Category Archives: Reading

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The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Birthright” by Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson

I believed in ghosts as a kid. Since then, I’ve wondered why I wasn’t ever fascinated by the lore of other supernatural creatures. I think it’s in large part because ghosts—unlike angels, demons, vampires, or werewolves—didn’t seem to have such … Continue reading

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What Is It About the Literature of War?

Up until that short story workshop I took my junior year of college, my TBR pile was made up of a bizarre mix of Stephen King, Barbara Kingsolver, and Bill Bryson. Then my professor passed around photocopied packets containing stories by Lorrie Moore, Grace … Continue reading

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Lit GIFs: Romeo and Juliet

The Montagues and the Capulets don’t like each other very much. Romeo and his cousin crash a Capulet party anyway, looking for girls. Romeo’s on the rebound when he meets Juliet. The party was supposed to give 14-year-old Juliet the … Continue reading

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The New Generation of Gay Latino Poets

Some scholars say that Queer Latina/o writing is fast becoming a major core of the Latina/o literary canon. I say it’s the future of the canon altogether, with some of the most exciting, intelligent, and provocative American writing coming from … Continue reading

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Crossing Over: Literary Fiction Writers Tackling YA

The other day I was browsing in a favorite bookstore, moving backward through the alphabet, when I noticed Sherman Alexie’s novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, toward the front of the As in Fiction. I stopped and … Continue reading

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The Ploughshares Round-down: The Problem with Literary Doomsday Laments

We who love literature face an urgent crisis: a gruesome epidemic of articles worrying over the demise of literature, reading, English Departments, and apparently (along with them) culture, art, morality, humanity, and ALL KNOWLEDGE AND CIVILIZATION. We’re in dire need of an antidote for this … Continue reading

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The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Not Like What You Said” by Debbie Urbanski

The older I get, the more I notice that my handwriting resembles my mother’s. Her cursive is so even, consistent, and precise that her letters and grocery lists look like they’ve been typed up on the computer and printed out. … Continue reading

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How Narrative Nonfiction Keeps Me Sane

Years ago, feeling creatively unfulfilled at my full-time publishing job, I took a continuing education class at The New School on pitching creative nonfiction to the glossy mags. Throughout the course of the semester, we worked our way through Robert … Continue reading

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No Shoes, No Shirt, No Fiction: Let’s Get Out of the Restaurant

“I need to tell you something,” he said. He twirled his spaghetti around his fork. She sipped her wine. “What is it?” “Well.” He shoved the tangle of spaghetti in his mouth and chewed. She fiddled with her spoon. Suddenly, … Continue reading

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The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “My Wife, in Converse” by Shelly Oria

Stories written in the first person are supposed to be more intimate and allow us greater access to the emotions and thoughts of the narrator than second or third person. But what about the characters who aren’t eager or able … Continue reading

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