writing Archive

Words Chosen For Ourselves: A Review of THE OXFORD INDIA ANTHOLOGY OF TAMIL DALIT WRITING

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The Oxford India Anthology of Tamil Dalit Writing Ravikumar and R. Azhagarasan Oxford University Press, 2012 480 pp, $39.95 Buy hardcover Of the social, political, and economic issues facing India since independence in 1947, the situation of Dalits has been one of the most pressing. Dalits face discrimination and

Writing the Body: Ta-Nehisi Coates, Maggie Nelson, & Lidia Yuknavitch

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The age of media and internet is one of fractal, ephemeral bodies—well-curated images of the self from certain angles and frozen in time, dust-coated corpses at the aftermath of a quake that provide little context, statistics and numbers that break down how many and what ages and when, yet

Inclusivity & Authorship: Second-Person Pronouns

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Used poorly, second-person reads like a trope; used well, second-person as a narrative device adds inclusivity to literature, raises questions of authorship, and helps an author communicate politically-charged topics like globalization, race, and gender. Mohsin Hamid utilizes second-person in his novel, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia,

Depressing Graphs for Writers

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Remember this series of graphs from last month that depressed the hell out of everyone? The one that reminded us that no book from a woman’s point of view has won the Pulitzer in the last 16 years? We could cry about it, or we could look at some more

Artistry is a Kind of Citizenship – Ploughshares Interviews Allan Gurganus

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I’ve been aware of Allan Gurganus since I was a few years old; we hail from the same small town, Rocky Mount, North Carolina, and his books lined the shelves of homes I visited, and the local library. Turns out his name was also in the New Yorker, and

Why Bother with Craft?

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“Craft” was a dirty word at art school, a subtle derogative. The college dropped “and Craft” from their name so recently that the signs on the highway still held those words. Once, in a class critique, a peer called a hand-painted map used to make a stop motion short

The Candles and the Soap: On Vonnegut, Death, and Repetition

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Placed after a mention of death or dying, Kurt Vonnegut’s “So it goes” refrain throughout Slaughterhouse Five utilizes repetition to explore the inevitability of death. Early on in the book, Billy Pilgrim writes a letter to a newspaper about his experiences with extra terrestrials, and explains the origin of the phrase: When

When We Are Given a Feast of Flesh

How do I remember spaces? Bedrooms, beaches, backseats, bazaars. The time between dreams. Night. The no-man’s land of a twelve-hour flight. I remember the world as words. I spent my last few weeks in Delhi hunting for books. For relatives, for friends, but, finally, for my own sake: to

Blood Memory

“There is only one of you in all time; this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost.”—Martha Graham Dance was my first foray into art, and I studied it for sixteen years with the kind

Language Could Kill You: Adichie, Code-Switching & the Biafran War

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Language plays a crucial role throughout Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novels, but nowhere is it more decisive than in the author’s second novel, Half of a Yellow Sun. Written against the backdrop of the Biafran War, two wealthy sisters return from England to a nation on the cusp of revolution