Writing Archive


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Today, my first book launches. It’s kind of a wonderful word, launch: such propulsive force in its sound. Such muscular, fearless leaping. To mark the occasion, I thought I’d take a look at launchings of various kinds in literature. Not gradual beginnings, not slow evolutions into different forms, but sudden

The Technological Extinction of the Short-Story Writer

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The march toward human obsolescence is relentless, yet the job of the writer is considered relatively safe from the threat of automation. For empathy and creativity are two qualities that it would be difficult to bundle within artificial intelligence. And empathy and creativity are perhaps the two primary calling

There Are Places I Remember: on the Fine Line Between Fiction and Memoir in Translation

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Sometimes it feels as if I’m not merely translating people’s stories into English, but helping people preserve their own lives, turning them into internationally comprehendible keepsakes. For every two books of pure fiction that I translate, there is a third that is not exactly a memoir, not exactly a

An Unconventional Nobel Laureate

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Have you ever found yourself looking at the heteronormative sausage-fest that is the Nobel Prize lineup and said, “I wonder if the hoity-toity Swedish Academy will ever give the Literature Nobel to a genre-bending disabled lesbian children’s book author?” Funny you should ask.

Step Inside My Skin and Dance Around in It: On Literary Translation

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For days, while I revised my translation, I looked for the right words to tell the protagonist’s mother that he’s terminally ill. Even though the protagonist’s life is nothing like my own, I couldn’t help but climb inside his skin and walk around in it.

Moments in the Rose-Garden: The Literature of Stillness

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When my brother and I were kids, my parents would watch what we called “screensaver movies”: films that moved at a leisurely pace and boasted periods of little action in the traditional sense, featuring instead long, lingering shots of landscapes, interiors, characters’ expressions. We mocked and groused.

Bombing the Subway

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The subway has always been the great equalizer of New York City: it’s how the 99% of us get around. The best people-watching happens here, and the city’s art and culture scene extends deep underground.

On Abstraction and Acessibility: Poetry, Perspective, and the Painting of Jordan Kantor

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Lately, I've been particularly intrigued by the work of Jordan Kantor. His work has prompted me to revisit how I have been formulating the Venn diagram of poetry and painting. Kantor is an artist who gets many things right.

The Art of the Twitter Essay

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Twitter is maybe one of the most ideal places to watch a draft shape itself into a finished essay—a public place for us to learn the bones.

The Artist’s Statement—How Visual Artists Find and Use Voice

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Voice is an intangible but discernible sensibility that threads through and ties together a body of work. It can be loud or quiet, but we always feel it.