Sybil Baker

Sybil Baker

Sybil Baker is the author of IMMIGRATION ESSAYS (C&R Press, 2017), The Life Plan , TALISMANS (C&R Press, 2010), and Into This World . She is a UC Foundation Associate Professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and teaches at the Yale Writer’s Conference. She has received two Make Work Artist Grants and an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Tennessee Arts Commission. She is Fiction Editor at Drunken Boat.

Articles contributed by this author
Sybil Baker


Author of Immigration Essays, Into this World, Talismansand The Life Plan

7/1/16  Philosophy, Politics and the Role of the Artist, Part I

In 2005, as part of my graduation requirement for my low residency MFA program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, I gave a craft lecture titled “In Defense of Telling: How to Put Ideas in Your Short Fiction,” which eventually was published in early 2008 as an essay at Segue Journal’s Writers on Writing, which can be read here:  In that essay I discuss how classic American short story writers such as James Baldwin, Flannery O’Connor, and John Cheever integrated their world views into their short stories. That essay begins:

I really began thinking about the “vision thing” after the 2004 American elections. During that time, with so many of my fellow writers and teachers in despair over the direction our country was headed, I recalled a passage from one of my favorite short stories, “This Morning, This Evening, So Soon.” In the story, a French film director is in a bar talking to a group of young African Americans who are traveling around Europe. He tells them his opinion about the United States: “I cannot help saying that I think it is a scandal—and we all may pay very dearly for it—that a civilized nation should elect to represent itself a man who is so simple that he thinks the world is simple.” (Continue reading)