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After writing 'Squeezed,' about the economy, Alissa Quart reads poetry

Photo by Ann Fox
Published Jul. 18, 2018

Alissa Quart

You might find brand-new information in Quart's book, Squeezed; however, you might also find she is providing a simple answer to your question: No, you are not crazy. Even with your college degree and full-time job, it is extremely difficult, and might feel downright impossible, to survive in middle-class America. In Squeezed, Quart, the executive director of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project (a nonprofit organization founded by author Barbara Ehrenreich), uses a mountain of statistics and interviews as well as a little bit of personal experience to analyze "middle precariats,'' those 21st century college-educated professionals pushed out of traditional middle-class life, unable to afford housing, education, health care and even kids.

What's on your nightstand?

Kudos by Rachel Cusk, part of her triology; My Favorite Thing Is Monsters by Emil Ferris; and How to Dance as the Roof Caves In by Nick Lantz. I also have other poetry, too: Amity and Prosperity by Eliza Griswold and Heartland by Sarah Smarsh. I'm taking them all on vacation. I'm writing now on poetry and the economy. There is a set of emotions around money and new technology and advertising and that sort of thing, and there is this kind of changing, transforming way we go through the world happening. The lyrical eye, the perspective of poetry, can get to something like this when other forms of writing can't.

Piper Castillo,
Times staff writere_SFrB

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