An interview with the poet Carolyn Forché, author of “What You Have Heard is True”

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The poet Carolyn Forché’s engagement with El Salvador stretches back to the late 1970s. In the 1980s, she toured extensively in the United States, reciting poetry and raising awareness about the role that the U.S. government was playing in the country’s civil war. Her now legendary poem “The Colonel” describes a harrowing dinner with a Salvadoran military officer. More recently, she wrote a memoir of her political education during those years, which takes its title from the first line of that poem: What You Have Heard Is True. I interviewed Carolyn about her old work, her new memoir, and her new poetry for Dissent.

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