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Dear America

Letters of Hope, Habitat, Defiance, and Democracy

About the Book

Trinity University Press & Terrain.org, 2020

This diverse collection features personal essays, narrative journalism, poetry, and visual art from nearly 130 contributors―many pieces never before published―all literary reactions to the times we live in, with a focus on civic action and social change as we approach future elections. As Scott Minar writes, we must remain steadfast and look to the future: “Despair can bring us very low, or it can make us smarter and stronger than we have ever been before.”

*All royalties from the sale of Dear America are being donated to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the National Resources Defense Council, and the ACLU.

Sample Poem

What Will Keep Us

Selected Reviews

“When you get a book like this, Dear America, you carry it with you into war, onto the battlefield, into classrooms, because it’s not just a book in the traditional sense, it’s a tool to sharpen the dull mind, to see injustice where before you let it pass. It’s a weapon to raise when others raise their rifles. You shake this book in their faces and tell them, This is who we are, this is what we’ve made, this is us and what we fight for and represent and will protect for our children’s children.”
– Jimmy Santiago Baca, winner of the International Award and author of A Place to Stand

“These letters come from a deep, real love of this place, and they imagine willing, receptive readers on the other end. We need a series of miracles looking forward, and this is one.”
– Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and co-founder of 350.org

“Dear America is the book for 2020.”
– Steven John, The Manual

“Collectively, [these letters] form a testament to the Whitmanian multitudes and their lucubrations on the nation after the election: critical, but free of invective. They are united . . . by their devotion to a polity that can still be called “America,” a multiethnic project grown from Transcendentalist, immigrant, and abolitionist roots . . . . It is fair to say that [these letters] put the epistle back in epistolarity; there is a robust assertion of a literary public sphere. These pieces are Ciceronian, rhetorical in a manner that feels traditional and contemporary. They vary in tone from earnest to satiric and in strategy from confessional to hortatory. All of them insist, however, that it is still possible to address other citizens as citizens. This is what the title means by “Dear America,” however the salutation is adapted. Citizens are writing to others about the state of the republic and the cracks in citizenship itself.”
– Anthony Lioi, ISLE