Tijuana: Not pretty, but fertile

In the middle of the day, the trolley from San Diego to Tijuana is packed. We ride through the dry and dusty landscape for about twenty minutes before reaching the pedestrian border crossing. Most passengers walk straight towards border control while I stick around to exchange American dollars for Mexican pesos at a booth. In the hall of the practical grey building, people quickly pass through the processing point for American and Mexican passports. Members of other nationalities take a little longer. After thirty minutes, I step back into daylight in Mexico. Tijuana: Not pretty, but fertile weiterlesen


Héctor Tobar: The Barbarian Nurseries

After an argument over money ends badly, Scott Torres and Maureen Thompson leave their home in the Laguna Rancho Estates separately. Neither of them informs their housekeeper, Araceli Ramírez, who finds herself unwillingly in charge of their two sons. Three days and several miscommunications later, Araceli faces deportation because she attempted to bring the children to their grandfather in L.A. Héctor Tobar: The Barbarian Nurseries weiterlesen

Books, Booths, and Burritos in San Francisco

Sometime during the 17-hour-trainride from Portland to San Francisco, the lush forests of the Pacific Northwest turn into the hills covered by yellow and green grasslands and bushes that surround the Bay Area. The Ohlone people, including the Yelamu, are the original inhabitants of the area that is now San Francisco. They were the largest group of Native Americans south of the Coast Salish before European settlement expanded from the East Coast. Now their traces are few and far in between. The time of Spanish colonization and Mexican affiliation, however, is still present in many place and street names. Books, Booths, and Burritos in San Francisco weiterlesen

Brian Doyle: Mink River

Brian Doyle’s fiction debut Mink River (Oregon State University Press, 2010) takes place in Neawanaka, a small, fictional village on the central Oregon coast whose indigenous origins reach back about 5000 years. Brian Doyle: Mink River weiterlesen

Comics and Zines in Portland

If you define literature as book-shaped text only, Portland isn’t high up on the list of US destinations known for their literary production. Storytelling, however, can take many forms in and across media. Portland’s comic book and zine communities are great examples of making and celebrating artwork that combines visual and textual elements.
Comics and Zines in Portland weiterlesen

Sherman Alexie: The Absolutely True Diary of A Part-Time Indian

During my week in Seattle, Sherman Alexie was everywhere: He was mentioned by a tour guide, recommended at the library, named as one of the contributors to the annual collection What to Read in the Rain by BFI, and I was just one week late to see him read from his new book at Hugo House, a memoir about his recently deceased mother called You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me. Sherman Alexie: The Absolutely True Diary of A Part-Time Indian weiterlesen

A Literary Portrait of Seattle

Before arriving in Seattle, I imagined the Pacific Northwest as perennially rainy and gray, the perfect setting for the evolution of Grunge in the nineties. In mid-May, however, I was met with a week of perpetual sunshine and an array of all things literary that rival Seattle’s reputation as a hotbed for music. Specialty bookstores like the science book store Ada’s Technical Books, Open Books, one of four poetry-only stores in the US, and the community cookbook store Book Larder form a surprising complement to the chain-oriented big business of tech giants Google and Amazon. A Literary Portrait of Seattle weiterlesen

Tracing „A Tale For The Time Being“ on Cortes Island

A Tale for The Time Being (Canongate, 2013) is a book about connections – between and in spite of people, time, and place. The story is set in motion when Ruth, who lives on Cortes, one of the Discovery Islands at the northern end of Georgia Strait, finds a mysterious piece of flotsam: The diary of Nao, a teenager in Japan. Tracing „A Tale For The Time Being“ on Cortes Island weiterlesen

Verses Festival of Words 2017: A Visitor’s Perspective

„Hi, I’m A, and I use they/them pronouns.“ They wave to the group of people sitting on wooden cinema chairs in the backroom of Havana Café. The person beside them continues. “I’m B, hello. She/her.” She looks to her right. “C. They/them.” The round continues until the about twenty participants have introduced themselves.

Verses Festival of Words 2017: A Visitor’s Perspective weiterlesen