The Best Essay I Read This Month: “Who Are All These Trump Supporters?” by George Saunders

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It’s easy—reflexive, even—to be snarky and closed off to genuine emotion when writing about this election season, which is why it’s nice to read a piece rooted in genuine concern and the desire to understand people, especially people whose beliefs seem to us impossibly far removed from our own.

Writ in Water: Retraining the Distance Vision

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There’s a passage in Donna Tartt’s celebrated The Goldfinch, almost a third of the way in, where our protagonist Theo Decker first touches down in Las Vegas. He is arriving for the first time in the West, and Tartt and her literary eye are too.

3 Chapbook Reviews: Beauties of the Web

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While publishing online can mean that a text is more easily widely circulated, the dedication that goes into presenting a chapbook online often goes unsung. For July, I read three e-chapbooks, and each of them had stunningly beautiful covers and design that enhanced the reading experience.

When (And Why) A Poem Goes Viral

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Poets don’t expect to be famous. We may fantasize about it of course—what if Terrance Hayes were to appear on Jimmy Fallon or Ada Limón had her own reality show? What if NBC televised the Poetry Society of America award ceremonies?

Emily Dickinson’s Drift Between a Living Hell and Hellish Heaven

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Emily Dickinson is known for her rumination on the anxiety surrounding death, and particularly the pain that accompanies mourning. But her poetry demonstrates a comparable mistrust of eternal life, rendering the idea of a paradisiacal afterlife as emotionally fraught as the idea of oblivion.

Post-Presidency Obama Should Take the Road Less Travelled

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Some time in the next few years President Obama will write a book that looks back on his presidency. The book will be much anticipated, it will sell many copies, presidential scholars will critique it and Beltway pundits will argue about it.

Old Stories, New Ballets

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In recent years, the narrative ballet has reemerged, and with it, stories both forgotten and classic have appeared on the stage. Choreographers have drawn from Russian novels, Shakespeare, and modernism itself.

Readers in Exile: The Elsewheres of Andre Aciman

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André Aciman, novelist, essayist, and professor, has produced a body of work obsessed by exile. It’s no wonder; Aciman grew up a Sephardic Jew in Alexandria for the first 14 years of his life. Following Israel’s invasion of Egypt the family was forced to leave for Italy.

Round-Up: THE BELL JAR’s New Cinematic Adaptation, a Reading at Oscar Wilde’s Prison, and PEN America’s New Awards

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From a new film adaption of The Bell Jar to a massive reading in honor of Oscar Wilde, here are this week's biggest literary stories.

Reconstructions: An Interview with Soraya Peerbaye

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I first met Toronto poet Soraya Peerbaye at the beginning of 2003, when she participated in a series of workshops I was conducting at Collected Works Bookstore in Ottawa. Since then, her poems have appeared in Red Silk: An Anthology of South Asian Women Poets.