Cartographies: Meditations on Travel

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University of Georgia Press, Mar 15, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 134 pages
On the impulse behind Cartographies, Marjorie Agosín writes, "I have always wanted to understand the meaning of displacement and the quest or longing for home." In these lyrical meditations in prose and poetry, Agosín evokes the many places on four continents she has visited or called home. Recording personal and spiritual voyages, the author opens herself to follow the ambiguous, secret map of her memory, which "does not betray."

Agosín's journey begins in Chile, where she spent her childhood before her family left in the early days of the Pinochet dictatorship. Of Santiago Agosín writes, "Day and night I think about my city. I dream the dream of all exiles." Agosín also travels to Prague and Vienna, ancestral homes of her grandparents, and to Valparaíso in Chile, which received them as immigrants. Kneeling among the yellow mounds at the Terezin concentration camp, where twenty-two of her relatives died, Agosín places "small stones, shrubs, the stuff of life on graves I did not recognize."

And then on through the Middle East, the Mediterranean, Europe, and the Americas . . . Everywhere, she is drawn to women in whose devotion and creativity she sees a deep vein of hope--from Julia, keeper of the synagogue at Rhodes, to the women potters in the Chilean town of Pomaire.

Agosín writes of diaspora, exile, and oppression, yet only to highlight the dignity and valor of those who find refuge in their humanity and their art, in community and tradition. Cartographies shows us what can be found when we journey with openness, as approachable to strangers as we are to ourselves.


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Cartographies: meditations on travel

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With nearly 20 books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction to her credit, Agosin (Starry Night; A Cross and a Star) has won several awards for her human rights work. Here, she explores her Jewish roots ... Read full review


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About the author (2007)

Marjorie Agosín, a human rights activist and writer, is a professor of Spanish at Wellesley College. Her many books include Dear Anne Frank, A Cross and a Star, and The Alphabet in My Hands. Agosín's honors include the Gabriela Mistral Medal of Honor for Lifetime Achievement, given by the Chilean government; the Letras de Oro prize; and the Latino Literature Prize.

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