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Author Archives: Voices From The Community

An Anisfield Wolf-Inflected Reading List For India

by Lisa Nielson A colleague at the Cleveland Council on World Affairs generously nominated me for a professional exchange, sponsored by World Learning, that has me packing my bags for India. But what about books? How do I prepare for my first visit to a place with over 4,000 years of history? While I’ve lived in Jerusalem and Damascus – no slouches in the antiquity department – the weight of time and the linguistic, environmental and cultural diversity of India are daunting. Armed with a list of helpful articles and suggested reading from the marvelous program director at World Learning, Dianne Neville, I went to the public library. Because I’m a medievalist, everything past the 17th century is distressingly recent. My association with the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards helps... Read More →

The Mystery Of Edith Anisfield Wolf, Founder Of Our Book Prize

edith anisfield wolfA photo of Edith Anisfield Wolf as a young woman by Lisa Nielson Sometimes when I need serious advice, I visit Edith. Edith Anisfield Wolf, the founder of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, is interred in the mausoleum at Knollwood Cemetery in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. You’ll find her remains in the corridor to the right of the little chapel as one walks in: #321. I track down one of the battered folding chairs scattered around the mausoleum and sit in the humid quiet. She is one of the most influential women in my life who I have never met. When I first started getting to research the poet and philanthropist, I was shocked by the paucity of information about her. The archives at the Cleveland Public Library contain nearly every book that won the Anisfield-Wolf award, but information... Read More →

What Anisfield-Wolf Taught Me: Finding Strength In My Immigrant Identity

by Jessica Yang I was five when I came to the U.S. from China. My first experiences of America were formed in a predominantly white town where I could count the number of non-white classmates on one hand. Other children asked me why my eyes were so small, whether I ate dogs, and why my lunch of homemade dumplings smelled weird. I chose to bury these memories because I wanted to believe the world was a better place. “The trick was to understand America, to know that America was give-and-take. You gave up a lot but you gained a lot, too.” That observation comes from Chimamanda Adichie’s short story, “The Thing Around My Neck.” I discovered it in a first-year seminar at Case Western Reserve University, an experience that helped awaken me to the power in sharing things that make... Read More →

Teaching Anisfield-Wolf In The Classroom

By Gabrielle Bychowski How do we talk about racism? How do we talk about sexism? These were two of the questions that initiated the 2018 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award seminar at Case Western Reserve University. The goal was not only to help facilitate talk about racism and sexism but also to study the ways in which this talk already occurs. Students were challenged to analyze and deconstruct the grammar and rhetoric of white supremacy: What are the images created and repeated? How are sentences structured to lead readers or listeners to certain conclusions? What are the nouns, verbs, adverbs, and adjectives that act as dog whistles for attentive audiences? The thesis of our seminar was that Anisfield-Wolf Book Award winners could help answer the questions posed on racism and sexism. We... Read More →

REVIEW: Adrian Matejka’s “Map To The Stars” Is An Extraordinary Ride

by Charles Ellenbogen Anisfield-Wolf award winner Adrian Matejka has produced another excellent book of poems. I chose the word ‘book’ deliberately. This is not a collection of poems, but it is, like The Big Smoke, a book. Generally, when I read poetry, I can read 2 or 3 poems at a time. If I read too many more, I can’t really give them the attention they deserve. This is not to say that Matejka’s poems don’t deserve careful attention; they do. It’s just that the book has such a narrative drive (see the transition between “Stardate 8705.29” and “Business as Usual” for an example) that I often had to remind myself to slow down. Together, "Map to the Stars" tells a compelling coming-of-age story that involves a move to the suburbs (which means a move from Prince to... Read More →
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