Author Archive

Process and Place: An Interview With Jessie Chaffee

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I attended Jessie Chaffee’s reading at DC’s Politics & Prose, where she read from her debut novel Florence in Ecstasy (Unnamed Press, May 2017). Afterward we decided to extend our conversation about her process and the role of place in her work into an interview.

Structure and Storytelling in the Space-Age Ballet

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Last weekend, I attended The Washington Ballet’s final event of the season, “Tudor, Ashton, World Premiere” at the Kennedy Center. The World Premiere—Kent’s first commission for The Washington Ballet—was timed with the Kennedy Center’s celebration of John F. Kennedy’s centennial.

Writing as Activism: An Interview With Jay Baron Nicorvo

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I first heard Jay Baron Nicorvo give a reading in the summer of 2009. Last month, Jay’s debut novel The Standard Grand released from St. Martin’s Press. I had the chance to chat with Jay about his work and its intersection with this moment in American history.

What women really want when women want imperialism: Kushner and Rushdie on Queen Isabella

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In November, after failing to allow a woman to steer our ship of state, watching Netflix’s The Crown seemed punishing. After Hillary Clinton’s close loss, I didn’t know if I could handle watching a woman preside over the United Kingdom. But I capitulated and found myself watching a young Elizabeth

“There’s only one subject. That’s the trouble”: DeLillo and Saunders in 2017

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The first paragraph I wrote after reading Saunders’s essay felt exhausting. Every sentence felt vague and hollow. But good: a feeling akin to my physical therapist standing beside me, correcting the form on my squats. Painful but good when I got it right.

“Unapologetic Black Muslim Sudanese American”: An Interview with Safia Elhillo

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In January, Safia Elhillo's debut collection, The January Children, brought her poems to my doorstep, and many others, as it became Amazon's top new release in African Poetry. I had the chance to chat with Elhillo about her collection and to discuss what it means to be a writer

Alt-weeklies, Prose Poems, Heroes: An Interview With Brandon Soderberg

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2017 came, and I was in the market for words to live by. I needed a mantra to get me through the month of January. Miraculously, I found them four days into the new year: “We’re all special once we get to know each other.” I found these words in

E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Nutcracker in 2016

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Recently I joke tweeted “What The Nutcracker’s Battle With the Rat King Taught Us About Trump Resistance,” as if I were writing that piece. I’m not. Last week, I traveled to Boston to watch my sister perform in her nineteenth year of Nutcracker, and the next day we sat

Baltimore School Students Write in Protest and Celebration

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Writers in Baltimore Schools, the creative writing organization I run for Baltimore youth, has developed a protocol for mobilizing safe spaces for writing after trauma. We were unfortunately ready when Donald Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States. On Thursday, fifteen of us gathered to write

Dancing With Text

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Juliet. Aurora. Desdemona. Julie Kent has portrayed them all, bringing texts to life during a 30 year performing career as one of America’s premier ballerinas. Last year, Kent retired from her position as Principal Dancer with American Ballet Theatre and has since taken the helm at The Washington Ballet.