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Guidebook to Relative Strangers: Journeys into Race, Motherhood, and History

Guidebook to Relative Strangers: Journeys into Race, Motherhood, and History

"Camille Dungy is a poet and teacher who spends much of her career life traveling the country, often with her young daughter in tow. In these essays, she uses her poet's attention to detail to observe her daughter's blossoming relationship with her surroundings as well as the ways in which motherhood changes how she sees herself and how the world sees her. I'm a young mother, so this book hit me at exactly the right moment, but it's so much more than that. It's a beautiful distillation of being in the world: in space, in nature, in history, in one's body, in one's family."

Rachel C.

See all my recommendations »

Author Camille T. Dungy
Publisher W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date 2017-06-13
Section New Hardcover - Biography / All Staff Suggestions / Non-Fiction Suggestions / Rachel C.
Type New
Format Hardcover
ISBN 9780393253757

An award-winning African American poet debuts in prose with a stunningly graceful and honest exploration of race, motherhood, and history.

As a working mother whose livelihood as a poet-lecturer depended on travel, Camille Dungy crisscrossed America with her infant, then toddler, intensely aware of how they are seen, not just as mother and child, but as black women. With a poet’s eye, she celebrates her daughter’s acquisition of language and discoveries of the natural and human world around her. At the same time history shadows her steps everywhere she goes: from the San Francisco of settlers’ and investors’ dreams to the slave-trading ports of Ghana; from snow-white Maine to a festive, yet threatening, bonfire in the Virginia pinewoods.

With exceptional candor and grace, Dungy explores our inner and outer worlds―the intimate and vulnerable experiences of raising a child, living with illness, conversing with strangers, and counting on others’ goodwill. Across the nation, she finds fear and trauma, and also mercy, kindness, and community. Penetrating and generous, Guidebook to Relative Strangers is an essential guide for a troubled land.

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