Personal Essays Archive

Green London

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Typically, people come to London to experience the best of a culture as it manifests itself in its great museums, libraries, and performance venues. London’s green spaces, however, present an allure equally powerful.

In Search of Collateral Beauty: Counting Spells in the NICU

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My left leg is still numb from the epidural, so my husband pushes me in a wheelchair to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. I’m wearing an oversized hospital gown and a pair of blue, anti-slip socks. It’s sometime in the evening, but I don’t know exactly when; time has

The End of Love is a Thing of Ugly Brilliance

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A bus ride is not the ideal place to fall out of love. But years ago, I was on a bus somewhere between Entebbe and Kampala with two dozen women from across the world when I began to turn my life of partnered bliss on its head.

Visiting Haworth

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From childhood, the Brontë siblings held each other’s intellects in high esteem and together made a web—a story-catcher—out of their own disparate interests, their ideas acting as warp and woof, their mutual love and respect a catalyst for their later works.

Garden Journal of a Death Foretold

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The garden is a riot. Tiger lilies stifling the mailbox, butterflies on pink milkweed blooms, pansies in baskets. Standing on the front porch drenched in this splendor, I welcome the celebration and fear the powerful spirits that bring such life. What is most alive is also very close to

Reading Edna O’Brien

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In 1976, I sat in a Dublin bookshop, taken hostage by Caithleen, her Dada who drank and hadn’t come home, and her poor Mama off on a fateful row in the lake. In the Country Girls trilogy, Edna O’Brien’s boisterous prose grabs and never lets go.

Parenthood Fear in Orange World and Other Stories and Small Animals

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I love my son in a way that is so deep and fierce to be fundamentally at odds with the assumption that I’d be careless with him. I would breastfeed the devil, appease the wolf. But I know that even if I do, I am powerless against so much.

David Grossman’s Ode to a Lost Child

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From the moment children are conceived, we become acutely aware of the fact that they could also die.

Reading bill bissett

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bill bissett’s 1971 collection is about the narrator’s experiences with escapism.

Language of the Diaspora

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Although none of the characters in Isabella Hammad’s new novel are diasporic themselves, her intricate use of Arabic instills the mixed language of diaspora with a fresh purpose.