Friday, September 30, 2022
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Francisco Cantu Shares Stories of Border Patrol while Karima Walker Explores Deep Listening
Karima Walker released the album “Waking the Dreaming Body,” in 2021.
Sunday, September 18, 2022


Learn what it’s like to be a member of the Border Patrol, tracking other human beings under blistering sun and through frigid nights.

Then, meet a musician who uses songwriting, field recording, video, and installation to explore such things as ecological restoration and the mythology of the West.

Both programs will be offered this week at Ketchum’s Community Library, courtesy of the newest writers-in-residence at the Ernest and Mary Hemingway House.

Francisco Cantu coordinates the Field Studies in Writing Program at the University of Arizona, a residency that fosters work intersecting border justice and environmental issues.

  • Francisco Cantu, author of “The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border,” will tell of his experience with the Border Patrol along the United States/Mexican border, at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20.

    Cantu, who lives in Tucson, was raised in the scrublands of the Southwest by a mother who was a park ranger and daughter of a Mexican immigrant. To understand the realities of the landscape he loved, he joined the Border Patrol and soon found himself hauling in the dead and delivering the living to detention.

    When an immigrant friend traveled to Mexico to visit his dying mother and did not return, Cantu discovered the border had migrated with him. He also came to know the extent of the violence it wreaks on both sides of the line.

    Cantu’s book won the 2018 Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in nonfiction. A former Fulbright fellow, he also has won a Pushcart Prize, a Whiting Award and an Art for Justice fellowship

    Cantu will be joined in his presentation by Alejandra Hernandez, director of Unity Alliance of Southern Idaho, a Twin Falls-based nonprofit that promotes understanding of immigrants’ contributions to the region’s eonomy, workforce and communities. Joining both of them will be Luis Campos, an attorney with The Alliance of Idaho, a Hailey-based nonprofit working to protect the human rights of immigrants and their families.

    "Ever since we first read Cantú's book, we have been eager for him to visit our community," said Martha Williams, the Library's programs and education director and the overseer of the Hemingway Writer-In-Residence program. "His extraordinary writing brings us into the darkness and harsh beauty of the border's landscape.

    Williams added that Cantu moves back and forth between describing the inhumane treatment of migrants, whom readers come to know by name and face and story, and reporting on the policies that dictate and guide these actions.

    “All the while, he mediates on the hope, and hopelessness, of understanding himself in relation to this harsh place and system,” she added.

    Cantu’s conversation with Library Director Jenny Emery Davidson will be livestreamed on the Library’s Vimeo and recorded for later viewing at Those who wish to attend in person are encouraged to RSVP at


  • Karima Walker, who also lives in Tucson has collaborated with artists in dance, sculpture, film and creative non-fiction. She tours nationally and internationally and her work has been featured on NPR and TV.

She will offer a Deep Listening Workshop from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22 at the Library’s Lecture Hall. No registration is required.

Deep Listening is a meditative and musical compositional practice developed by the late contemporary composer Pauline Oliveros. It utilizes listening, moving and dreaming to expand one’s awareness of the environment and one’s own inner world.

Participants should come with a yoga mat or blanket. The group may also spend time outdoors, weather permitting.

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