Author Archive

“I no longer think the driving force of books is to tell everyone that everything will get better”: An Interview with Sarah Rose Etter

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Etter joins a legacy of women writers who depict the horror of women’s experiences.

Language and Trauma in On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

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Little Dog, the narrator of Ocean Vuong’s debut novel, learns to be strategic in his use of language as a means of self-preservation.

Donald Hall, Sharon Olds, and Dani Shapiro on Marriage

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I stumbled across Donald Hall’s “The Third Thing,” an essay on his marriage to fellow poet Jane Kenyon, before my wedding. Hall’s measured tone and rich details came in sharp contrast to all of the bridal materials I was bombarded with, and brought marriage back to life for me.

Jane Alison and Ander Monson on Narrative Form

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The arc can only take narrative so far before it crashes, particularly when it comes to personal writing.

Women Inventing Feminine Language

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To talk about women’s language as wounded is problematic because for so long women’s wounds were either taboo or fetishized. In order to avoid this fetishizing, women find new means of expression by writing outside of existing structures.

The Structure of Trauma

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What is interesting about trauma narratives, despite their abundance, is how writers shape them, allowing their stories to transcend the act of recounting.

Women in Myths

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In such ancient stories as The Odyssey, women, who are often archetypes and who typically exist in the margins, are enlivened when their stories are told by contemporary writers, freeing them from their limited roles

Nuance Within the Shadows: An Interview with Esmé Weijun Wang

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Wang, who was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder in college, after earlier misdiagnoses, debunks stigmas and stereotypes about schizophrenia in her new collection of essays, and provides essential information about a spectrum disorder long misunderstood.


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Those who write about their mental illnesses—Jane Kenyon, Susanna Kaysen, Andrew Solomon, Kay Redfield Jamison, and Elizabeth Wurtzel to name a very small few—often struggle to reconcile their character with the disease that riddles them.

The Secret Habit of Sorrow by Victoria Patterson

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Each story is short yet encompassing, and while the plots don't connect, the collection coheres thematically. Nearly all of the protagonists and those characters eddying around them feel this secret habit of sorrow.