NOTES ON THE STATE OF VIRGINIA: Journey to the Center of an American Document, Query XIV

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We’ve reached the section of Notes I dread the most. It’s also the query I’ve spent more time contemplating than any other. Here, at the center of the book, he makes his infamous case for slavery in his time.

Writing Trauma: Notes of Transcendence

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Writers have the privilege—and power—of putting words to experience: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Review: GRUNT: THE CURIOUS SCIENCE OF HUMANS AT WAR by Mary Roach

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Those in the business of National Security classify diarrhea as a clear and present danger. It’s particularly hazardous for members of the U.S. Special forces, because diarrhea is an enemy from within that can attack without warning. I know this because I’ve read Mary Roach’s GRUNT: THE CURIOUS SCIENCE

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.