Claire Vaye Watkins Archive

Writ in Water: Interview with Claire Vaye Watkins

Claire Vaye Watkins, author of the celebrated collection Battleborn and widely acclaimed novel Gold Fame Citrus, talks with me about writing and living the West, conservation and resistance and optimism in the world of Trump, and faith in the "California experiment."

Your Turn Now to Stand Where I Stand: Growing Up with Little Earthquakes

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I may not have been the only teenaged boy in America in the 1990s to listen over and over to Tori Amos’ 1992 album LITTLE EARTHQUAKES, but it felt like I was.

The Female Gaze and the Same Old Songs

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I recently went with my husband to a concert. The artist we saw writes gut-wrenching songs, and he and his band put on a great show. But I got restless about half way through. “It’s just so masculine,” I said to my husband, and not long after that the

Go West, Young Man: America and the Literature of Place

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All literature is, in a sense, the literature of place—for all literature takes place someplace, calls up a setting with all its specificity of look, taste, sound. To ask the essential question of literature—How do we live?—is also necessarily to ask: Where do we live?

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.

Place Matters

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I’ve been stoked for a number of novels this month, but maybe none as much as Chris McCormick’s Desert Boys. It’s his first collection, a series of linked stories. His progressions are thematic. The prose is lovely, and the guy seems like an ace—but more so than the subject

Writ in Water: The Wet Years

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I live near a cemetery in the Berkeley hills that has turned green from the rain. I do most of my jogging in the cemetery, and it reminds me—especially going uphill—that our time here is fleeting. I run among the dead, and I run among the deer and turkeys

Weathering/Writing the Storms

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In an episode of Master of None, Dev and Arnold walk home from a mostly uneventful night out at a bar. One remarks how cold it is. The other says it’s supposed to be nicer the next day. Dev acknowledges how cliché and potentially banal the topic at hand

Deliberate Accidents of Discovery: The Trouble With Finding New Latina/o Writers

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In an exercise of radical honesty I’ll share this with you: I almost always find great new Latina/o writing by accident. I think part of this is my pell-mell strategy of finding new books (at literary events, on coffee tables, etc.) though part of it can be attributed to

The Best Books for the End of 2015

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  Every year-end ought to be paired with a great book as the weather gets colder. Here’s a list of late fall’s best titles, so grab a copy for yourself and one for a friend, too. The Suicide of Claire Bishop Carmiel Banasky Dzanc Books September 15 $24.95 This