What Community Means to Clint Smith

From a Wall Street Journal Magazine feature on what community means to people:

Clint Smith

“I work with folks serving life sentences, teaching writing and literature. Even though I am ostensibly the teacher, I am going into an intellectual community that has already been created and is going to exist whether or not I’m there. I’m curious about their lives as people. I’m curious about how their lives are in conversation with the texts we read.

“We read [Tim O’Brien’s] The Things They Carried. People open up in ways they might not otherwise have—sharing their own experiences with PTSD or parallels between prison and war. Prison is a place where you have to tread carefully. You might not demonstrate vulnerability. Part of what I try to do is create a space where what we read might open someone up to share something about themselves they might not have otherwise.”

Clint Smith is a writer. His book, How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning With the History of Slavery Across America, is out June 1.

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