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If I Could Write This in Fire

3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  44 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
In her first book-length collection of nonfiction, Cliff interweaves reflections on her life in Jamaica, England, and the United States with a powerful and sustained critique of racism, homophobia, and social injustice. If I Could Write This in Fire begins by tracing her transatlantic journey from Jamaica to England, coalescing around a graceful, elliptical account of her ...more
Hardcover, 104 pages
Published August 15th 2008 by Univ Of Minnesota Press (first published January 1st 2008)
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The title essay is very powerful.
Gary Dale Cearley
Jan 08, 2009 Gary Dale Cearley rated it liked it
This loosely autobiographical piece spent most of its time explaining how the English, Americans, Germans and Caucasian people in general have lots of explaining to do. It meandered through time and distance and jumped back and forth through different episodes of Michelle Cliff’s life. And she spends much of the time telling us how she doesn’t fit in Jamaica, England and the United States, but somehow we get the feeling she thinks that it’s our fault.

I also found it interesting about the title o
Feb 23, 2014 Andi rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-bingo-2014
This collection of non-fiction short stories were ripe with critics l race inquiries. Just the right touch of thinking that I needed. Can't wait to read "Abeng" and "Free Enterprise."
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Michelle Cliff (born 2 November 1946) is a Jamaican-American author whose notable works include No Telephone to Heaven, Abeng and Free Enterprise.

Cliff also has written short stories, prose poems and works of literary criticism. Her works explore the various, complex identity problems that stem from post-colonialism, as well as the difficulty of establishing an authentic, individual identity despi
More about Michelle Cliff...

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“One of the effects of indoctrination, of passing into the anglo-centrism of British West Indian culture, is that you believe absolutely in the hegemony of the King's English and in the proper forms of expression. Or else your writing is not literature; it is folklore, or worse. And folklore can never be art. Read some poetry by West Indian writers--some, not all--and you will see what I mean. The reader has to dissect anglican stanza after anglican stanza for Caribbean truth, and may never find it. The anglican ideal -- Milton, Wordsworth, Keats -- was held before us with an assurance that we were unable, and would never be able, to achieve such excellence. We crouched outside the cave.” 4 likes
“It was never a question of passing. It was a question of hiding. Behind Black and white perceptions of who we were -- who they thought we were. Tropics. Plantations. Calypso. Cricket. We were the people with the musical voices and the coronation mugs on our parlor tables. I would be whatever figurine these foreign imaginations cared for me to be. It would be so simple to let others fill in for me. So easy to startle them with a flash of anger when their visions got out of hand -- but never to sustain the anger for myself. It would be a life lived within myself. A life cut off. I know who I am but you will never know who I am. I may in fact lose touch with who I am.” 4 likes
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