A Tapestry of Narratives: Conversations through Poetry

Mary Jean Chan


Watching the Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie’s TED talk, “The Danger of a Single Story,” was a powerful reminder for Chan that ideas about what constitutes a “good” society can only emerge from the tapestry of narratives that we weave every day of our lives. Chan loves poet Adrienne Rich’s quote “If from time to time … / I long … / for return to the concrete and everlasting world / what in fact I keep choosing / are these words, these whispers, conversations / from which time after time the truth breaks moist and green.” Genuine discourse and dialogue may seem like very simple things, albeit often yielding more questions than answers, but Chan believes them to be crucial pieces in furthering our daily attempt at building a better society.

A political science honors major and English literature minor from Hong Kong, Mary Jean Chan is passionate about heterodox economics, the intersection between politics and poetry, and other forms of literary expression. She was selected through the TEDxSwarthmore Student Challenge to join the speaker lineup as a student representative of Swarthmore College.