creative writing Archive

MFA vs. PhD

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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.

Looking for Cavafy in Istanbul

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When I first set out to find C.P. Cavafy’s maternal home five years ago, my friends and I figured heading to the local church in Neochori (present day Yeniköy) would yield the best results. The Alexandrian Greek poet had spent three years of his life, from 1882 to 1885,

How One Publisher Sparked a Rebirth of Turkey’s Greek History

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On the flight back to Istanbul, I hold one of the first books put out by Istos Publishing in my hands. Out of the press’s slim, silver-colored bilingual Greek-Turkish edition of Nikos Kazantzakis’s The Ascetic (Ασκητική-Çileci), the publishing house’s logo pops out in gold, almost holographic. I turn the

Planetary Poetry

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It’s a comet, no it’s a planet, no it’s not a planet, yes it is. What is it about Pluto that so draws us to it? Is it that Pluto is so far away? Or is it just that we always pull for the underdog? Over the past few

Our Ladies of Perpetual Sorrow

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There’s something happening with the personal in writing, and Jason Guriel’s highly circulated Walrus essay “I Don’t Care About Your Life” wants to warn us about it. “I Don’t Care About Your Life” isn’t as polemical as it sounds. For one, its title doesn’t so much reveal Guriel’s hand,

“I know that reality and truth are not always the same thing”: An Interview with Christos Ikonomou

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Christos Ikonomou is the author of three short story collections, including Something Will Happen, You’ll See (Archipelago Books, trans. Karen Emmerich, 2016), for which he won the National Short Story Prize. Something Will Happen, You’ll See, a devastating and sparingly written collection of stories about the Greek crisis in

Who Speaks How

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I love when people ask my friend Jenny and I how we know each other, because long before we co-taught a queer theory elective and drove cross-country and made parallel moves to Pittsburgh, she was one of my first writing teachers. It was in her Xeroxed handout of eclectic

On Building Believable Characters in Fiction

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Before I picked up a copy of Offshore last month, it had been years since I read Penelope Fitzgerald, a British author who didn’t start writing until she was in her sixties. But the characters in this Booker Prize-winning novel caught my attention and I soon became completely emerged

Women in Refrigerators

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Fifteen of us were watching Colin Farrell talking fast and sweet at a woman who communicated almost entirely by lowering her head, raising her eyes, and simpering. This was a few months ago and I was in a playwriting seminar with a well-known playwright that I had never heard

Out of the Blue and Onto the Page: How Translation Rekindled My Passion for Writing

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When my mother, born in America to Israeli parents, first met my father in Tel Aviv, she said she knew he was right for her because he was an American living in Israel. As a young woman who grew up in transit—constantly being moved around between the two countries—she