Authors Archive

“The poems toggle between wreckages”: An Interview with Kerrin McCadden

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Kerrin McCadden’s poems illuminate life’s sharp-edged particulars, making the touchstones of this physical world resonate with the meditative music of our everyday existence. She’s the author of Landscape with Plywood Silhouettes, winner of the 2015 Vermont Book Award and the 2013 New Issues Poetry Prize, as well as the

Writ in Water: Interview with Chris McCormick and “Desert Boys”

This month, I chat with author Chris McCormick, whose terrific debut of linked stories, Desert Boys, follows main character Daley “Kush” Kushner and his friends Robert Karinger and Dan Watts. The book is largely set in the growing desert suburbia of the Antelope Valley, 70-odd miles north of Los

Obama the Ellisonian: Another Reading of the President’s Worldview

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Early in the speech that Barack Obama gave last year to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” standing in front of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Alabama, the president asked, “What can be more American than what happened in this place?” That line deserved more attention than it

When Women Writers Become Nightmares

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When we go to inspect female-presenting writers, the canon is too familiar: Emily Dickinson, Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen. There’s no purpose in arguing this. What’s more interesting is uncovering forgotten women writers—women who wrote poetry with T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound in life, or produced movies with Alfred Hitchcock.

Interview with Grace Shuyi Liew, author of Prop

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  Grace Shuyi Liew is the author of the chapbook Prop (Ahsahta Press, 2016) and Book of Interludes (Anomalous Press, 2016). Her work has appeared in cream city review, PANK, Bone Bouquet, West Branch, and other journals. She is a contributing editor for Waxwing and an alum of Aspen

Writ in Water: Son of Salinas

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  Last month, I mentioned John Steinbeck’s famous declaration about the forgetfulness of his beloved Salinas Valley in matters of water and drought. He is fortunate that the valley has not forgotten him. The National Steinbeck Center commands one end of Main Street in downtown Salinas, and a walk

Words of War: Poetry and Trauma

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“All a poet can do today is warn,” Wilfred Owen wrote during World War I. If one view of poetry holds it up as something filled with beauty or romance, the truth is that poetry found its first place more in images of violence and war—think of The Odyssey,

“Ghosts Usually Accompany Me through My Poems”: An Interview with Diane Seuss

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Words just seem to have more possibilities in the poems of Diane Seuss. They become more flexible, more magnetic, attracting and accumulating meaning and music in a speedy rush to surprise, a hard-won clarity about what it’s like to be here, be human. Diane is the author of three

Writ in Water: The Wet Years

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I live near a cemetery in the Berkeley hills that has turned green from the rain. I do most of my jogging in the cemetery, and it reminds me—especially going uphill—that our time here is fleeting. I run among the dead, and I run among the deer and turkeys

The Queen of the Night and Alejo Carpentier’s French Accent

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In the first chapter of Alexander Chee’s long-awaited new novel The Queen of the Night, the opera-singer protagonist surprises party-goers at a Paris ball by bursting into an aria from Gounod’s Faust. The scene has a scandalous, erotic backstory (too complicated to recount here, but it involves two brothers