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Carolyn Forché was an acclaimed twenty-seven year old poet in 1977 when a stranger persuaded her to travel to El Salvador, a country on the brink of war. What she saw there, recounted in her recent memoir, What You Have Heard is True, changed her life and caused her to question everything she thought she knew about American foreign policy. Many of the dynamics and dilemmas she so vividly portrays have re-emerged in Central America and U.S. immigration policy. 

Karen DeYoung was a correspondent in El Salvador at the same time. She will moderate a discussion with Forché, and discuss how this history colors the present crisis in Central America. 

Carolyn Forché 

Carolyn Forché is an American poet, translator, and memoirist. Her books of poetry are Blue Hour, The Angel of History, The Country Between Us, and Gathering the Tribes. Her memoir, What You Have Heard is True, was published by Penguin Press in 2019. In 2013, Forché received the Academy of American Poets Fellowship given for distinguished poetic achievement. In 2017, she became one of the first two poets to receive the Windham-Campbell Prize. She is a University Professor at Georgetown University. She lives in Maryland with her husband, photographer Harry Mattison.

Karen DeYoung

Karen DeYoung is associate editor and senior national security correspondent for the Washington Post. In more than three decades at the paper, she has served as bureau chief in Latin America and London and as correspondent covering the White House, U.S. foreign policy, and the intelligence community. She has been assistant managing editor for national news, national editor and foreign editor. She has won numerous awards for national and international reporting and is the author of Soldier, a biography of Colin Powell.