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May 23, 1993|CHARLES SOLOMON

DAILY FARE: Essays from the Multicultural Experience edited by Kathleen Aguero (University of Georgia Press: $14.95; 233 pp., paperback original). These personal essays about growing up in the U. S. were written by people whose race, religion, sexual orientation or language set them apart from the smugly wholesome visions often presented as the "real" America. Kiana Davenport, of Hawaiian-Dutch ancestry, explains the feelings that caused her to begin writing during a disorienting stay in New York City: "I was lost and extremely lonely and writing seemed to approximate the actions of someone jiggling a key in a lock, which would open a door that led me out of my condition." The authors reflect on childhood encounters with racial prejudice and ethnic pride; on their rejection by their co-workers and relatives; on the loss of traditional culture and the need to redefine community. Japanese-American poet Lonny Kaneko sounds an eloquent call for mutual understanding: "If there is a next step in the evolutionary spiral through this new society, it is this: that we raise our children not to be invisible members of the broad society but to be visible and visionary."

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