Author Archive

Patience and Courage: Finding the Balance between Teaching and Writing

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I can count the days: seventy-seven. This is a very long time to go without writing a single sentence that has nothing to do with confirming a meeting over email, reminding my husband via text message to add chocolate-covered pretzels to our grocery list, or scribbling on a pink

Interview With Poet Cathy Linh Che

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Cathy Linh Che is the author of Split (Alice James, 2014), the winner of the 2012 Kundiman Poetry Prize. She received her MFA from New York University and is the recipient of fellowships from The Fine Arts Work Center at Provincetown, Hedgebrook, and Poets House. She currently teaches at

Interview with Chad Simpson, Author of Tell Everyone I said Hi

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Chad Simpson was raised in Monmouth, Illinois, and Logansport, Indiana. His work has appeared in McSweeney’s Quarterly, Esquire, American Short Fiction, The Sun, and many other print and online publications. He is the recipient of a fellowship in prose from the Illinois Arts Council and scholarships from the Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers’

I Don’t Stand Alone: Poets Orlando White and Sherwin Bitsui on the Importance of Mentors

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  Whether it’s in the acknowledgment section of their books or in daily prayers of gratitude, many writers thank mentors for helping to shape their paths as artists. In the interview below, authors Sherwin Bitsui and Orlando White graciously open the window to their friendship and writing. How did

An Interview With Aurora Anaya-Cerda, Founder of La Casa Azul Bookstore

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In an age where bookstores are closing, independent bookseller and former middle-school teacher Aurora Anaya-Cerda opened the doors of La Casa Azul Bookstore, in East Harlem, last June. I first heard about La Casa Azul through some of my online communities including Letras Latinas, VONA, and a small group

Myths About Lit Mags — With Becky Tuch, Founding Editor of The Review Review

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This week, I asked Becky Tuch to respond to some common misconceptions about literary magazines. Here are her responses. 1. No one reads them. Literary magazines may not have a mainstream audience. But they do have a very specific and enthusiastic audience. Their readers are poets, lovers of the

Telling the Fairytale: Explaining Hedgebrook to My Four-Year-Old Nephew

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Growing up, I never knew it was possible to be a writer. No one in my family ever talked about reading books, never mind writing them. It wasn’t until September of my senior year in high school that I discovered that Barnes and Noble was a bookstore and not

Bridging the Generation Gap: Grub Street Teens Visit Ploughshares

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This past summer, during Grub Street’s Young Adult Writers Teen Fellowship (, one of my students wrote a ghazal that left me speechless with awe and envy. She is fifteen. Most days during the three-week program, she wore flannel shirts, jean shorts, and black Gladiator sandals. Her shoulder-length brown

How Much of Your Salary Would You Spend on a Book?

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Last year my husband, Adam Stumacher, and I moved to Guatemala so we could work on our novels. That was the plan. Our first week there, he worked diligently, often using Freedom on his computer so he could stay focused on his daily word count goal. Me? Not so

To italicize or not to italicize? Authors speak up on the use of ‘foreign’ words in prose (Part II)

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Sometimes when writing, I hover the cursor over the I symbol in the Microsoft Word toolbox for several seconds as I grapple with whether or not to italicize a word or a phrase in Spanish. It is in such moments that I am faced with broader questions about my