Sanctuary in Ruins

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The house is often used as a symbol of security in literature, and a ruined home can speak to what a given writer thinks we need protection from. Both the threats to security, and the emotional impact of a literary ruin shift with the writer and her cultural moment.

The Tent Moment

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Certain writers—often those writers who are said to “transcend their genre”—combine action-filled plots with complex character development. How do they stop the action in, say, a zombie apocalypse, so that the characters can become intimate and so the reader can grow to care about their inner lives?

Trump Sky Alpha by Mark Doten

Mark Doten’s novel opens with the fictional Trump making a bad decision. All over the world, the internet has gone down. When it comes back up, for reasons no one quite understands, he uses the nuclear codes.

The Trauma of the Everyday

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Books by Kevin Brockmeier—focusing on the horror of surviving seventh grade—and Buddhist psychotherapist Mark Epstein dissect the trauma of everyday life.

Poetry of the Silver Screen

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Poetry’s bread and butter is the interior; it goes where movies want to go, but can’t, by the nature of the form. So when a poem wants to respond to a film, how does it make use of this tension, and alchemize it into art?

Poetic Archives as Ethnic Studies: An Interview with Dr. Craig Santos Perez

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I found within Perez’s poetry a dexterous remixing of the settler colonial archive, a deeply lyrical autobiographical sensibility, and a sustained commitment to the decolonization of literature, history, his native Guam, and other mappings.

Women in Myths

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In such ancient stories as The Odyssey, women, who are often archetypes and who typically exist in the margins, are enlivened when their stories are told by contemporary writers, freeing them from their limited roles

Reading Winter

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In poems by Margaret Atwood, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Robert Frost, we get a sense of the claustrophobia of winter without being overpowered by it.

“What It Means To Be Cuban in the Island”: An Interview with Dariel Suarez

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Suarez opens his 2018 short story collection with a dive into the bizarre nature of Cuba: “Stealing the giraffe wasn’t the problem. Transporting it from the city to the countryside-even at two a.m. on a Wednesday night with a few bribed cops clearing the path-that was another story.”

The Book of Delights: Essays by Ross Gay

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Ross Gay’s new essay collection restores pleasure as a site of serious thought and, even more, as a mode in inquiry in itself, while his wholesome (but never saccharine) voice convinces us that a mode of inquiry, a way of thinking, too, can be pleasure itself.