In conversation with Airea D. Matthews, Philadelphia Poet Laureate and Co-Director of the Creative Writing Program at Bryn Mawr
With an artist’s perspective and a ground-level view of people in extremis across the world, writer Anna Badkhen offers “rich and lucid prose [that] illustrates her journey as vividly as might a series of photographs” (Christian Science Monitor). Her immersive investigations of the world’s inequities have yielded seven books of nonfiction, including The World Is a Carpet: Four Seasons in an Afghan Village; Walking with Abel: Journeys with the Nomads of the African Savannah; and Fisherman’s Blues: A West African Community at Sea. A contributor to Foreign Policy, The New York Times, and The New Republic, she has earned a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Barry Lopez Visiting Writer in Ethics and Community Fellowship, and the Joel R. Seldin Award for documenting the lives of civilians in warzones. In Bright Unbearable Reality, Badkhen offers 11 essays set across four continents that explore the human need for communion amidst the world’s current emotional and political disruptions.
Airea D. Matthews is the Philadelphia Poet Laureate and Co-Director of the Creative Writing Program at Bryn Mawr College. Her collection Simulacra won the 2016 Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize and her work has appeared in Callaloo, Harvard Review, and American Poets, among other journals. The recipient of a 2022 Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship, her latest collection, Bread and Circus, comes out next year.