Susan Sontag Archive

On Silence

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When voicedness in art is tied to vulnerability in life, exposure—and not evasion, denial, and declarative muteness—ensures survival.

The Narrative of Breast Cancer

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Anne Boyer joins others, like Susan Sontag, Nina Riggs, Audre Lorde, and Kathy Acker, who push against and question the breast cancer narrative conventions.

Women Mentoring Women in Sigrid Nunez’s Sempre Susan

Sigrid Nunez’s memoir of the author’s relationship with Susan Sontag, the writer and doyenne of the twentieth-century New York intelligentsia, plays with the concept of the memoir genre. Nunez largely disappears from her own pages as she explains, through vignettes and remembered lines, Sontag’s mentorship.

Out with T.S. Eliot, and In with Cathy Park Hong: Poetry Criticism in the 21st Century

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The debate about whether Rupi Kaur’s poetry (and by extension, the whole genre dubbed “instapoetry”) is good or bad has apparently been revived. Whether that debate is actually useful in the terms it has set out for itself remains to be seen. Most often, it seems, when the poet

The Poet and the News

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More than ever, I seem to imbibe the news, allow it to become a part of me, choke my obsessive subconscious like invasive kudzu. No wonder then that I feel tempted to write about these events and their consequences.

Female Eroticism in The Wallcreeper and The Argonauts

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What’s missing in the literary world, especially when it comes to women, is a dialogue around anal sex.

Postcards from Unexpected Places

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Like long handwritten letters and atlases, postcards descend from another world now deemed impractical. They belong to the world of Denis Breen in James Joyce’s Ulysses and Loyal Blood and his travels across the American West in Annie Proulx’s Postcards. Ruth, in Lorrie Moore’s story “Real Estate,” finds the

“Subjects We Never Completely Learn”: An Interview with Daniel Nester

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Daniel Nester’s prose zings back and forth between the heart and the funny bone. His latest book, Shader, is a kaleidoscopic coming-of-age story told in brief chapters called “notes.” It’s like one of those family slideshows that make us laugh, groan, squirm in our chairs, and sometimes cry. His

Concretizing the enemy

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Words have always coveted pictures for how immediately they can stir us. I think of the photograph of the South Vietnamese child who’d been sprayed by napalm. No word alive can match it. It was the photo on the cover of every magazine in 1972, which “probably did more

Naming as Paying Attention

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Names can be hard for the tongue to wrap its head around. I say this with the conviction of my full being as a male, a poet, a twin, and a slight stutterer. (Of course I stutter. My brother and I lived our early lives assuming that the world,