home / body : collected poems and essays
Pantoja, Karina A.
The author writes, “Initially, the goal of my SIP was to take the idea of brownness and dissect it. I wanted to write about what it meant and felt like to be brown from a small, conservative, and racially homogenous town; how brownness was perceived and talked about within the confines of the town that I grew up in. With this idea in mind, I intended to interview people, anyone I could find, to uncover the discourse of race and ethnicity within Paw Paw. The perception and rhetoric around non-white bodies would be illuminated through questioning life in a small town, the controversial mascot, what brings people together and what pushes them apart. However, that meant scheduling interviews and dealing with all that legal, bureaucratic paperwork that is never fun.” Then the author realizes “I didn’t have to grab the people of the town and shake out their experiences. In actuality it was my voice and experiences that needed to drive this project. It then became about my body, my brownness and the town itself. That doesn’t mean that my voice and experiences are the most important or that there isn’t room for any others -- in fact, I think it’s the complete opposite. My voice invites other voices in, at points blending together so that any brown kid in a small, rural town can join in the chorus. And within the blending of marginalized voices another voice is juxtaposed against them -- the white voice.” The final product is a collection of poems and essays that explore the author’s experience of “homebuilding” in both Kalamazoo and Paw Paw.
xii, 31 p.
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