having decided to put together a book display to accompany the peace quilt in our department, i searched the on-line catalogue using the term “quilt” first, then “peace,” then “community.” as usual, when a search hit lands you in the non-fiction stacks, you are bound to discover that the neighbors of the book your search found will swirl you into a whole mode of consciousness. (bless you, mr. dewey, and your decimalcation.)
looking for books that would fit a peace quilt display begged questions: what is “peace” all about, really? can a book of poetry about america suggest peace? what about the story of civil rights struggles, or those of immigrant families, or folk tales from far away countries? what makes people think of peace — not the word, i mean, but the feeling? what makes people feel opened by the vastness of the world, by the diversity of its inhabitants, rather than overwhelmed by it?
great questions; difficult to answer. accompanying the knowledge that this stack of books which will make my display is not the “right” collection of books for the display was the realization that whatever books, of the hundreds of possibilities, i chose will represent merely a place to begin, as much for myself as its currator, as for those who will view it & perhaps ask themselves “what binds these books together?”
i hope that, in asking the question, the beginning of an answer, and not any one answer, opens in every viewer’s mind – and that the search for peace continues.
[Purusing the books for the display before setting them up…
From “My America, A Poetry Atlas of the United States”
“Good weather for hay.”
“Mighty bright day.”
“Crops comin’ on?”
“Tol’rable; beans got the blight.”
“Way o’ the Lord.”