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2018 Chautauqua Season

CLSC: Paisley Rekdal

Aug 14, 2018 3:30pm ‐ Aug 14, 2018 4:30pm



Winner of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Award for Creative Nonfiction, The Broken Country: On Trauma, a Crime, and the Continuing Legacy of Vietnam, uses a violent incident that took place in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 2012 as a springboard for examining the long-term cultural and psychological effects of the Vietnam War. 

To make sense of the shocking and baffling incident ― in which a young homeless man born in Vietnam stabbed a number of white men purportedly in retribution for the war ― Paisley Rekdal draws on a remarkable range of material and fashions it into a compelling account of the dislocations suffered by the Vietnamese and also by American-born veterans over the past decades. She interweaves a narrative about the crime with information collected in interviews, historical examination of the arrival of Vietnamese immigrants in the 1970s, a critique of portrayals of Vietnam in American popular culture, and discussions of the psychological consequences of trauma. 

The Broken Country allows us to better understand transgenerational and cultural trauma and advances our still complicated struggle to comprehend the war.

Paisley Rekdal is the author of a book of essays, The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee, and four books of poetry, including Animal Eye, which was a finalist for the 2013 Kingsley Tufts Prize and winner of the UNT Rilke Prize. Her work has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Fellowship, an NEA Fellowship and two Pushcart Prizes, among other honors. In May 2017, she was named Utah's Poet Laureate.


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