Writing Archive

What Writers Can Learn From Visual Artists About Patterns & Meaning

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Patterns are everywhere and we rely on them to understand ourselves and the world. Theoretical physicists and cosmologists attempt to unlock the mysteries of our existence by searching for patterns. Behavioral scientists, psychologists, psychobiologists, criminologists, sociologist and cognitive scientists seek insight into human nature by studying patterns.

Duly Noted: on Footnotes and their Place in Translation

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When I was translating Some Day, by Shemi Zarhin, my first published translation which came out with New Vessel Press in 2013, the question of footnotes was constantly on my mind. There was so much to that book, set in Israel, that an English reader wouldn’t know about.

How to Do Things With Readings: After Cave Canem’s 20th Anniversary

Like any literary form or rule, the poetry reading raises questions regarding subjectivity and context: whose conventions are these, what do they enable, and how do they suit the projects at hand?

Writ in Water: Yellow Not Mellow

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A sight now common across California: the yellow toilet bowl. Conscientiously curated, it’s a light shade of daffodil, lemon, banana; this is early in the lifespan, the visitors before you healthy and drinking plenty of water.

When He Was King: The Words and Wisdom of Muhammad Ali

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Standing in line at the grocery store the other day, I counted four magazines the published special issues to commemorate the remarkable life of Muhammad Ali, who died on June 3 at 74 years old.

Living Between Languages: Notes on Language and Loss

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I was seventeen years old when I started working at the front desk of a beach resort in my coastal city in Brazil and began to teach myself my first sentences in English. In the tourism industry, English was currency, and as such I wanted to earn it.

The Cost of the Academic Job: A Personal Narrative

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A few years ago, a small university invited me on an MLA interview for a tenure-track assistant professor position teaching publishing and creative writing. The hiring committee assumed I would be attending the conference and so told me when and where to be.

Notes on the State of Virginia: Journey to the Center of an American Document, Queries VII, VIII, and IX

In these three queries, Jefferson attempts to distill the complex meteorological, demographic, and military features of Virginia into a series of data points. His prose—supplemented by graphical tables tracking everything from rainfall to carriage wheels—draws a fine grid over the natural and human activities of the Commonwealth.

Time and Opening Chapters: Gaining Trust

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Lately I’ve been thinking about time in novels. How to manipulate it, whether it should be linear or nonlinear, and what that choice means for a story. I began to examine it more closely after a recent weekend novel workshop I took with Lauren Grodstein.

Titles: A Typography

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I’ve always had a wretched time titling my writing. It’s the last thing I do with any piece, and not without a lot of deep sighing. In panic mode I have a rattling tendency to latch on to songs; just in the short history of my posts here, I’ve