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As a child, Apricot Irving grew up in a sparsely populated desert near Idyllwild, California. When she was six years old her father took a job as an agriculture missionary in Haiti. Suddenly she was surrounded by people everywhere. She says, “You wake up in the morning and people want to shake your hand and ask you how you slept and how your family’s doing. It’s a very animated, interpersonal existence. I instinctively responded to that energy - there was so much to discover. There were lizards on the walls which would puff up their throats. There were incredible rainstorms and you’d see people holding giant banana leaves over their heads. The Kamyon bus horn’s bugle calls would erupt down the street as they thundered past.” Irving describes a critique that some Haitians have of the U.S. culture, “I’ve spoken with people in Haiti who explain, somewhat gently, that they’ve lived in the U.S. and they’ve chosen to come back to Haiti because what they saw in the U.S. was that we were busy all the time. They said, ‘You’re always in your vehicles, there are no people out on the street. You don’t have time. Never in my life would I want to live in such a place.’ I think that’s a valid critique.” (hosted by Justine Willis Toms)
Apricot Irving currently lives in the woods outside Portland Oregon, but has also lived in Haiti, Indonesia, and the United Kingdom. She returned to Haiti in the spring of 2010 to cover the earthquake for the radio program This American Life. She’s a recipient of the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award and an Oregon Literary Fellowship. Her renowned oral history project, BoiseVoices.com, is a collaboration between youth and elders to record the stories of the neighborhood in the midst of gentrification.
Apricot Irving is the author of:
To learn more about the work of Apricot Irving go to www.apricotirving.com.
Host: Justine Willis Toms Interview Date: 3/29/2018 Program Number: 3641
From Album: Journey BetweenArtist: Baka BeyondRykodisc #HNCD 1415
Opening Essay: Track 04 KontiMusic Break 1: Track 05 KotuMusic Break 2: Track 06 Land’s EndMusic Break 3: Track 07 Soiridh Leis
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