Reading Archive

Fiction Responding to Fiction: Flannery O’Connor and Alice Munro

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Munro has spoken about her debt to American writers from the South, including O’Connor, and we can clearly see how “Save the Reaper” is responding to O’Connor’s story by touching on similar themes and even moments, and yet spinning off from the original in true Munro fashion.

The Effects of Children

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My second daughter is due on December 11th. A couple of months back, I wrote about how all-consuming I was already finding this period of waiting; now, of course, I’m swollen to bursting with it.

What’s Left?: Poetry after disaster

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What do we do after something terrible happens? Is there any way to find hope in a world gone dark?

The Comfort of Writing Guides: On Benjamin Percy’s “Thrill Me”

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About a year ago, I heard Benjamin Percy give a craft lecture in Seattle. The talk, “Making the Extraordinary Ordinary,” concerned blending literary and genre fiction.

Into Obscurity, Poetically Speaking

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I first found CD Wright’s poem “The Obscure Lives of Poets” back in February, and was afraid to get too close, as though examining it might blind me, or worse, put out the fire.

Remembering the Poetry of Leonard Cohen

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Leonard Cohen, the Canadian poet, novelist and songwriter, died last week at the age of 82, after publicly stating to the press that he was ready to die. He gave warning that his time was coming, but still, I was not ready.

What comes through the fence: reading Paul Celan after the US election

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There are so many traumas coming to the center of our political life now, and what I am attempting to say, through the hundred breakdowns of speech, is that there are places where language is undone. The horror of it is always there, lives in the breath and the

Writ in Water: Reservation Round

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In a space like this, when we talk about genre fiction, we are often talking about its limitations: its conventions, its shallowness, its easy accessibility, its (overly) familiar repetitions, its elastic distance behind the invisible but razor-wired line of the literary.

ARRIVAL and the False Dichotomy of Free Will vs Determinism

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ARRIVAL has been hailed for carving a space for the “literary science fiction movie,” and rightly so. Director Denis Villeneuve achieved the nearly impossible feat of making a compelling, relatively crowd-pleasing movie about linguistics, complete with a new alien language composed of 100 logograms, while also weaving in themes of

The Resistance Will Also Be Literary

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November has been a heavy month. The results of the U.S. elections came in; Leonard Cohen passed away; and on Sunday 13th, France commemorated the 1-year anniversary of the Paris attacks.