Author Archive

Making (and Breaking) a Poem

Author: | Categories: Writing No comments
One of the hardest things to learn about writing poems is how to break lines—where to enjamb or full-stop, where to leave sentences dangling into surprise, where to make one thing appear like it will be another.

What Is the Heart of a Poem?

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The first word or two of a poem is such a small thing, one word out of many, but in a poem every single word can hold the weight of the entire piece.

Do Readers Dream of Electric Futures?

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Why has Philip K. Dick, author of the novella Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, continued to be read through the decades? Why has he continued to be a touchstone—with his stories and novels consistently being turned into films?

The Facts of Life: Poems and Real Deaths

Author: | Categories: Poetry, Reading No comments
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?

Wishes Gone Wrong: A Woman’s “Place” in Fairy Tales

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“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?

Tiny Stories: On Flash Fiction and Vignettes

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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 Who Open Doors: Bluebeard and Horror

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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.

Monsters and Men: Empathy in Victor LaValle’s Ballad of Black Tom

Author: | Categories: Fiction, Reading No comments
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’s Left?: Poetry after disaster

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What do we do after something terrible happens? Is there any way to find hope in a world gone dark?

Seven spooky stories to try before bedtime

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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.