To Write a Page in Someone’s Shoes: On Translation and the Experience of Empathy

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I translate something almost every day. Five or six days a week, you can find me in the process of drafting, editing, or proofreading a translation, clicking back and forth between the original and my translation, comparing and contrasting, choosing to either bring my version closer or veer farther

Frontload the Strangeness: On Mark Slouka’s “Dog”

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It seems that every book I’ve read recently has a talking animal in it. A new favorite is Max Porter’s novel, which begins with a protagonist opening the door to find a life-sized crow on his doorstep. The bird picks the man up, cradles him in his wings.

The 2016 Presidential Election Was Predicted by a 1970’s Absurdist Novel

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A middle-aged white man steps onto the political stage in a fancy, expensive suit. He makes speeches that are simple and direct, low on facts but high on rousing rhetoric. He touts an inanimate object as the savior of the economy and a metaphor for the American way of

Writing Trauma: Notes of Transcendence, #2–The Book as Companion

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Examining painful truths, I left behind the stories. I developed an aversion to reading. When I picked up a book, it was as if my brain closed a door, shutting out my engagement with the written word. How could I, a writer and an English professor, no longer have

Review: INHERITED DISORDERS: STORIES, PARABLES, & PROBLEMS by Adam Ehrlich Sachs

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The shorts are wide-ranging. Some are heartbreaking in less than 500 words; others are unexpectedly hilarious whether outright or with a darker flavor to their humor. Disorders is a contemporary stable of parables not only about fathers and sons, but about the everyday struggle to live one’s life in

3 Chapbook Reviews: Own Your Past, Believe The Present, Anticipate the Future

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For August, I read three chapbooks that dealt with ideas of past, present, and future in both overlapping and contrasting ways. They also each somehow dealt with ideas of spaces that became place for the writers, though sometimes these places were more about time than physical geography, hence why

The Best Essay I Read This Month: “Atlas Aggregated” by Walter Kirn

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LitHub recently introduced a feature called “Book Marks,” which it describes as “‘Rotten Tomatoes’ for books.” Under the Book Marks grading system, a novel could receive an ‘A’ (Totally Positive), or a ‘B’ (Mostly Positive), or so on and so forth. This obviously raises some questions.

The Inaugural Poem under a Trump Presidency: An Adynaton

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If Mr. Trump were to win the November election, all sorts of interesting questions arise: Would he ask someone to write and read an inaugural poem? Would the writer have to get the poem cleared by Trump? Most interesting of all, though: would the poet accept the invitation?

Writ in Water: Millimeters to the End of the World

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How do you write about the end of the world? Or avoiding the apocalypse? The drying up of our water or our adaptation to living with less? How do you imagine—and make real—global superstorms and cities swallowed by the sea and the hottest summers on record?

On Music and Story

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I had a professor in college who maintained that writers write about artists in other disciplines—painters, musicians, sculptors, etc.—when they want to write about writers without actually writing about writers. There’s probably something to this.