* Mary Camille Beckman *
Leslie Jamison’s debut collection of essays, The Empathy Exams, released April 1st from Graywolf Press, and reviewed here.
by Claire Skinner
For each essay, I would set myself up as though I were allowed to make a collage using last Wednesday’s newspaper, a 1996 issue of Art Forum, and the notes I took while on layover at the Minneapolis/St Paul airport. And the reason for each particular assemblage was not random: there was always some hunch that I was trying to articulate in the gathering. Race, place and art are ongoing themes. So for example, in one essay, the video of Ana Mendieta killing a chicken helps me begin to untangle what it felt like to travel in South Africa. Or, in another essay, I talk about the way that three filmmakers approach the experience of time in their films as I reminisce about living in Paris for a summer with my father.