeping : The Violence of Everyday Life in Brazil
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816523306
  • Publisher: University of Arizona Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 251
  • Sales rank: 1,375,964
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Nicholas Arons has worked as a writer for international policy think tanks, at the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, at public defender legal offices, for civil liberties organizations, and as a non-violence educator. He observed the impact of economic sanctions and U.S. bombings in Iraq, publishing his findings in Fellowship, UTNE Reader, Punk Planet, Counterpunch, Foreign Policy in Focus, and Iraq Under Siege. He is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship to research the culture of drought in Brazil and is currently a Robert McKay Scholar, a Hays Fellow and an Institute for International Law and Justice Fellow at New York University School of Law.

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Table of Contents

Preface : fusion and confusion
1 Earth and wind 1
2 Snapshots of the Northeast 17
3 The apocalypse 28
4 Poetry on a string 39
5 From the sertao to the streets 51
6 The land is good, the sky is bad 62
7 Holy Jeronimo! 74
8 The politics of drought 91
9 Messiahs, troubadours, and bards 111
10 Homer of the sertao 130
11 Government corrals and a "world covered in pain" 145
12 NASA or Jacob 154
13 The priest 163
14 "Walking single-file to the world beyond" 171
15 An old man dancing 184
16 "So as not to say that I did not speak of flowers" 193
17 Air and fire 202
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