Identity Lessons

Identity Lessons

Contemporary Writing About Learning to Be American

Editor:
Editor: Jennifer Gillan

Format
Paperback
Price
$18.00
 
Additional Formats
  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780140271676
  • 400 Pages
  • Penguin Books
  • Adult

Overview

In stories and poems that explore how our society shapes us, Identity Lessons features a wide array of ethnic perspectives on growing up in America. Leading the reader into the living-rooms, boardrooms, classrooms, and movie houses of America, distinguished writers from all points of the American ethnic landscape shed light on the space between conformity and difference, and examine the struggle between the need to belong and the pull of one’s cultural roots. With insight, wit, and poignancy, the contributors to this anthology recall their attempts to reconcile family from the old country with the powerful messages about race, gender and class confronting them in their new surroundings. A collection of superb and moving writing, Identity Lessons deconstructs conceptions of personal and national identity, and forms an indispensable primer for understanding our cultural selves.

Table of Contents

Introduction

I. Family Primer I
Names – Ruth Stone
Pokeberries – Ruth Stone
Beets – Tiffany Midge
Magnalia Christi Americana – T.H.S. Wallace
daughters – Lucille Clifton
fury – Lucille Clifton
Dear Mama – Sonia Sanchez
Linked – Naomi Shihab Nye
I Go Back to May 1937 – Sharon Olds
The Portrait – Stanley Kunitz
Cracked Portraits – Agha Shahid Ali
Those Were the Days – Philip Levine
The Substitute – Stephen Dunn
The Liar – Tobias Wolff
Daddy, We Called You – Maria Mazziotti Gillan
Sangre 24: A Legacy – Leroy V. Quintana
Working Class – Lenard D. Moore
from attic – Justin Vitiello
Always Running – Luis J. Rodríguez
Company Outing – Diane Der-Hovanessian
Tending – Elizabeth Alexander
I cannot write a poem to bless all the givers of pain – Honorée Jeffers

II. Family Primer II
Family – Grace Paley
Why the Violin Is Better – Hal Sirowitz
My Aunts – Anthony Valerio
My Son Is Worried About Me – Laura Boss
The Word You Did Not Speak – Vivian Shipley
Words for My Daughter from the Asylum – Hayden Carruth
My Mad Son Helps Me Into Heaven – Arthur L. Clements
The Children – Diane di Prima
Mother’s Voice – Robert Creeley
Singing Lessons – Rochelle Ratner
photo poem – Vittoria repetto
Saying Farewell to My Father – James P. Handlin
The Birthday—August 25, 1980 – Edgar Gabriel Silex
Late – Terrance Hayes
Hotel Nights with My Mother – Linda McCarriston
Legacy – Stephen Dunn
Apples – Shirley Kaufman
Day Worker – Lamont B. Steptoe
Breakfast – Yictove
Shelling Shrimp – Lê Thi Diem Thúy
The Last Lesson – Toni Libro
Poem for My Father – Quincy Troupe
Sports Heroes, Cops, and Lace – Michael Lally

III. Calling Roll
The Riddle of Noah – Maxine Kumin
Baptisms – Joseph Bruchac
Freedom Candy – E. Ethelbert Miller
The Boots of Alfred Bettingdorf – Daniel Gabriel
Say What? – Amiri Baraka
Sangre 14: Sterling, Colorado – Leroy V. Quintana
The Loss of a Culture – Antonio D’Alfonso
Coffee- Wanda Coleman
Horns on Your Head – Hal Sirowitz
The Middle Classes – Lynne Sharon Schwartz
Right Off the Bat – Leslea Newman
French Girls Are Fast – Cheryl Savageau
My Rough Skinned Grandmother – Tina Chang
Kemo Sabe – Diane Glancy
Dictionary of Terminology – Tony Medina
A New Story – SImon J. Ortiz

IV. Pledging Allegiance
The Poets – Afaa M. Weaver
Seven Horses – Marge Piercy
The Last Wild Horses in Kentucky – Vivian Shipley
Learning Silence – Maria Mazziotti Gillan
Home Training – Bruce A. Jacobs
Half-Breed’s Song – Adrian C. Louis
Mestizo – Alfred Encarnacion
Tangerine – Susan Deer Cloud Clements
Between Holi and Halloween – Beena Kamlani
Strange Country – Julie Parson-Nesbitt
Roomers, rumors – Marge Piercy
Language Difficulties – Kathryn Nocerino
The Welcome Table – Lee Martin
High School: San Martin – Renny Christopher
On the Subway – Sharon Olds

V. School Daze
In the Elementary School Choir – Gregory Djanikian
Sixth Grade – Marie Howe
The Jacket – Gary Soto
Ladies’ Choice – Tony Ardizzone
As Children Together – Carolyn Forché
The Silence That Widened – Tom Romano
Caroline – Allison Joseph
Poem for Anthony, Otherwise Known as Head – Sean Thomas Dougherty
from Personal and Impersonal Landscapes – Diane Wakoski
The Dance at St. Gabriel’s – Felix Stefanile
Yellow Roses – Lyn Lifshin
High School Reunion – Denise Duhamel
The Story of My Life – Liz Rosenberg
Wearing of the Green – Anthony F. Bruno
The Boy Without a Flag – Abraham Rodriguez Jr.
Early Snow – Dona Luongo Stein
Butch Traynor – Michael S. Glaser
The Weird Kid – Mark Vinz
Sterling Williams’ Nosebleed – David Chin
Losing Faith – Mary McLaughlin Slechta
Altar Boy – Charles Rossiter
School of Night – Toi Derricotte
No Consolation – Robert Phillips
The Way of the Cross – Len Roberts

VI. Learning by Rote
Teaching English from an Old Composition Book – Gary Soto
Among Children – Philip Levine
Our Room – Molly Peacock
Chinese in Academia – Shirely Geok-lin Lim
For Sal Sanjamino: On His Retirement – Stanley H. Barkan
Poem on the First Day of School – Peter Cooley
Big World, Little Man – William Stafford
A Long Way – Ralph Salisbury
The First Day – Edward P. Jones
Pennies – David Ray
Shame – Francisco X. Alarcón
Disc ‘n Dat – Grace Cavalieri
The Captain of the Safeties – Maria Fama
Senior Will – David Haynes

VII. Our Bodies, Ourselves
My Father’s Love Letters – Yusef Komunyakaa
Mortal Sins – Maureen Seaton
Training Bra – Maria Mazziotti Gillan
The One Girl at the Boys’ Party – Sharon Olds
The Boy – Marie Howe
Practicing – Marie Howe
from Drops of This Story – Suheir Hammad
Playing with Dolls – David Trinidad
Rice and Beans – Rafael Campo
Defining Us – Rafael Campo
Imagining Drag – Rafael Campo
Choice in Colored Rain – Lisa Yun
Graffiti – Margie Norris
The Girls – Diane Wakoski
Aunt Dorothy – Laura Boss
Aunt Rose – Laura Boss
The Accordion – Rachel Guido deVries
Uncle Earl and Guns – Walt McDonald
Legacy – Chris Kennedy
The Politics of Buddy – Leslea Newman
“You know what I’m saying?” – Allen Ginsberg
The Robe – Afaa M. Weaver
Acupuncture and Cleansing at Forty-eight – Len Roberts

VIII. Beyond Dick and Jane
Garden State – Allen Ginsberg
Thelonious – Afaa M. Weaver
Robin’s Nest – Janice Eidus
Real Life – Mary Ann Mannino
Jetties Were the Bridges I Crossed – Nancy Mercado
Rock’n'Roll – M.L. Liebler
Sally – Frank Finale
Painting the Christmas Trees – Joe E. Weil
City Lights – Diane di Prima
There I Was One Day – Gerald Stern
An American in Trapani – Nat Scammacca
Made You Mine, America – Ali Zarrin
Ode to Elizabeth – Joe E. Weil
from Krik? Krak! – Edwidge Danticat
from This Past Decade and the Next – Eliot Katz
Second-Grade Angel – Len Roberts
Miz Rosa Rides the Bus – Angela Jackson
The Summer of Black Widows – Sherman Alexie
Tourists – Sherman Alexie
Like Mexicans – Gary Soto
American Milk – Ruth Stone

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