Immigration Essays

Sybil Baker (Author)

Product Details

C&r Press
Publish Date
February 15, 2017
5.5 X 8.5 X 0.33 inches | 0.0 pounds

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About the Author

Sybil Baker is the author of WHILE YOU WERE GONE (C&R Press, 2018), IMMIGRATION ESSAYS (C&R Press, 2017), The Life Plan, TALISMANS (C&R Press, 2010), and Into This World. She is a UC Foundation Associate Professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and teaches at the Yale Writer's Conference. She has received two Make Work Artist Grants and an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Tennessee Arts Commission. She is Fiction Editor at Drunken Boat.


"The German philosopher and critic Walter Benjamin once lamented how even though every morning brings us news from around the globe, we are left ironically poorer in possessing any noteworthy stories, because what is being conveyed to us has already been "shot through with explanation." In ranging from her own family's history in Possum Valley, Arkansas to the stories of refugees from Sudan, Iraq, Cuba, the Ukraine and elsewhere, Sybil Baker has crafted the perfect answer for Benjamin, an indispensable collection of essays on what it means to be a global citizen who prejudges no one and who remains full of empathy and perpetual engagement with the difficult, utterly crucial questions of race, place, privilege and migration. This is a compliment I would never pay lightly, but Sybil is that rarest of white writers who, because she's worked so hard at it, genuinely understands a good part of what it means to be a person of color. In this respect, "Immigration Essays" is nothing short of brilliant, both in its conception and use of personal photographs and in its wider historical perspective; ultimately this book redefines our very idea of home even as it writes a love letter to the world." - Ravi Shankar, Pushcart Prize Winner and Author of What Else Could it Be "Having taught for twelve years in South Korea, Baker is intimately attuned to the nuances of Korean culture and the experience it offers expatriates. She makes the location as live and as vividly as her characters do, and she brings the Morehouse family drama to life with keenly observed details." - Sarah Norris, author of Chapter 16 "Beautifully told, Sybil Baker weaves a lush, finely wrought tale of two daughters in search of love, two sisters in search of forgiveness in the middle of a foreign land." - Foreword Reviews "The author lovingly describes...history, culture and most compellingly, people." - US Review/Eric Hoffer Award "Sybil Baker has always been itinerant, as a writer, scholar and citizen. In Immigration Essays, she charts her "reverse migration" from America to Ankara. Along the way, she sheds light on the dark corners of our global village - the housing disparities of the American south, the homeless of Bratislava, the hidden beauty of South Korea. She knits together history and current events, including the mass migration from Syria and the economic changes of South Africa. She examines her own slave-owning ancestors and makes the case for reparations on a personal level. She interviews the exiles living in her home city of Chattanooga. And gives voice to their longing for home. Her collection is a road map to the world with all its complexities and should not be missed." - Lisa Page, co-editor of the forthcoming essay collection, #Passing "More than a collection of 'wanderings' Sybil Baker's Immigration Essays is an amazing and essential odyssey for our times. Ranging from origins in a rural house through ten cities, shantytowns and even the effects of gentrifications in her own city and counterpointed against heartfelt experiences through Asia, Europe and Africa, Baker opens up the world of peoples from places like Sudan, Ukraine, Greece, Turkey, Iraq and more. Here we learn how every place, even our own, is foreign, how every person is an immigrant in some respect with a back story that makes you see them anew. As she writes, 'By listening and telling stories we acknowledge each other's value, as different as our lives are.' Through all this there is an overwhelming hope that despite the racism and poverty she encounters we can 'commit to embracing and forgiving the world.' What better vision can we have? You need to read this book, and more, believe in it." - Richard Jackson, award-winning author of The Heart's Many Doors