William T. Vollmann
Poor People
May 06, 2019 Comments.. 422
Poor People because i was bad in my last lifecause allah has willed itcause the rich do nothing for the poorcause the poor do nothing for themselvescause it is my destiny These are just some of the answers to the

  • Title: Poor People
  • Author: William T. Vollmann
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 116
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • because i was bad in my last lifecause allah has willed itcause the rich do nothing for the poorcause the poor do nothing for themselvescause it is my destiny.These are just some of the answers to the simple yet groundbreaking question William T Vollmann asks in cities and villages around the globe Why are you poor In the tradition of James Agee s Let Us Nbecause i was bad in my last lifecause allah has willed itcause the rich do nothing for the poorcause the poor do nothing for themselvescause it is my destiny.These are just some of the answers to the simple yet groundbreaking question William T Vollmann asks in cities and villages around the globe Why are you poor In the tradition of James Agee s Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, Vollmann s Poor People struggles to confront poverty in all its hopelessness and brutality, its pride and abject fear, its fierce misery and its quiet resignation Poor People allows the poor to speak for themselves, explaining the causes and consequences of their impoverishment in their own cultural, social, and religious terms.There is the alcoholic mother in Buddhist Thailand, sure that her poverty is punishment for transgressions in a former life, and her ten year old daughter, whose faith in her own innocence gives her hope that her sin in the last life was simply being rich There is the Siberian born beggar who pins her woes on a tick bite and a Gypsy curse than a half century ago, and the homeless, widowed Afghan women who have been relegated to a respected but damning invisibility There are Big and Little Mountain, two Japanese salarymen who lost their jobs suddenly and now live in a blue tarp hut under a Kyoto bridge And, most haunting of all, there is the faded, starving beggar girl, staring empty eyed on the back steps of Bangkok s Central Railroad Station, whose only response to Vollmann s query is simply, I think I am rich The result of Vollmann s fearless journey is a look at poverty unlike any other Complete with than 100 powerfully affecting photographs taken of the interviewees by the author himself this series of vignettes and searing insights represents a tremendous step toward an understanding of this age old social ill With intense compassion and a scrupulously unpatronizing eye, Vollmann invites his readers to recognize in our fellow human beings their full dignity, fallibility, pride, and pain, and the power of their hard fought resilience.

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      Posted by:William T. Vollmann
      Published :2019-05-06T18:46:30+00:00

    1 Blog on “Poor People

    1. Geoff says:

      Why are some people rich and other people poor?Do you consider yourself poor? Why are you poor?Do the rich have any obligation to the poor?These are a few of the questions Vollmann asked of an array of people he encountered or sought out around the world. All of the people he asked would be considered “poor” by any standard.The god-like culture-creators at the New York Times said of this book “for all its ostensible daring and exploration, this is a book full of foregone conclusions. Strip [...]

    2. Jonathan says:

      WTV asks questions that need to be asked, in a manner that inspires and provokes, but without the arrogance to pretend to provide any answers. There is a recognition of his failures, of the impossibility of a "fix", of the chasm between his experience of "the poor" and their experience of themselves, that makes the whole work infinitely more powerful than your standard reportage or essay on poverty. His photographs are frequently stunning, though they are very poor quality in the paperback. An i [...]

    3. Ian "Marvin" Graye says:

      Every Homeless Man a Hipster('s Dream) which, typically, the author travels the world in search of vindication of his desk-bound preconceptions.Come On, Feel the MitseinNothing needs to be done about poor people (or the underpaid and unpaid), because, when confronted by a Cornell graduate (majors in comparative literature and desk-bound world travel), they're philosophical about their fate.Here's the traveller in his own revealing words:"what had I done? I threw a little money and some attention [...]

    4. Edward says:

      IntroductionIncome TableDictionary--Poor PeopleSourcesAcknowledgmentsPhotographs

    5. Nathan "N.R." Gaddis says:

      “Why are some people rich and other people poor?” -- Mr. Vollmann"Daddy, how does a person get to be like that man?" -- Ms. DiceThe two questions are quite close. Why is it that.? How does it come about that.? Yet the positions of the questioners and respondents are not parallel. Ms. Dice is in a position of disturbed curiosity ; Daddy, very likely, is in a position of perplexity. Does he know? But neither is involved directly in this question about a third person. Mr. Vollmann asks his ques [...]

    6. Jimmy says:

      Who's intellectually well-equipped enough to define poverty? The answer is; no one. Who should we consult when this question begs at all of us, even the most reasonable? Maybe William T. Vollmann? Maybe base curiosity is the best sensibility to have when asking this question? So many questions arise. The symptoms, according to Vollmann, seem to be invisibility, deformity, "unwantedness", dependence, accident-prone-ness, pain, numbness, estrangement, and amortization. And how poetically defined t [...]

    7. Sosen says:

      It's possible that William T. Vollmann enjoys writing more than any person on earth. He also loves journalism; however, he claims to be a terrible journalist. If this is true, then I say journalism is a joke! Vollmann brings more passion to his subjects than anybody writing non-fiction today. He doesn't portray people in an "objective" light, or even try; he shows people the way HE sees them--and he makes this clear without feeling the need to constantly remind us of it. An important (and admira [...]

    8. Ben Gran says:

      I didn't even finish this one. Fascinating premise (author travels the developing world, interviewing impoverished people and asking them, "why are you poor?"), but the writing was dense and overdone. Lots of navel-gazing, lots of focus on the writer's own internal monologue and personal journey; I would have preferred a more straightforward journalistic approach. The story should have been about the poor people, not about the writer's sophisticated liberal-arts-degree reactions to the poor peop [...]

    9. Jessica says:

      So, is it me or does this author rub anyone else the wrong way. At best he comes off as a pretentious hipster at worst a condescending jerk. I really found his writing style insufferable. Probably the best example I can cite is when he is describing a subject he is interviewing. The style is third person narrative, then smack dab in the middle of this he breaks the fourth wall so to speak and says of the subject "I took a picture for you". I get that in his mind he's thinking it's a great litera [...]

    10. Cody says:

      The problem that I have with so-called or self-identified Social Justice Warriors is that they have an agenda—nominally, to right the wrongs of society as they perceive them. It’s not that I’m against equality for all, obviously, it’s that I, by default, have a problem with agendas. Agendas compel people to seek out x in order to facilitate y coming to pass. Applied to the sphere of social justice, what I see all too often is a lack of contextual understanding on the part of the would-be [...]

    11. =====D says:

      As W. Vollmann travels the world to meet poor people, his interest never strays far from how he felt about this or that. It becomes quickly obvious that the "poor people" who are the supposed subject of this book are nothing more than a vehicle for the author to examine his aching conscience/consciousness. I was sick of this guy by the middle of the introduction, but kept trudging through hoping for who knows what. Aside from some mildly interesting travel-writing kind of exoticism, nothing rede [...]

    12. Ellie says:

      This is a fascinating read. William T. Vollmann travelled around the world asking people in poverty why they thought they were poor. The answer? Poor People. Impossible to summarize as the answers are as numerous & personal as human beings themselves are. The answers seem shaped by location and culture, though, as well as by individual personality. Some answers? Karma, fate, political oppression, God's love/hate, personal failure, societal failuree lists go on.And along the way, Vollman tell [...]

    13. James says:

      Rambling, unfocused, disorganized, cynical at times and narcissistic, Vollmann seems more interested in putting himself between the reader and the ‘poor person’ being interviewed. Shallow and fragmented, I was expecting something more along a Studs Terkel treatment; this was Stud Terrible.

    14. Chazzbot says:

      One's opinion of this book will depend a great deal on how much credit one is willing to grant to Vollmann's intent and his occasionally distracting style of conversational writing. This is not a journalistic essay (Vollmann states this early on), nor a policy piece, though there are elements of both here. Vollmann often diverges into contemplation of his own role as a comparatively rich man in a world overwhelmed with nameless, faceless poor. Vollmann's book goes some way toward assigning faces [...]

    15. Dennis says:

      What better way to pontificate on both poverty at the global level and the individual level than travel the world talking to poor people and asking them why they are poor? Vollmann indeed does exactly that.Poor People is an easily readable book. For those of you seeking anecdotes from poor people, this book is for you.

    16. mandy says:

      While not the sociological inquiry that more rigorous (read: academic) minds might require to be satisfied, I appreciate Vollman's reflections and noodlings on the concept of poverty. He is aware that he is open to accusations of 21st-century Levi-Strauss-ism, which in my opinion excuses a multitude of sins.Vollman's greatest asset is his approach. He uses a four-way mirror to "show" the poor people across the globe. This mirror is comprised of: Vollman's first-person reflections; his reportage [...]

    17. Ashley says:

      I was so interested in the premise of this book - a worldwide exploration of why people are poor. The poverty Vollman relates is shocking, but I was continually distracted by the writer as the narrator. It was ok towards the beginning if a little haphazard, but towards the end I felt like he just crashed and burned. Ultimately, what I remember about this book is the author's continual reflections on himself, the drug use (I thought this book was about poor people?), and some random half-told sto [...]

    18. فطومه says:

      يتناول الكاتب الفقر ويجول بلدان العالم ويقابل الفقراء ليسألهم لماذا أنتم فقراء ؟ماأسباب الفقر؟وهل للاغنياء ذنب لوجود الفقراء ذكر فيه الكاتب قصص كثير من الفقراء الذين قابلهم ويتساءل ما إذا كان هناك فقر نسبي وفقر ذاتي وهناك فقير ولكن هناك من هو افقر منه وهناك من هو فقير ولكنه [...]

    19. Natali says:

      This is a hard book to read. It is like stopping yourself as you step over a homeless person and taking the time to get to know him/her. Why are they there? What do they think of their plight? Why are some people more fortunate than others? William T. Vollmann traveled the world and talked to the most desolate people. He tells their stories in this book. It is not an easy world to travel inside of. I've never read an ethnography like this. Vollmann is not restrained by the formula of academic wr [...]

    20. Jengordon says:

      A little dated, and something of a disappointment in the way that it focuses on the poor of other countries, where they are very easily "othered." That said, Vollmann writes an eye-opening/mind-opening log of encounters with, well, poor people. In doing so, he creates an extended meditation on what wealth is, and what it means, and the troubles that poverty brings. One of his striking observations is that poor people --and indeed, all of us who are chasing the buck-- are "amortizing" our own bod [...]

    21. Lesley says:

      Vollman writes like a poet. He says things well-mannered people don't say--but they do think: Poor people are always sick, they're clumsy, they have bad luck, they make bad decisions, they don't smell good, they live in disgusting hovels. He removes the veil of liberal guilt that censors these thoughts and makes you look at them. If you've ever had those reaction you need to think about them again.Vollman doesn't offer answers, or even necessarily insights. He simply observes. He observes the po [...]

    22. Connor says:

      Vollmann is surely one of the sharpest, most well-read people I've ever come across. He balances Montaigne, Aristotle, and Adam Smith while interviewing prostitutes, homeless people, and vagrants, all of whom he could consider his friends.His ability to contextualize/juxtapose the lives of these people not only against his own life but of the life of the implied reader is amazing. That kind of self-awareness can be cripplingly awkard (looking at you dfw) but Vollmann has such a sincerity in his [...]

    23. Thom says:

      Ths is Vollmann's own travelogue series of interviews with poor people all over the globe. I began reading this in August with a view toward the November 2008 election and it just reduces me to tears sometimes because the kinds of suffering offered here are so unbelievably balanced by the gratitude that some of the poor feel that they still have so MUCH!. We are talking destitute here. ON the other hand, when I see the kinds of injustice inflicted on these people by most of the rest of us by imp [...]

    24. Dalya says:

      جميل نوعا ما \الكتاب يفاجئك بحجم الفقر الهائل في هذا العالم وعبارة عن تنقل الكاتب بين عدد من الدول والمناطق الفقيرة من بلدان عربية وأجنبية ورصد للشخصيات والمقابلات وهُناك والملامح والتصرفات والأسباب والروائح النتنة والعالم من المهمل من هذا العالم وحين يغدو الشخص بلا أهمية [...]

    25. David M says:

      (I did enjoy this book, but I think Vollmann's strengths as a novelist and journalist - his naive willingness to listen to other people no matter what they say - fail him as an essayist. To ask 'Why are some people poor?' is an inherently political question; it involves broader issues of history and justice. If from the outset you're determined to forego any systematic analysis, well, the answers you get are going to be pretty limited. Which is part of why I have no real interest in reading Risi [...]

    26. Éllã Dwãl says:

      هذا الكتاب خارج نطاق التقييم فلا يصح أن يقيم بـ 5 أو ست أو سبع نجوم فهو كتاب عظيم بالمعنى الحرفي للكلمة كتاب يحمل رؤية صادقة و عميقة لمشاكل الغالبية العظمى من سكان العالم ألا و هم الفقراء . حين أرى الفقر يحيط بي من كل مكان أذهب اليه اشعر بخواء كل الكلام و النظريات التي يدرسونها [...]

    27. Jason says:

      This was an excellent and eye-opening picture of poverty throughout the world. I hesitate to say that I enjoyed the book, taking the subject matter into account, but it was very enlightening and I am glad that I read it. The distinctions between different levels of poverty that we Americans just think of as "dirt-poor" or the lowest of the low was very interesting to me. Vollmann does not shy away from things that might be considered unethical or illegal, since those in poverty often must resort [...]

    28. Betty O says:

      This is why I read Naked Economics. I feel that I have the luxury of placing value judgements on situations that I do not like without fully understanding how things got to be they way that they are. Fascinating interviews. Telling that things still are this way in so very many places. So much corruption, so little empathy.

    29. Luc says:

      Moving, powerful reports from all around the world.

    30. Libby says:

      Invisibility, deformity, unwantedness, dependence, accident prone-Ness, pain, numbness estrangement

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