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The Land between Two Rivers

Writing in an Age of Refugees
Tom Sleigh
Tom Sleigh describes himself donning flak jacket and helmet, working as a journalist inside militarized war zones and refugee camps, as “a sort of Rambo, Jr.” With self-deprecation and empathetic humor, these essays recount Sleigh’s experiences during several tours in Africa and in the Middle Eastern region once called Mesopotamia, “the land between two rivers.”      
Sleigh asks three central questions: What did I see? How could I write about it? Why did I write about it? The first essays focus on the lives of refugees in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Kenya, Somalia, and Iraq. Under the conditions of military occupation, famine, and war, their stories can be harrowing, even desperate, but they’re also laced with wily humor and an undeluded hopefulness, their lives having little to do with their depictions in mass media. The second part of this book explores how writing might be capable of honoring the texture of these individuals’ experiences while remaining faithful to political emotions, rather than political convictions. Sleigh examines the works of Anna Akhmatova, Mahmoud Darwish, Ashur Etwebi, David Jones, Tomas Tranströmer, and others as guiding spirits. Concluding with a beautiful remembrance of Sleigh’s friendship with Seamus Heaney, the final essays meditate on youth, restlessness, illness, and Sleigh’s motivations for writing his own experiences in order to move out into the world. 

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$16.00
ISBN
978-1-55597-796-2
Format
Paperback
Publication Date
Pages
272
Trim Size
6 x 9
Essays on the urgency of our global refugee crisis and our capacity as artists and citizens to confront it

About the Author

Tom  Sleigh
Credit: Annette Hornischer
Tom Sleigh is the author of ten books of poetry, most recently House of Fact, House of Ruin; Station Zed; Army Cats; and Space Walk, winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. He is also the author of two essay collections, The Land between Two Rivers: Writing in an Age of Refugees and Interview with a Ghost. Sleigh teaches at Hunter College and lives in New York.

http://www.tomsleigh.com/
 
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Upcoming Events

Tom Sleigh appearing as part of the Fall For the Book Festival

Date:
Location:
Fall for the Book Festival in Fairfax, VAview map
"From the Heart of the Refugee Crisis." Location: George's, 3rd Floor, Johnson Center.

Tom Sleigh reading at Shakespeare & Co.

Date:
Location:
Shakespeare & Co. - NYC in New York, NYview map
Reading and in conversation with Charles Bardes.

Tom Sleigh reading at University of Illinois at Chicago

Date:
Location:
Univ Illinois -- Chicago in Chicago, ILview map
“A Conscientious Objector with a Very Seared Conscience,” a reading and lecture. Location: Lower level SH Stevenson Hall.

Tom Sleigh reading with the American String Quartet at Stude Concert Hall at Rice University

Date:
Location:
Stude Concert Hall -- Rice University in Houston, TXview map
"War and Healing," a performance with the American String Quartet. Tickets begin at $20.

Tom Sleigh reading with the American String Quartet at Temple Beth-El

Date:
Location:
Temple Beth-El in San Antonio, TXview map
"Lyric in the Time of War," a performance with the American String Quartet and poet Phil Klay. Tickets are $25.

Praise

  • “A uniquely personal take on the responsibilities of the poet and the potential for language to be ‘a form of care.’”Publishers Weekly, starred review
  • “Wry and sharply observed. . . . Provocative and eye-opening work from a dedicated artist.”Kirkus Reviews
  • “Beautiful and sensitive. . . . We need more writing from poets like Sleigh, particularly writing about criminally underserved topics like the plight of refugees.”Michigan Quarterly Review
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