Toward Camden

Toward Camden

Black Outdoors: Innovations in the Poetics of Study

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Book Pages: 136 Illustrations: 1 illustration Published: October 2021

Author: Mercy Romero

American Studies, Chicanx and Latinx Studies, Literature and Literary Studies > Creative Nonfiction

In Toward Camden, Mercy Romero writes about the relationships that make and sustain the largely African American and Puerto Rican Cramer Hill neighborhood in New Jersey where she grew up. She walks the city and writes outdoors to think about the collapse and transformation of property. She revisits lost and empty houses—her family's house, the Walt Whitman House, and the landscape of a vacant lot. Throughout, Romero engages with the aesthetics of fragment and ruin; her writing juts against idioms of redevelopment. She resists narratives of the city that are inextricable from crime and decline and witnesses everyday lives lived at the intersection of spatial and Puerto Rican diasporic memory. Toward Camden travels between what official reports say and what the city's vacant lots withhold.


“Mercy Romero’s Toward Camden is a profoundly moving and necessary meditation on Camden, a city marked by abandonment, dispossession, and resistance. In weaving familial narratives with the lives and deaths in and of Camden, Romero opens possibilities for us to consider the cultural geographies of a city and a people attending to survival. A tender, haunting, and critical work, Toward Camden has implications for our considerations of home, capitalism, gentrification, loss, and love.” — Yomaira C. Figueroa-Vásquez, author of Decolonizing Diasporas: Radical Mappings of Afro-Atlantic Literature


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Mercy Romero is Associate Professor of American Literature and American studies at Sonoma State University.

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Table of Contents Forthcoming
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Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-1470-6 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-1378-5