Monthly Archives: February 2015

“They had built the entire foundation of their country on isolationism and wanting to kill Americans and South Koreans, yet they needed to learn English and feed their children with foreign money.”

To some degree, every memoirist must be concerned about the consequences of telling the truth. In Suki Kim’s case, telling the truth about her six months as a teacher in North Korea might lead to punishment or even death for … Continue reading

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“We stand in the rain in a long line waiting at Ford Highland Park. For work.”

What is work? This is the question that poet Philip Levine, who died last Saturday, asked many times. He started working in a Detroit factory at age 14. He believed that his work as a poet was “to name and … Continue reading

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“They’d be sat there eating on the stairs and as they got older, they’d go higher up the stairs.”

This oral history collection by the York Archaeological Trust gives us a startling glimpse of life in a poor part of a city in northern England during the first third of the twentieth century. Our quotation above describes what it … Continue reading

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“Memory resides in specific details, not in abstract notions like ‘beautiful’ or ‘angry.'”

Who better to write a book about writing memoirs than Judith Barrington? She can speak from experience as an author and teacher. In this book, which is widely used in college courses and has sold more than 100,000 copies, she … Continue reading

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