Edwidge Danticat Talks Immigration Reform in the Washington Post & The Cycle

Acclaimed author of Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work Edwidge Danticat penned an op-ed for the Washington Post and also appeared on MSNBC’s The Cycle to discuss immigration and immigration reform in light of the release of over 2,200 immigrant detainees in February due to budgetary savings measures.

During my sophomore year of college I read Edwidge Danticat’s Brother, I’m Dying as part of required reading for my multicultural literature course. It was a good read and just one of various works by Danticat about immigration and immigration reform. Her most recent work, Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work, discusses art and exile for artists from countries in turmoil.

3-25 Danticat_CREATEIn this deeply personal book, the celebrated Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat reflects on art and exile, examining what it means to be an immigrant artist from a country in crisis. Inspired by Albert Camus’ lecture, “Create Dangerously,” and combining memoir and essay, Danticat tells the stories of artists, including herself, who create despite, or because of, the horrors that drove them from their homelands and that continue to haunt them. Danticat eulogizes an aunt who guarded her family’s homestead in the Haitian countryside, a cousin who died of AIDS while living in Miami as an undocumented alien, and a renowned Haitian radio journalist whose political assassination shocked the world. Danticat writes about the Haitian novelists she first read as a girl at the Brooklyn Public Library, a woman mutilated in a machete attack who became a public witness against torture, and the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat and other artists of Haitian descent. Danticat also suggests that the aftermaths of natural disasters in Haiti and the United States reveal that the countries are not as different as many Americans might like to believe.

Create Dangerously is an eloquent and moving expression of Danticat’s belief that immigrant artists are obliged to bear witness when their countries of origin are suffering from violence, oppression, poverty, and tragedy.