sheila black

I was a Foreign Service brat, which is like being an army brat only a bit
more glamorous (though the diplomatic life as I experienced it was nowhere
near as glamorous as in the movies).  I have to say this deeply affected my
sense of place—because we were always moving.  We were also always
foreigners—often-hated Americans, rich Westerners in what are often called
dismissively, unfairly, “third world countries.” Place, therefore, become
for me bound up with a complex sense of being an outsider—privileged,
immune, behind glass.  I passionately loved all the places I grew up at the
time and later scolded myself for how little I knew them, really.  That is
still how I feel about place, which is, perhaps, why I have gravitated
toward poetry—poetry, which always at once takes a stance of total intimacy
and of defamiliarization—place, in my poetry being all I simultaneously
“know” and “do not know,” love and cannot hold, the house of mysteries.