Writing Archive

Writ in Water: Millimeters to the End of the World

Author: | Categories: Writing No comments
How do you write about the end of the world? Or avoiding the apocalypse? The drying up of our water or our adaptation to living with less? How do you imagine—and make real—global superstorms and cities swallowed by the sea and the hottest summers on record?

On Music and Story

Author: | Categories: Writing No comments
I had a professor in college who maintained that writers write about artists in other disciplines—painters, musicians, sculptors, etc.—when they want to write about writers without actually writing about writers. There’s probably something to this.

The Problem of “Make It New,” the Help of Joy Williams

Author: | Categories: Writing No comments
At whatever point "Make it new" became a phrase so canonically removed from its creator that it began to reach the minds and ears of young writers years before they'd ever pick up Pound's poetry, a particular fine-edged damage was done.

MFA vs. PhD

Author: | Categories: Writing No comments
Last year, at 28, I attended my first writer’s conference in Virginia and a fiction workshop. I felt like a wallflower who’d only just realized all the other flowers had long ago left the wall in pursuit of something deemed extremely useful in the American literary community—the MFA.

Waiting for Hopper

Author: | Categories: Writing No comments
Woman in the Sun is located in the large hall next to the elevators on the sixth floor of the new Whitney Museum. The good thing is that most people go straight for the exhibition so that the space in front of the painting isn’t crowded.

Phonesthesia: Poetic Sound and Diegetic Noise

Author: | Categories: Writing No comments
Can poetry, through its command of sound, represent physical spaces, objects, and movement? Can one describe something—a setting, a object, a person—and also synesthetically render it for the reader?

Lilies in the Yard: On Getting Away

Author: | Categories: Writing No comments
I reread Sylvia Plath this summer on a fairly remote island off Ireland’s Connemara coast. Plath had been there once in September of 1962. She and Ted Hughes accepted an invitation from the Irish poet, Richard Murphy, to visit him at his home in the country’s heralded west.

Details and Big Picture, Through the Eyes of a Visual Artist

Author: | Categories: Writing Advice No comments
I came to writing by way of visual art and the loss of the ability to step back from my work and see the whole, seemed insurmountable to me. But I now understand that language can be used just like paint.

Also a Farmer

Author: | Categories: Writing No comments
I started farming the year after I completed my MFA, and in the six years since I’ve been trying to figure out how anyone could possibly be a writer and a farmer at the same time.

Finding a {Digital} Home

Author: | Categories: Reading, Writing No comments
This June, I was in Victoria, B.C. for a conference and summer institute that took me away from home for ten days. I was surrounded by water & mountains, fresh air & kindness, and it felt like just the kind of intellectual and emotional salve I needed after yet