Home: An Imagined Landscape, edited by Marjorie Agosín.
“Our century has become marked by the distinct, bitter tinge of nomadism and emigration.” The sixteen essays in this book are by writers from diverse parts of the world recalling their experiences and emotions of what is meant by the concept of Home.
Each essay is written with evocative and often lyrical tones of great beauty as well as lucidity. Many of the essays describe homes that exist no longer, and homes that have changed or disappeared through time. Yet the power of place is real: each author understands that Home belongs to the landscape of the imagination, with a power to recover and to transform.
It is perhaps no coincidence that all of the contributors make their home in the USA, a nation that has defined itself by its emigrant imagination and a nation that has allowed its immigrants to be Americans while also holding on to who they were in the past.
Through their experiences, the authors are both outsiders and insiders. They carry their dreams of homeland wherever they settle, for Home is never lost but real in its evocation and the power to remember.
Marjorie Agosin was raised in Chile, the daughter of Jewish parents. Heeding rumors of the coup that would install Augusto Pinochet, Agosín’s family left the country for the United States, where Agosín earned a BA from the University of Georgia and an MA and a PhD from Indiana University. In both her scholarship and her creative work, she focuses on social justice, feminism, and remembrance. Agosín is the author of numerous works of poetry, fiction, and literary criticism. Her collections include The Angel of Memory (2001), The Alphabet in My Hands: A Writing Life (2000), Always from Somewhere Else: A Memoir of my Chilean Jewish Father (1998), An Absence of Shadows (1998), Melodious Women (1997), Starry Night: Poems (1996), and A Cross and a Star: Memoirs of a Jewish Girl in Chile (1995). Agosín has received numerous honors and awards for her writing and work as a human rights activist, including a Jeanette Rankin Award in Human Rights and a United Nations Leadership Award for Human Rights. The Chilean government honored her with a Gabriela Mistral Medal for Lifetime Achievement. Agosín is the Luella LaMer Slaner Professor in Latin American studies and a professor of Spanish at Wellesley College.
Nisha Sajnani, PhD is a Canadian-born multimedia artist and drama therapist whose work explores identity, memory, ethics, and place through writing, photography, digital projection, and performance. Recent works include Assemblage (2017), a series on forced migration, cultural identity, and trauma, Mapping Home: A Global Crisis of Place co-curated with Oscar Palacio (2016), and Lives That Matter (2015), an ethnodrama about identity and human rights. Her writing has been featured in Drama Therapy Review, Arts in Psychotherapy, Diversity in Higher Education, Alt. Theatre: Cultural Diversity and the Stage, Canadian Theatre Review, Canadian Women's Studies and most recently in Marjorie Agosin's Home: An Imagined Landscape. She is Director of the Drama Therapy program and Associate Professor of the Educational Theatre PhD/EdD and Rehabilitation Sciences PhD program at New York University. She is also affiliated with the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma where she lectures on the role of the arts in humanitarian contexts and coordinates an international network on the arts and displacement. Dr. Sajnani is a recipient of the Dr. Corann Okorodudu Global Women's Advocacy Award from the American Psychological Association.
Pauline Kaldas is the author of Egyptian Compass, a collection of poetry, Letters from Cairo, a travel memoir, The Time Between Places, a collection of short stories, and Looking Both Ways, a collection of essays. She also co-edited Dinarzad's Children: An Anthology of Contemporary Arab American Fiction. Her work has appeared in a variety of anthologies, including Inclined to Speak, Borderlands and Crossroads, Others Will Enter the Gates, and At Home: Essays on Place and Displacement. Kaldas was born in Egypt and immigrated with her parents to the United States at the age of eight in 1969. She is Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia.
Ruth Behar was born in Havana, Cuba and grew up in New York City. She is the Victor Haim Perera Collegiate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan and the recipient of a MacArthur Fellows “Genius” Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship. A traveler, storyteller, poet, educator, and public speaker, her books include The Presence of the Past in a Spanish Village, Translated Woman: Crossing the Border with Esperanza’s Story, and The Vulnerable Observer: Anthropology That Breaks Your Heart. Ruth frequently visits and writes about her native Cuba and is the author of An Island Called Home: Returning to Jewish Cuba and Traveling Heavy: A Memoir in between Journeys. She is the editor of the pioneering anthology, Bridges to Cuba and co-editor of The Portable Island: Cubans at Home in the World. Her documentary, Adio Kerida/Goodbye Dear Love: A Cuban Sephardic Journey, distributed by Women Make Movies, has been shown in festivals around the world. Her poetry is included in many collections, among them The Whole Island: Six Decades of Cuban Poetry and The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature. Her debut novel for young readers, Lucky Broken Girl, the story of a Cuban-Jewish immigrant girl, is a new release with Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
Celia Reissig-Vasile is Associate Professor of English and Spanish and Chair of the Department of Literature and Language at Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, New York. She received her MA from the University of Texas at Austin and her PhD from Fordham University, New York. In addition to her academic work, Reissig-Vasile is a writer of fiction and creative non-fiction. She writes in Spanish, Spanglish, and English. She is the author of two books of poetry—Talking to Myself (Oyster Bay Press, 1977) and Reflections/Reflexiones (Ghia Editorial, Argentina, 2000)—and her work has also been published in journals and literary magazines, among them Blue Door Quarterly Journal of Literature and Art and ArtsSpeak: Poetic Response to Art (Blue Door Art Gallery, Yonkers, NY). Additionally, she has conducted creative writing workshops in Spanish at the Hudson Valley Writers Center in Sleepy Hollow, New York, and has read her work throughout the New York metropolitan area. Originally from Argentina, she immigrated with her family to the United States as a child. She currently resides in New York and has two children, Pablo and Cristina, who are the joy of her life. She devotes her time to family, to writing, to teaching and to research and travel.