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Sonnets on Seeking Home in a Troubled World

How do we know where home is, asks Carol Flake Chapman, when we are always moving away, when the places where we were once rooted have changed, just as we ourselves change? In Querencia: Sonnets on Seeking Home in a Troubled World, she explores our desire to find a sense of belonging and safety in a time when rivers have been drying up, sea levels are rising, the West has been burning, and hurricanes have been getting more frequent and powerful. With a country bitterly divided on so many fronts, finding home has never been more difficult.

She has found the most telling concept of seeking home in this troubled time to be that of querencia, which originated as a term from bullfighting to describe the area in the ring where the bull finds a place of safety. The meaning of querencia has broadened to suggest a feeling of belonging, of finding home. But for the bull, as for most of us, our feelings of safety and belonging are only temporary, as we must often venture out of our safe places, and we must often leave them to seek safety and belonging elsewhere. And from that quest, she suggests in her poems, we create our own places of respite and sanctuary, where we find comfort and meaning.

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About the Author

Carol Flake Chapman

After a stint in academia, Carol Flake Chapman turned to journalism, working as writer and editor for a number of leading newspapers and magazines. She was a founding editor of Vanity Fair; she was the horse racing correspondent forĀ The New Yorker; she was a rock critic for the Village Voice; she was the Texas stringer for U.S. News & World Report; and she served as an editor and columnist for the Boston Globe. She has written as well for Harper’s, the Washington Post, the New York Times, Vogue, Conde Nast Traveler, Connoisseur, The Nation, Texas Monthly, and The New Republic. She has covered subjects from religion, culture, and politics to travel and nature. Her pioneering book on evangelicalism and the rise of the religious right, titled Redemptorama: Culture, Politics and the New Evangelicalism, has become a classic, and her book about the city of New Orleans, titled New Orleans: Behind the Masks of America’s Most Exotic City, has been cited by many as one of the best books ever written about the city.

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