For Huckleberry

In light of the recent book banning of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, it got me thinking about books that have made a difference to me.  I certainly read the Twain novel in high school, and I recall it starting many open discussions in the classroom.  Introduced at the right age level, books like “Huckleberry” are a picture of history.  If we change the language of the book, how are we not also erasing a bit of history?  I already believe much of history is lost since it’s always written by only the ones that survive the times!  We need books like this one to arouse open conversations and tell us about our nation’s past.  I highly recommend you check out CMStewart‘s blog for more on the Huckleberry book ban.  Unabridgedgirl also has a discussion started on Mark Twain and book bans, too.

What I’d like to share with you is one author who I adore.  Frankly, her book of poems titled The Fact of a Doorframe is my Bible.  If that upsets anyone, I apologize, but I just mean, her words touch my soul.  Her name is Adrienne Rich and I could easily write an entire blog daily all about her.  I think over the course of college, I wrote like 10 papers on her.  She has many books out written about her experiences as a mother, a Jew, a lesbian, and a woman.  But it is her poetry which I find so haunting and illuminating at the same time.

I invite you all to check out her poem “The Burning of Paper Instead of Children.” This poem is the one I happened to flip to when I was perusing the campus bookstore shelves at NYU.  Of all the books I’ve ever thumbed through in my life, I have never had a book call out to me so strongly.  On what was a tagalong trip to New York while my best friend toured a campus I could never afford to go to, I found a saving grace in the bookstore.  For the next several years I emulated her writing as much as I could, but that’s beside the point.  I just wanted to share a work that inspired me and moved me so much, and I hope you all enjoy it too.  Rich was never afraid to write about “monsters,” as she called them.  And with all that’s happening over the book ban news burst, I found this poem again to be very fitting.

I hope she inspires you as she has me over and over again.  Happy reading!

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4 responses

  1. Great points about needing to preserve history, as skewed as it is.

    Thanks for the linkback!

  2. I always love finding and reading new authors, so thanks for the sample bit! And thank you for the link. 😉

  3. First of all, I too worry quite a lot about the implications of changing and censoring Huckleberry Finn. And quite frankly, we’ve gone this long without the need, and students are much more well-educated about racial issues and generally understand that reading racially-charged words in a piece of classic fiction is meant as a picture into the past and does not in anyway validate such language.

    Second of all, I absolutely ADORE Adrienne Rich and I am always glad to find others who can appreciate the passion, intelligence, and power of her work.

  4. Thank you for the trackback! 🙂

    Here’s the latest news on NewSouth Books’ censorship publicity ride:

    http://bit.ly/ghPnFT

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