Series Archive

Literary Blueprints: The Byronic Hero

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Follow this new blog series in 2015, where we’ll delve into the background of character archetypes–the Mad Woman, the Detective, and the Wise Fool, to name a few. In this first installment, we take a look at the Byronic Hero. Origin Story: In literature, the Byronic Hero’s first embodiment is

A Victorian Legacy in the Midwest: Hair in Art and Literature

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Leila’s Hair Museum occupies an unassuming building in Independence, MO along a busy street of strip malls. I sought it out last summer on a visit to the Midwest, intrigued by its website. According to it, Leila Cahoon, a retired hairdresser who has made collecting hair art her life’s

Laughs in Translation

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Recently, I was reading The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov’s antic retelling of the stories of Faust and Pontius Pilot. The novel follows—in part—the devil and his deranged retinue, including a bipedal cat and a naked woman, as they wreak havoc on Moscow. The edition I own, translated by

Is Anyone Reading Your Blog Posts?: Building a Literary Community in the Age of Facebook

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In the creative writing for new media course I teach at the University of Iowa, we spend the first few weeks talking about ways in which technology has changed the way we communicate with one another, for better or worse. When it comes to Facebook in particular, it’s interesting

Lit GIFs: A Christmas Carol

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Christmas Eve finds mean old Ebenezer Scrooge counting coins in his counting-house.

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