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Original Essays | August 21, 2014 1 comment
Our title is, of course, a problem. "Why Literature Can Save Us." And of course the problem is one of definition: what those words mean. What is... Continue »
Terry Tempest WilliamsDescribe your latest project.
Finding Beauty in a Broken World is a meditation on mosaics as both an art form and a form of integration. From the bejeweled ceilings of Ravenna, Italy, to the ecological mosaic of Utah Prairie Dogs in Bryce Canyon National Park to the literal making of mosaics out of the rubble of war for a genocide memorial in Rwanda, this is an exploration on fragmentation and wholeness. Beauty is not optional. Art is not peripheral, but a strategy for survival. Finding beauty in a broken world is creating beauty in the world we find.
John Berger, Hold Everything Dear: Dispatches on Survival and Resistance.
Offer a favorite sentence or passage from another writer.
A small brass bowl called a Fear Cup. Engraved with filigree geometric patterns and some verses from the Koran arranged in the form of a flower. Fill it with water and leave it outside under the stars for a night. Then drink the water while praying that it will alleviate the pain and cure you. John Berger, Hold Everything Dear
Describe the best breakfast of your life.
Why do you write?
Share an interesting experience you've had with one of your readers.
Aside from other writers, name some artists from whom you draw inspiration and talk a little about their work.
Damien Hirst Because he forces us to not only see, but feel on a visceral level, what makes us uncomfortable: a shark suspended in a tank of formaldehyde; a cow sliced and sectioned.
Nek Chand a mosaicist from Chandighar, India, who recreated the community he lost during the Partition through mosaics. Outsider art in the city designed as grid by Le Corbusier.
Walter Ford a printmaker and watercolorist who brings echoes of Hieronymus Bosch to the 21st century and creates wildlife tableaus full of beauty irony, politics and pathos.
Van Gogh for his vibrant brushstrokes, soul-stirring colors, and mundane beauty from a bedroom to a field of iris growing outside a sanitarium. Crows flying over wheatfields.
Courbet The Origin of the World
O'Keeffe Bones as windows held up to the desert sky
Dogs, cats, budgies, or turtles?
Recommend five or more books on a single subject of personal interest or expertise.
These are books that were important to me in writing Finding Beauty in a Broken World:
On Beauty and Being Just by Elaine Scarry
Glossario Tecnico-Storico del Mosaico by Manuela Farneti
Animals and Why They Matter by Mary Midgley
Elizabeth Costello by J. M. Coetzee
The Black-Tailed Prairie Dog: Social Life of a Burrowing Mammal by John L. Hoogland
A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali by Gil Courtemanche
Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda by Romeo Dallaire
The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon
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Terry Tempest Williams is the Annie Clark Tanner Scholar in Environmental Humanities at the University of Utah. Her previous books include Leap; Refuge; and An Unspoken Hunger. Her writing appears frequently in journals and newspapers worldwide. She is the recipient of Lannan and Guggenheim fellowships in creative nonfiction. She divides her time between Castle Valley, Utah, and Wilson, Wyoming.