“Beyond economic deaths, educational deaths, overdose deaths, Appalachia carries a kind of pastoral death: the cratered hillside replaced with slurry ponds and refineries; a discarded refrigerator in a flooded creek.” Nic Lawrence summons her West Virginian childhood while finding duende in Harmony Korine’s 2009 film, Trash Humpers.
“Duende is more than a fleeting moment of sadness. It’s an aesthetic. A projected acceptable sadness. A stepsister of nostalgia.” Paul Asta takes a kaleidoscopic view of Duende, via Elliott Smith, mental illness, and fast food.
“And a writer’s moment of struggle with duende is not something that can be boxed in and kept, however much one longs to keep it. The struggle is always new, always fresh.” Beside her own piercing memories, Lana Spendl illuminates duende within Ozren Kebo’s memoir of the Bosnian War.
A mouth, open to its widest, prepares for ancestral possession. August Evans considers duende as a potent force in Kendrick Lamar’s “The Blacker the Berry.”