Category Archives: Memoir

The Way to Rainy Mountain

In 2012, I read N. Scott Momaday’s groundbreaking novel House Made of Dawn, which is the story of a young Native man who has returned to the reservation from the second World War in order to face his demons. The … Continue reading

Posted in History, Memoir | 4 Comments

Birds, Art, Life

When writer Kyo Maclear began taking care of her ailing father, she found herself adrift and unable to write. Constant worry and the changing patterns of her day became difficult to manage.She writes that A mind narrows when it has … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir, Nonfiction | 4 Comments

Nox

I had a birthday in July, and I received a copy of Anne Carson’s beautiful book-artifact Nox, in which she explores — in poetry, in Latin, in photography and letters and art, in what is said and not said — … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir, Poetry | 7 Comments

Travels in West Africa

The last time I read a travelogue by an intrepid Victorian lady explorer, I had mixed feelings about it. Amelia B. Edwards’s A Thousand Miles Up the Nile was a fascinating look at 19th-century Egypt and what it was like … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir, Nonfiction, Travel/ Exploration | 14 Comments

Blood Done Sign My Name

In the United States, when we are first taught about the Civil Rights movement, in our high schools and sometimes into college, it goes something like this: There was segregation and injustice, and it was bad. And then Martin Luther … Continue reading

Posted in History, Memoir, Nonfiction | 12 Comments

Bipolar Faith: A Black Woman’s Journey with Depression and Faith

Monica A. Coleman’s memoir touches on a lot of significant themes: faith, grief, trauma, rape, depression, prayer, race, family, friendship, and history among them. She begins with the story of her great-grandfather who died, it was said, “of grief,” hanging … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir, Nonfiction, Religion | 8 Comments

Greetings from Utopia Park

Claire Hoffman received her first mantra when she was just 3 years old. Her mother practiced Transcendental Meditation and brought up Claire and her brother, Stacey, to do the same. Periods of meditation, often during quiet play, were part of Claire’s life … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir, Nonfiction | 6 Comments

H Is for Hawk

I sometimes struggle to define and describe good writing at the sentence and word level. I can work out what makes a plot click along well or what strong characterization looks like. But with excellent word-smithery, the best I can do is … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir, Nonfiction | 12 Comments

Crazy Brave

Joy Harjo is a Native American (Creek) poet and musician. I’ve encountered her poetry in a couple of different contexts, and it’s always tough and interesting, so I wasn’t surprised when her 2012 memoir, Crazy Brave, was not your usual … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir, Nonfiction | 2 Comments

This House of Sky

Ivan Doig’s memoir about his childhood and adolescence in rural Montana, This House of Sky, is an interestingly angular book, all joints and rough skin and knobby knees. This comes from the two driving forces of the book smashing together: … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir, Nonfiction | 9 Comments