2013 State of the Book Keynote Speaker: Carolyn Forch

Editor’s Note: All this week we’ll continue posting micro-portraits and/or interesting news about this year’s 2013 presenters at The State of the Book Literary Symposium, which will take place in Ann Arbor on Saturday, September 28, in Rackham Auditorium. All events are free and open to the public. Thank you!

Carolyn Forche
We’re honored to have poet of witness, teacher, social justice activist, and Detroit native as the Holocaust and the atom bomb.

In her bestselling second book, The Country Between Us, Forché writes:

“It is a small country.

There is nothing one man will not do to another”

When The Country Between Us came out in 1981, death squads terrorized El Salvador. Forché’s book gives the images of human atrocity in that small country that were absent from the news reports: severed ears like dried peaches, the sound of scythes, death pits.

“I tried not to write about El Salvador in poetry, because I thought it might be better to do so in journalistic articles,” Forché told Jonathan Cott in a Rolling Stone interview. “But I couldn’t–the poems just came.”

Listen to Carolyn Forché read her poem “The Colonel” aloud.