In a new collection, Walker (The Chicken Chronicles, 2012, etc.) once again shows herself to be a deep and compassionate participant in global humanitarian efforts.
Beginning with a meditation on the promise wrought by the first inauguration of Barack Obama, the author’s essays, poems and letters are infused with a quiet grace and gentle resolve to act responsibly. Although now in her 60s and looking forward to a time to “withdraw from the worldly fray,” Walker was prodded off her meditation “cushion” in Mexico by world events and sent flying to far-flung places in the world that required her keen, writerly eyewitness. For example, one essay was inspired by finding herself in Cape Town, South Africa, as a juror at the Russell Tribunal on Palestine. She also headed to Gaza with CODEPINK and the Freedom Flotilla II, and she composed another essay about her “overcoming speechlessness” after the horrors witnessed in Rwanda and Eastern Congo. Brave, resilient and upbeat, Walker offers unbending meditations on injustice wherever she has met it. The “womanist” author explains why she supported Obama over “Mrs. Clinton” (“if he wins the presidency we will have not one but three black women in the White House…none of them carrying the washing in and out of the back door”) and offers reflections on her early teacher Howard Zinn and her early work for the freedom movement in Mississippi.
Walker’s “recipe[s] for difficult times” provide a heartfelt response to a new generation’s yearning for public service.