Willimantic, Conn. –Eastern Connecticut State University’s English Department and the Visiting Writers Series presented an evening reading with Aisha Sabatini Sloan in Webb 110 on April 24.
Sloan read an essay titled “D is for the Dance of Operas,” which centered on crime and violence in Detroit. Inspired by riding around with an officer on duty in Detroit, Sloan incorporated the idea of opera into the essay, which creates a contrast between dark and light. When asked why she had chosen to write about Detroit and use opera terms throughout the essay, she explained, “I’ve been there [to Detroit] intermittingly throughout my life,” and also had been listening to classical music while riding in the police car. It acted as a backdrop or a soundtrack to her experience.
During the reading, Sloan shared with the audience issues she faces during the writing process and asked members of the audience about their own writing experiences as well.
“I think what she’s done is brave,” says English Professor Reginald Flood. “She took a town that she loved, and even though she talked about horrible things, the bottom line of the essay is love.”
Sloan’s essays have been named to the “The Best American Non-Required Reading” and “Best American Essays” anthologies of 2011, nominated for a “Pushcart Prize” and been published in “Ninth Letter,” “Identity Theory,” “Michigan Quarterly Review,” “Terrain,” “Callaloo,” “The Southern Review” and “Guernica.” Her first book of essays, “The Fluency of Light: Coming of Age in a Theater of Black and White,” was published by the University of Iowa Press in 2013. She has taught writing at the University of Arizona for six years, and is currently a contributing editor for Guernica: A Magazine of Art & Politics.