Lately, I keep running across poems in collections and in literary journals that use facts or trivia as part of, and sometimes the heart of, their piece. What place does the language of fact, of historical tidbits and pop culture trivia have within the language of poetry?
“I wish” is a foolish phrase in fairy tales. It even has its own Aarne-Thompson tale type (750A), aptly called “Foolish Wishes.” It’s easy to see why wishing pops up in stories (and movies and television), but why are wishes so often foolish?
Flash fiction is normally defined as anywhere from five hundred to one thousand words. Within that relatively small range of words lies a huge gamut of what a flash fiction piece can entail. But is it possible for a writer to convey an entire story arc?
Women in stories often get punished. In fairy tales, it’s often for greed or pettiness or vanity or a slew of other reasons. But the heroines of fairy tales also get punished.
What forces turn someone who is, for the most part, fundamentally good into something possibly evil? This question lies at the heart of much horror. In his novella The Ballad of Black Tom, reimagining characters from the weird fiction universe of HP Lovecraft, Victor LaValle answers that question.
What do we do after something terrible happens? Is there any way to find hope in a world gone dark?
What scares you? is a personal question, I’ve always thought. Fear is a universal emotion, a rhetorical choice in arguments that we can all connect to, and we all find connections to the fears that most everyone shares: isolation, the unknown, death. However, it is also extremely individual.
In the dark, being told stories carries weight. There’s a power there, for some stories, that doesn’t seem to exist during the day. When I was a child, my family would take daytrips in the car and when we drove home it would be night. My mom would turn
“The orders were given from Stalin’s country house at Kunstevo” begins Nathan’s Englander’s perfect short story “The Twenty-seventh Man.” In it, Englander uses a combination of the horror of history and the beauty of fable to tell a story about the power of story itself.
"You pass through a world so thick with phantoms there is hardly room for anything else" reads a line in Steven Millhauser's short story "Phantoms." The story uses a communal voice and direct statements to the reader to engage us with its ideas.