The Shifting Language of Violence

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It is more or less the recognition of the less-than-subtle hint that the violence ensued upon each other cycles back onto the faulting, failing, incriminating treatment of our one true home.

The Problem with Writing Autism as Problem

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To try to capture the zeitgeist of autism in America right now is to sip water from a fire hose. It can’t be done. The diagnosis is as contentious as it is, increasingly, commonplace, claimed as everything from epidemic to evolution. I’ve spent a lot of time looking at

Character Through the Portraits of Alice Neel

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Almost everything I know about character development, I learned by studying the portraits of Alice Neel, who painted portraits in the mid-20th century at a time when the art world considered portrait painting nearly irrelevant.


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Scratch, a collection of interviews and essays from writers spanning the gamut of genre, commercial success, race, gender, and class, boasts pieces from Alexander Chee, Roxane Gay, Yiyun Li, Porochista Khakpour, and Jonathan Franzen. Topics range from the gritty details of checks and debts to a philosophical pondering of

The Readers: Carmen Maria Machado and Following Your Idols

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The Readers is a blog series that aims to profile the work of some contemporary literary critics writing in English. This series will feature that body of work, exploring the interplay between each critic’s voice and larger cultural contexts in the process.

The Limits and Freedoms of Literary Regionalism: Silence and the Self in Joan Didion’s Southern California Memoir

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“Quiet Days in Malibu” is the first piece of literary non-fiction I’ve covered in this series. This choice is intentional. The personal essay as a form is easily overlooked in the pantheon of literature in part, I think, because of its sobriety.

Chris Pratt, Blue-Collar Poetry, and the Relatability Problem

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As Chris Pratt got dragged across the internet, I thought about poet friends who have told me they don’t see their own “average, blue-collar” stories reflected in what gets published. For many reasons, this is hard for me to believe.

Netflix’s ANNE Bridges the Divide Between Us and Our Childhood Dreams

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The ways in which Anne, the mercurial, earnest girl at the center of the story lived, learned, grew, and blundered her way through life resonated with me, a perennial outsider and dreamer, wounded by things that, like Anne’s cruel treatment at the hands of the Hammonds and the orphanage

“Listening to my friends is one of my favorite ways to write”: An Interview with Durga Chew-Bose

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"I found it touching and also rare to read about awe. It made me want to write because so much of my experiences, the ones I remember at least, involve appreciation. Or maybe I just confuse seeing with appreciating?"

Round-Up: Amazon, Bill O’Reilly, and the Wheel of Time

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From a new Amazon Books location to Sony's Wheel of Time adaptation, here's the latest literary news.