Authors Archive

Naming as Paying Attention

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Names can be hard for the tongue to wrap its head around. I say this with the conviction of my full being as a male, a poet, a twin, and a slight stutterer. (Of course I stutter. My brother and I lived our early lives assuming that the world,

Literary Enemies: Cormac McCarthy vs. Philip Roth

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Disclaimer: These two writers are not actually enemies. As far as I know. In 2003, Harold Bloom wrote in the Boston Globe that there were only four great American novelists alive and working: Don DeLillo, Cormac McCarthy, Thomas Pynchon, and Philip Roth. I don’t agree. I think there were

Round-Down: Literature To-Go

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Restaurant chain Chipotle just announced plans to add to their recent “Cultivating Thought” series, including such writers as Jeffrey Eugenides, Amy Tan, and Neil Gaiman. The project’s promise is simple: great, short writing by these and other talented names–offered on burrito bags and soda cups. The prodigiously talented Jonathan

Ten writers to watch for. No, seriously, watch the hell out for these writers.

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There are writers to watch for, and then there are writers to watch out for. A sampling of the latter, for your safety: 10) Jack Hogue is a great guy, but if you listen to him for more than five minutes, you’ll believe the publishing world, if not the

Borne Back Ceaselessly into the Past: Visiting Authors’ Graves

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I’ve always liked cemeteries. Not in a morbid or macabre way. I’m not really a graver, a tombstone tender, stone stroller, death hag, or taphophile, I just like the quiet peace of cemeteries, those simple records of lives that came before. My daughter has spent much of her childhood

“Bringing the Poem Back to the Actual”: An Interview with David J. Daniels

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David J. Daniels writes poems that sneak up on you. Smart and worldly, emotional and funny, they convey a sense of life-as-it’s-lived: culture both high and low, our strivings and failings, the countless ways we let each other down and hold each other up. Because of the immediacy of

“It’s All About the Panic”: An Interview with Mary Biddinger

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Mary Biddinger’s poems are poignant, playful, a little mysterious, in love with language, and full of surprising connections: between music and meaning, between memory and imagination, between nostalgia and a yearning for what’s next. I’ve read and admired her poems since we were in the same undergraduate workshops at

Iguala, Ayotzinapa, and Why Carolyn Forché is More Relevant Than Ever

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I went to Mexico City to write about it. But also to read a lot too. To slough off the rust of my own ignorance about this country my family came from. You can never read enough. Such is the shame of academia. But the beauty of being young

The Saving Thing

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Mark Twain called humor “the great thing, the saving thing,” and indeed I have yet to meet the person who doesn’t like to laugh. Why, then, aren’t a greater number of humorous stories published in literary journals? Why don’t more humorous books—or films, for that matter—win prizes? “In the