Author Archive

On Being A Writer With A Super Common Name or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Google

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My name is Daniel Peña, I’m a writer, and there are other Daniel Peñas messin’ up my Google results. It’s annoying and I’m against it. To ground us, let me tell you who they are: One Daniel Peña is an incredible twelve year old boy who showed me up

“Are Mexican-American Writers Obligated To Write About Donald Trump?” A Brown Dude Explains

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I’ve written exactly one thing on Donald Trump. One piece felt like enough at the time—Got him!—though as a Mexican-American writer, I find myself wondering how many ways one could/should write about the phenomenon that is the rise of Trump and contemporary populist American bigotry. I’ve wondered too is

Octavia Butler’s Notebook Represents All The Anxieties Of Writers Of Color

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  On its blog last week, the Huntington Library released previously unseen photographs of some of the late Octavia Butler’s papers, which the library catalogued after Butler’s untimely death nearly ten years ago. Included in the collection are some of Butler’s early science fiction stories, contracts, drafts, and notebooks,

The Humanities Are Not In Crisis: Two Writers Whose Pens Shape the Arab World

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I just got back from MLA 2016, the annual Modern Language Association conference in which every year (every city) you’ll hear a variation of this same question at least five times a day: Are the humanities still relevant? That is, of course, the general anxiety that underwrites so many

Deliberate Accidents of Discovery: The Trouble With Finding New Latina/o Writers

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In an exercise of radical honesty I’ll share this with you: I almost always find great new Latina/o writing by accident. I think part of this is my pell-mell strategy of finding new books (at literary events, on coffee tables, etc.) though part of it can be attributed to

The Paris Attacks And The Shared Humanity Of Central American Poetry

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I always get my hair cut when I’m in Mexico City. I have weird hair and a barber who knows how to cut it. He’s the kind of barber that slick-slacks his scissors between snips, between syllables too so that when he talks—about sports, cars, the news, anything—his speech

Far Beyond the Pale in 1970’s Missouri: A Tiny Interview With Daren Dean

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Daren Dean’s novel, Far Beyond the Pale, explores masculinity, religion, and delinquency in a coming of age story set in rural 1970’s Missouri. The novel follows Honeyboy who has moved back to Kingdom County, Missouri along with his mother following a stint in California. They return, in part, to leave

A White Man Used An Asian Woman’s Name To Publish A Poem. Does That Change The Poem? Yes: A Brown Man Explains

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By now you’ve probably read about the 2015 Best American Poetry scandal. For the uninitiated, the story goes like this: the anthology comes out with a contributor note by the editor, Sherman Alexie, which states that one of the poets included in the anthology, Yi-Fen Chou, is actually the

The Economic Crisis and Survival of Greek Letters Part 2: Growing Up

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Like most good things in my life, I stumbled upon Yiorgos Chouliaras’ poem, “Grow Up,” by accident. It came to me like one of the great gifts from the literary Gods—in an e-mail no less. I read it, I loved it, I printed it out and taped it to

The Economic Crisis and Survival of Greek Letters Part 1: A Tiny Interview with Evangelia Avloniti of the Ersilia Literary Agency

  This interview is part 1 of a 2 part series on contemporary Greek letters and the economic crisis.  Literature survives. Always has, always will. Modern Greek letters alone have seen the rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire, two world wars, followed by the Greek civil war in the