Author Archive

The Power of Reading

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For Ocean Vuong, Jesmyn Ward, and Jaquira Diaz, reading and writing became necessities early on when their classrooms, families, and streets confined them, left them feeling othered and uncertain of their identities.

Bipolar Disorder and the Pills that Keep Us Alive

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For bipolar disorder, the most tried and true treatment—the most effective one—doesn’t come from a lab; it comes from stardust. It’s an element on the periodic table, atomic number 3.

“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.

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.

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.