A Freshman’s Take on the Dialogue with Jennifer Clement

Last night’s dialogue was a new experience for me: as a freshman I had yet to understand what exactly it means to be part of a network of students and alumni. Having read and fawned over Prayers for the Stolen, meeting Jennifer Clement and learning about her writing process was enlightening and almost surreal. It was the first time I could discuss with an author the questions and speculations I had gathered while reading their work.

Something I had noted in Prayers was the poetic element in the story’s narration. Clement discussed the poetic voice and its significance beyond aesthetics. Utilizing imagery language to appeal to the senses is an important tool in developing an intimate relationship between the reader and the character.

Because of her success in creating almost tangible figures out of her story, Clement’s novel has developed a life beyond the bookshelf. Clement relayed her experiences in presenting the novel as both a work of literature and as a form of social protest; human rights organizations have taken interest in her work as a way of exposing the injustice and corruption created by the drug cartels in Mexico. This is groundbreaking because it exemplifies the role of art and literature in social and political realms.

The dialogue was my first encounter with NYU’s vast network of scholars and artists; I was able to meet an influential author and learn from her the dynamic role of literature in both art and politics. I look forward to the coming events and meeting more figures who can share how to utilize interests and skills to create impact in society.

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