American literature, and the voices and languages it encompasses, expands as the United States becomes home to an ever-greater number of ethnic minorities. Hamod (Sam)[1] and Lisa Suhair Majaj are (among others) bringing Arab-American voices to literature. Dying with the Wrong Name, a poem by Hamod (Sam), is dedicated to "all the immigrants who lost their names at Ellis Island." The poem reclaims their original names:

Na'aim Jazeeny, Sine Hussein, Im'a Brahim, Hussein Hamode Subh', all lost when "A man in a

dark blue suit at Ellis Island says, with

tiredness and authority, 'You only need two

names in America' and suddenly - as cleanly

as the air, you've lost

your name."[2]

in our reading this week, Betty Brown suggests to Asian Americans that they should change their names. But what's in a name? For example, Heather Dorsey and Molly Collins are both good Irish names. Well, not Heather actually. That's a Scottish word for wild flower. Heather Dorsey and Molly Collins are both 100% Irish American. Molly is the irish name for Mary. Collins is shared by Irish rebel leader Michael Collins, considered both hero and traitor. Both of these names represent a history of immigration, sacrifice and fortitude. Irish Americans have kept a strong emotional and political connection with Ireland. What's your name about? What are the origins of your name? Who chose it? Did your family have to change their name as they immigrated? Would you be willing to change your name, as Betty Brown suggests, to make it easier for someone else to pronounce and keep track of? Share your thoughts about what's in a name, and tell us something that will help us know about your name!

This blog is a place for us to communicate about the work we are doing and the connections we are making in PSTL 1366 and 1461. We are most interested in your thoughts and comments about the ideas of effective communication or appreciation of difference. We want you to make connections in personal reflection, links to music, art, poems, short stories. Your postings can take the form of short videos, audio, writing. You should ask a question to inspire participation.