a box of longing with fifty drawers
Author: Jen Benka
Publisher: Soft Skull Press (2005)
Benka takes us on a re-imagining that cuts through the psychic landscape of America and explores the United States as a "a box of longing with fifty drawers." Like Whitman, Langston Hughes, and Allen Ginsberg before her, she expresses a profound regard for the possibility of America, while delineating the many ways in which America fails to deliver on its promise. She delves not so much into the growing cynicism of Americans as to the deep bewilderment and sadness of us. She asks the deepening question of what is happening to core values such as economic justice, civil rights, a humane foreign policy, freedom and a decent life for everyone—and below that, what is happening to the individual psyches within a nation that has lost faith in itself.