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1. Fiction: The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen (2017) 

Favorite Sentence: "I meant that I was sorry for all that had happened, not only to her but also to my mother, the accumulation of everything I could do nothing about."

—Picked by Tina Al-khersan (Pathways Fellow with Equal Rights Beyond Borders on the Aegean Islands, Class of 2022) 

2. Poetry: Home by Warsan Shire (2015) 

Favorite Sentence: "No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark"

—Picked by Emilia Truluck (Worked with LGBTQ refugees and asylum-seekers in both Jordan and the UK, Class of 2022)  

3. Essay: Again and Again, Literature Provides an Outlet for the Upended Lives of Refugees by Dwight Gardner (2022)

Favorite Sentence: "I am not here to suggest that reading necessarily makes us better, more moral. The Nazis liked Dostoyevsky, too."

—Picked by Hannah Dodson (Worked at the Ritsona Refugee Camp in Greece, Class of 2022)  


Michigan Sentences: Here is an article Professor James Hathaway published in the International Journal of Refugee Law in 2018. Professor Hathaway directs the Program in Refugee and Asylum Law at the University of Michigan Law School.
Syllabus Sentences: Here is a poem one of the students in a "Poetry and Parks" course I taught in the fall of 2022 added to the course's co-produced syllabus. (It's the poem that Emma Lazarus wrote in 1883 to raise money for the construction of the Statue of Liberty. The most famous lines are in red.) 

"The New Colossus"

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Book Recommendations:
  • For good sentences about refugees by a former reporter at Human Rights Watch
  • For good sentences about refugees by a novelist
  • For good sentences about refugees by a writer whose non-profit tutoring organization 826michigan has an office here in Ann Arbor, Michigan
Nuance Spotlight: Isabel Allende

Here are some of our past Notes on Nuance moves from Isabel Allende, whose 2020 novel A Long Petal of the Sea tells the story of a ship the poet Pablo Neruda chartered in 1939 to help over 2,000 Spanish refugees flee the rule of General Francisco Franco. 

"More ____Than" (March 2020)
"The apartment comprised two good-size rooms, a balcony, a half bath, and a tiny kitchenette set into a closet. It was more studio than apartment, and the family called it 'the witch's cave,' since aside from the bed, the bathroom, and the kitchen, every inch of space was taken up by art and aromatherapy equipment."

—Isabel Allende, Ripper (2013)

"As" (January 2019)
"They dragged her into an underpass, laughing and mocking, while she fought back with a fury as concentrated as it was futile."

—Isabel Allende, Maya's Notebook (2013)

"Un-" (December 2018)
"He worked untiredly."

—Isabel Allende, Island Beneath the Sea (2009) 

Additional Resources
Online Courses

Good with Words: Speaking and Presenting
Good with Words: Writing and Editing

Good with Words: Speaking and Presenting
Good with Words: Writing and Editing  
Notes on Nuance                                                    
The Syntax of Sports: Class 1 
The Syntax of Sports: Class 2 The Syntax of Sports: Class 3  The Syntax of Sports: Class 4 (New Release)
Word of the Year
Refugee is Children's Word of the Year (BBC, 2016)

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