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Beverly Sills

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  • Discoveries

    Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work by Edwidge Danticat ( Princeton University Press: 181 pp., $19.95) "Create dangerously, for people who read dangerously. This is what I've always thought it meant to be a writer. Writing, knowing in part that no matter how trivial your words may seem, someday, somewhere, someone may risk his or her life to read them."Edwidge Danticat grew up in Haiti in the 1970s, under the dictatorship of Jean-Claude Duvalier. Danticat was born in 1969, but the story of the 1964 public execution of revolutionaries Marcel Numa and Louis Drouin was her creation myth — their courage, she writes, like the courage it must have taken Eve to take a bite of the apple; their deaths like Adam and Eve's expulsion from Eden. Danticat moved from Haiti to Brooklyn when she was 12. The beloved elderly uncle who had cared for her when her parents moved in 1971 to Brooklyn was persecuted by local gangs in Port-au-Prince, sought asylum in the U.S., was interrogated by U.S. officials, brutally incarcerated in Miami and died within days of his arrival. (She tells his story in her 2007 memoir, "Brother, I'm Dying.") Many of her loved ones, including two cousins, Maxo and his 10-year-old son, Nozial, were killed in this year's earthquake. In these essays, Danticat tells the stories of fellow Haitians: Alerte Belance, brutally hacked by machetes during the 1991 military coup; the journalist Jean Dominique, assassinated in 2000; and others. "The immigrant artist shares with all the other artists the desire to interpret and possibly remake his or her own world." These essays, reminiscent of Maurice Blanchot's "The Writing of the Disaster," (1980) are full of the images that have formed Danticat, the writer. She rearranges them in a collage. Haitians say that Haiti is "te, glise," she writes, "slippery ground." These essays are her effort to hold onto and even re-create her homeland.
  • Book review: 'Outside Looking In: Adventures of an Observer' by Garry Wills

    Book review: 'Outside Looking In: Adventures of an Observer' by Garry Wills
    On the surface, Garry Wills' "Outside Looking In: Adventures of an Observer" is an account of how a bookish young writer came to know a lot of famous people as a Zelig-like character amid glittering stars of political, journalistic and even operatic...

    Catching up with young soprano Jackie Evancho [Video]

    Is she a prodigy? A product? A cautionary tale in the making? It depends whom you ask. One this is for certain: nearly every body has an opinion about 11-year old soprano Jackie Evancho.

    Requiem: 2007 passings of note

    Among the major notables who passed from the scene this year, three of the most famous -- two masters of cinema and a genius of football -- died on the same day: July 30. Two others -- a historic Russian leader and a U.S. chronicler of war -- left us...

    Pipe Dreams

    "The question you're always asked is, 'Is opera still relevant?' " says handsome young tenor on the rise Joseph Kaiser. Despite his amiable temperament, he seems peeved by the frequently posed query. And why not? Singers like Kaiser and star baritone...