By Edwidge Danticat
Coconut Grove, Florida: Extra Virgin Press, 2023. Edition of 47.
9.5 × 6.25 × .5”; 25 pages. Written by Edwidge Danticat. Design, drawing, printing, and binding by Tom Virgin. Timeline by John Ermer & Tom Virgin. Printed on French Paper’s Starch White Speckletone. Cover of vintage Cave Paper. Bound with a kettle stitch using waxed linen thread, reinforced with Okawara paper, and a katazome paper spine wrap. Drop spine structure comes from Karen Hanmer. Pages hand printed on a 1949 Vandercook 4 Proof Press using Adobe Caslon Pro, wood type, polymer plates, and linoleum plates Signed by Danticat on the author bio page. Signed by Virgin on a back free end page. Numbered.
“This is my Body, of Food and Freedom” was originally published in Plough Quarterly No. 20: The Welcome Table (an online journal) in 2019. This printing of the article includes a timeline printed in run that runs through the pages documenting major dates and incidents in the history of Haiti. The first date is the year 1492 stating “The Arawak/Taino people were the original Native Americans living on the island of Hispaniola, prior to the landing of Europeans in today’s northern Haiti.” The timeline runs to November 2022 when “US Secretary of Homeland Security extended and redesignated Temporary Protected Status for eligible Haitians for 18 months. [The Trump administration had ended Temporary Protected Status in 2017]”
Danticat writes about detainees and food in the immigration detention centers maintained by the US. She writes about gynecomastia developed within the male population, a resulting civil suit against the federal government but a jury found the government not liable. There are also words regarding force feeding and hunger strikes. Her words make powerful images of people in desperate circumstances.
“Do not count on my anymore, because I’m lost in the struggle of Life ..” Words written by Yolande Jean to her family. She was on a hunger strike in Guantanamo Bay in 1993.
Ford Foundation on Edwidge Danticat : “Edwidge Danticat is a writer whose moving and insightful works across many genres enrich our understanding of Haiti and the complexities of the immigrant experience. She was born in Port-au-Prince in 1969 and moved to the United States when she was 12 years old. Her novels, memoirs, essays, short stories, and children’s and young adult books evoke the intricate layers of community, family, migration, isolation, and belonging.”
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