Rodriguez wrote about his early experiences in Catholic school and his assimilation to America in his first book, , further explore issues of culture, race, and identity.
We turn to song, wherein the music of human voice renders words of secondary importance.
SL: Your writing about your early experiences with language, and the concepts of private and public languages, reminds me of how it is for me in synagogue.
That is the process I want to describe in my prose. SL: Hunger of Memory has passages in which you vividly describe your memories of how the mumbled, undecipherable sounds of English slowly gained meaning. There remains in us a nostalgia for the time in our lives when words were sounds.
It is astounding to be able to, within those pages, witness your acquisition of language. RR: I think the movement of sound to word is the great journey of our thinking lives. So we turn to poetry often to remind us of how words often sound more than they mean.
I was in graduate school, preparing to become a teacher of English—probably at the college level—when I found myself the uneasy beneficiary of affirmative action.
Ultimately, I left the university (and abandoned my teaching plans) in protest against affirmative action.
This attempt to blur the line between the literary and the non-fictional is what interests me now, and frees my hand.
SL: RR: I suppose “surprise” enters the writing process for me when I revise and revise and revise. In each case, the possibilities for my prose depend on remembering my audience.
Can one write about illegal immigration as a (literary) writer?
Can the religious conflicts in the world be rendered poetically?