Fire and Ink: An Anthology of Social Action Writing share button
Frances Payne Adler
Format Paperback
Dimensions 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)
Pages 448
Publisher University of Arizona Press
Publication Date October 2009
ISBN 9780816527939
Book ISBN 10 0816527938
About Book

Fire and Ink is a powerful and impassioned anthology of stories, poems, interviews, and essays that confront some of the most pressing social issues of our day. Designed to inspire and inform, this collection embodies the concepts of “breaking silence,” “bearing witness,” resistance, and resilience. Beyond students and teachers, the book will appeal to all readers with a commitment to social justice.

Fire and Ink brings together, for the first time in one volume, politically engaged writing by poets, fiction writers, and essayists. Including many of our finest writers—Martín Espada, Adrienne Rich, June Jordan, Patricia Smith, Gloria Anzaldúa, Sharon Olds, Arundhati Roy, Sonia Sanchez, Carolyn Forche, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Alice Walker, Linda Hogan, Gary Soto, Kim Blaeser, Minnie Bruce Pratt, Li-Young Lee, and Jimmy Santiago Baca, among others—this is an indispensable collection.

This groundbreaking anthology marks the emergence of social action writing as a distinct field within creative writing and literature. Featuring never-before-published pieces, as well as reprinted material, Fire and Ink is divided into ten sections focused on significant social issues, including identity, sexuality and gender, the environment, social justice, work, war, and peace. The pieces can often be gripping, such as “Frame,” in which Adrienne Rich confronts government and police brutality, or Chris Abani’s “Ode to Joy,” which documents great courage in the face of mortal danger.

Fire and Ink serves as a wonderful reader for a wide range of courses, from composition and rhetoric classes to courses in ethnic studies, gender studies, American studies, and even political science, by facing a past that was often accompanied by injustice and suffering. But beyond that, this collection teaches us that we all have the power to create a more equitable and just future.


Publishers Weekly

While the editors of this generous anthology of fiction and nonfiction describe social action rather dryly as “a form of critical inquiry and an act of social responsibility,” the passionate pieces making up the collection elevate it into a meditation on the sanctity and wonder of each life. It's that overarching sensitivity that gives these diverse creative voices their moral and political force—and is echoed in the Buddhist “mindfulness” practiced by Vietnamese monk and social worker Chân Không, or the “small things” that make sense of the greatest transformations for novelist-activist Arundhati Roy, or the alertness to “the trauma of being different” in editor García's own migrant labor camp recollections. It comes as a refreshing antidote to the obfuscating abstractions clustered around the most pressing issues of the time—including those that become thematic categories in the anthology, such as war, the environment and labor. The general quality of writing, among both better and lesser known writers of conscience, ensures the collection is as timeless as it is timely. (Oct.)