Apogee Journal presents

Writing Resistance:
Investigating / Subverting
Form & Narrative

A Writing Workshop Series

LEARN MORE

Representing Difference In Writing – The Rumpus

The Rumpus has posted a thoughtful essay by Delaney Nolan about writing poor, black characters as a white fiction writer. The purpose of good literature, as far as I can tell, is to find a common human ground that we can all relate to. So I’m not going to represent difference by pretending like I know exactly where Marie’s coming from, or by throwing in a rainbow-colored cast. But I know, at least, some things we have in common now. I know what it’s like to rely on family who’re in a hard place themselves. I know what it’s like to be isolated, to be powerless. I know what it’s like to be, in some sense, unhoused. I don’t know precisely what life is for the people on Marais Street, but I can get myself partway there, and the rest of that bridge is what makes fiction necessary and superlative—empathy, understanding, and a sincere belief in some common thread of humanity. Read the rest here.

The Gray Area: Gentrification in Manhattan's Hamilton Heights

  by Alexandra Watson, Editor-in-Chief   As a mixed-race graduate student at Columbia living in Hamilton Heights, a neighborhood in Harlem destined for “urban renewal,” my relationship to the word gentrification is ambivalent. As a child, I associated the word “gentrification” solely with white people—I thought it referred specifically and only to the moving of white people into a neighborhood. In popular usage, among my peers and members of my family both black and white, this seems to be the way the word has come to be understood, despite the fact that the word’s real definition refers solely to class and property—“the buying and renovation of stores and houses in deteriorated urban neighborhoods.” The word has taken on a negative connotation, oftentimes rightfully so—gentrification strips a neighborhood of its history, it drives out long-term residents, it either appropriates or overruns culture.