Maria Popova’s Figurations of Inner Life

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
It almost does not matter what someone does or what happens to them. Rather, what matters is what someone thinks they have experienced. As Popova suggests, the true changes in our lives are cognitive as much as they are biographical—or, rather, if they are biographically significant, it is only

The Historical Imperatives of Swing At Your Own Risk

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Deeply rooted in Black feminist discourse, Metta Sáma’s second full-length book of poetry is part of a line of historical poetics—part documentary, part interpretative—that refuses to distinguish between the horrors of the past and their ongoing inflections in the present.

The Danger and Loneliness of Passing

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Brit Bennett’s recently published novel and Nella Larsen’s classic reveal the danger—and loneliness—of a black woman passing for white in the early 1900s and the 1990s. Passing affords the freedoms and opportunities for reinvention that whiteness allows for, but this comes at a terrible cost.

Of Color by Jaswinder Bolina

Author: | Categories: Book Reviews, Nonfiction No comments
Bolina’s collection explores the complicated ground of being “of color,” being an immigrant, being American, and being human with an admirable fluency. He entrusts us with an honest conversation—one that we should all be having with one other.

Oliver Sacks’ Whole-Person Approach

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
When telling stories of his patients, Oliver Sacks is clinical while also remaining deeply compassionate in his approach. His dual perspective allows him to see both patient and person, and treatment is never the end of the story.

The Liminality of Life and Death in Seán Ó Ríordáin’s Poetry

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Poetry as life and death—may I term this struggle as survival? Seán Ó Ríordáin, the Irish poet whose oeuvre elucidates this limbo, looks no further than to the interaction of light with dark to explain this compulsion for the letter as both cure and curse.

Contemplating Infinity

Hilary Leichter’s debut novel is a shifting, surrealist tale of a young woman’s search for permanent employment that deftly captures the anguish of living inside such existential uncertainty, and more terrifying, the potential infinity of it.

Literary Silence in the Time of Pandemic

Author: | Categories: Longform No comments
From the Black Death to the AIDS epidemic, the history of literature is suffused with gaps. Such a history is a record of mourning. It’s a record of all the things that cannot be spoken while living with upheaval and grief.

Writing a Home for All My Ghosts

A home doesn’t feel like a home when there are structures built to immortalize those who dehumanized entire populaces. But it feels a little more like home when we’re marching, when we fill spaces with our bodies, our friends, our loves, our strangers, shouting out the names of the

The Shape of Nations

One cannot simply outgrow or outlive a colonial, racist history. In order for the system to change, we need to stare at it and acknowledge it for what it is.