By Kabir Sehgal
Formats and Prices
This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around August 29, 2017. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.
Home is a collection of thirty-four poems and twelve songs inspired by a diverse group of immigrants who have made significant contributions to the United States. From Yo-Yo Ma to Audrey Hepburn, Albert Einstein to Celia Cruz, these poems symbolize the many roads that lead to America, and which we expect will continue to converge to build the highways to our future.
This unique collaboration takes the form of a keepsake book, with a CD of beautiful original music tucked inside. An audiobook edition in which Deepak Chopra reads the poems is also available, as a digital download. This hardcover book (with accompanying music CD) and digital-only audiobook will be available simultaneously.
Offering a welcoming feeling intended to inform our cultural conversation and enhance our national dialogue, HOME has twelve accompanying musical pieces that serve as personal meditations on the essence of home, in which you can reflect upon where you feel most welcome, whether a place or state of mind.
|1||HOME||Inspired by Raghbir Sehgal|
|2||BORDER||Inspired by Reyna Grande|
|3||SURVIVOR||Inspired by William Jimeno|
|4||QUEEN||Inspired by Celia Cruz|
|5||RIVER||Inspired by Audrey Hepburn|
|6||WHISPER||Inspired by Yo-Yo Ma|
|7||COMPASS||Inspired by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie|
|8||CANDLE||Inspired by Kahlil Gibran|
|9||FATHER||Inspired by Krishan Chopra|
|10||ORBIT||Inspired by Kalpana Chawla|
|11||BEYOND||Inspired by Alfred Korzybski|
|12||INFINITY||Inspired by Albert Einstein|
We wrote these poems to celebrate and honor immigrants. After all, the United States is a country composed of and built by immigrants, and it has been a beacon to those in search of a new life for hundreds of years. It's engraved on a plaque inside the pedestal's lower level at the Statue of Liberty:
"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!"
Now, in 2017, more than in recent memory, that lamp is shining less brightly than it used to, and the door is closing. Too many of our friends and family members feel like strangers in their own homeland. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 13 percent of America's population, or forty million people, are foreign born, and 25 percent of children under the age of eighteen living in families have at least one parent who was born in another country. Immigrants enrich our country with a vast range of skills, talents, ideas, viewpoints, and perspectives. Their cultural and cognitive diversity helps our country move forward with innovations in almost every sector, from medicine and technology to commerce and the arts. Immigrants are a vital source of energy, infusing our nation with an assiduous and relentless work ethic that keeps the United States competitive in the global marketplace.
For these reasons, spurning immigrants and shunning those who are different from us is a troublesome and dangerous development in our beloved country. To be sure, we support keeping America safe and secure and we believe in respecting fair laws, but the tenor of our cultural conversation has turned inhospitable and even hostile toward immigrants. Building a wall isn't just a physical act. It's also a mental and even metaphorical one in which Americans may close themselves off from interacting with those who are different, contrary to the motto of our country e pluribus unum, out of many, one, which has come to beautifully describe our melting pot nature. That some people may feel uninvited, unwanted, and unwelcome in their home just because they speak a different language, have diverse cultural or religious practices, or because they were born outside our borders betrays the founding principles of our nation, which afford us freedom of speech and belief. While Home doesn't advocate for a specific policy proposal, it advances a resounding message: to keep our hearts and minds open. It's our hope that by reading these poems and listening to the accompanying songs, you will be reminded of the value of immigrants and the importance of making our friends, family members, neighbors, and fellow citizens feel welcome and at home.
We chose the title Home: Where Everyone Is Welcome for this very reason. Quite naturally, most people identify home with a place, whether it's a one-room apartment in a concrete edifice in Red Hook, Brooklyn, or a rustic Victorian in Readlyn, Iowa. Home is the place where you live, separate from the outside world, where you can refresh, recharge, and rejuvenate. Just as a medicine cabinet may offer insight into your health or a shelf of books might reveal your level of education, a home can act as a window into your aesthetics, sensibilities, and even values and principles. It follows that if we think of home as a city, state, and country, we want them to reflect who we are as well. We must then ask ourselves what sort of place we want home to be.
At the same time, home isn't just a physical location. It's a sense of safety and security. It's a feeling of comfort and ease, familiarity and intimacy. Home is where you belong, where you are at liberty to think your thoughts, express yourself, and be yourself. You get this sense of belonging in your own dwelling, but you can also feel it when you're with dear friends, loving family, and genial neighbors. In this way, home may be less a product of your physical whereabouts than a state of being and creation of consciousness, activated by memory and the emotional centers of your brain. If you're at home in your thoughts and have peace of mind, you're in a better position to radiate warmth, friendship, generosity, and empathy to others. By being at home, we help others feel at home.
Indeed, home isn't just a feeling we get: it's also a feeling we give. As Americans, we must relearn this lesson, because immigration is not only the topic du jour but also the topic of almost every generation. The scourge of intolerance has been faced by many: Native Americans, African Americans, German Americans, Irish Americans, Italian Americans, Chinese Americans, Japanese Americans, Mexican Americans, Muslim Americans, and so on. Such discrimination has been institutionalized: the Constitution prevented African Americans from gaining citizenship until the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in 1868, and prevented women from exercising their right to vote until the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified in 1920. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 prohibited Chinese people from becoming citizens; the Immigration Act of 1917 established a literacy test and banned all immigrants who came from Asia; the Emergency Quota Act of 1921 favored immigrants from northern European countries; and Executive Order 13769 and Executive Order 13780, issued in 2017 but stymied by the courts, reduced the number of refugees who can enter the United States, imposed a travel ban on immigrants from certain countries, and if upheld, may establish a precedent for preventing those from an entire religion from entering. Undeniably, these measures stoke anxiety and xenophobia, which create a cycle of doubt and distrust among Americans. This is America at its worst.
Immigration is deeply personal to us: Deepak is an immigrant, and Kabir is the son of immigrants. Our music collaborator, Paul Avgerinos, is also the son of an immigrant. Many guest musicians on the album are immigrants and first-generation Americans as well. You could say that Home was made by people who love America: immigrants and their children.
- On Sale
- Aug 29, 2017
- Page Count
- 88 pages
- Grand Central Publishing