Author Archive

Ander Monson’s Essaying

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Monson’s newest collection, out tomorrow, continues his exploration of essays and essaying, scrutinizing the “I”; playing with prose and white space on the page; and examining the nature of memory—all while suffusing his observations with the cultural elements he examines in earlier collections.

The Narrative of Breast Cancer

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Anne Boyer joins others, like Susan Sontag, Nina Riggs, Audre Lorde, and Kathy Acker, who push against and question the breast cancer narrative conventions.

Reading Know My Name and Things We Didn’t Talk About When I Was a Girl

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New memoirs by Chanel Miller and Jeannie Vanasco are about their rapes, but also about what it means to move through this world in a woman’s body. What has happened to Miller’s body and to Vanasco’s body connects them with millions of women globally and across time.

The Landscape of Memory

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For most of us, memory supplies meaning and connection to our past selves, our place of origin, a greater world. Memory gives us meaning.

The Power of Reading

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For Ocean Vuong, Jesmyn Ward, and Jaquira Diaz, reading and writing became necessities early on when their classrooms, families, and streets confined them, left them feeling othered and uncertain of their identities.

Bipolar Disorder and the Pills that Keep Us Alive

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For bipolar disorder, the most tried and true treatment—the most effective one—doesn’t come from a lab; it comes from stardust. It’s an element on the periodic table, atomic number 3.

“I no longer think the driving force of books is to tell everyone that everything will get better”: An Interview with Sarah Rose Etter

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Etter joins a legacy of women writers who depict the horror of women’s experiences.

Language and Trauma in On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

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Little Dog, the narrator of Ocean Vuong’s debut novel, learns to be strategic in his use of language as a means of self-preservation.

Donald Hall, Sharon Olds, and Dani Shapiro on Marriage

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I stumbled across Donald Hall’s “The Third Thing,” an essay on his marriage to fellow poet Jane Kenyon, before my wedding. Hall’s measured tone and rich details came in sharp contrast to all of the bridal materials I was bombarded with, and brought marriage back to life for me.

Jane Alison and Ander Monson on Narrative Form

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The arc can only take narrative so far before it crashes, particularly when it comes to personal writing.