Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Create Dangerously

by Drew Martin
I recently watched an online lecture by Edwidge Danticat titled: Create Dangerously - The Immigrant Artist at WorkShe expresses that writers belong to their readers and are honorary citizens of the countries where they are read and that self doubt is part of the acclimatization of every immigrant, which is the staple for artists. "The immigrant artist shares with all other artists a desire to remake the world even if the world is full of xenophobia, sexism, racism and just plain meanness." It is not a delicate lecture. She begins with the execution of two young talented Haitian men: "Their blood on the wall was the collaborative work of a dictator and henchmen." She speaks of the need for convincing each other in extreme conditions that art can be created, finding a balance between silence and art. She speaks of Albert Camus - creating with a sense of political responsibility and a revolt against silence. Danticat questions how writers and artists find each other in dangerous times; when reading and writing is an act of disobedience. She says "What joins writers, is that somewhere, if not now, someone might risk his or her life to read us." She quotes Osip Mandelshtam, the Russian poet and essayist: "Only in Russia poetry is respected – it gets people killed."