My introduction to Gary McDowell’s writing came through his poems, so it’s no surprise his essays feel so poetic—in the best sense of that word. We caught up via email to talk about what’s different (and what’s not) between writing poems and writing essays.
Kathy Fagan’s poems explore the mysteries in the matter-of-fact; they bring a sharp eye and tender heart to the exact and strange particulars of life. Her fifth book of poems, Sycamore, was published earlier this year. We caught up over email to talk about this beautiful new book.
When I first encountered Jacob Wren and his work, it was in the mid-1990s, back when he was a Toronto poet known as Death Waits. Now, as co-artistic director of PME-ART, he exists as a constantly moving target, exploring performance through collaboration, text, and multiple other means.
Shakespeare and Company is one of the best-known bookshops in the world. The first time I visited was a hot summer’s day many years ago. I was a little embarrassed about my tourist’s awe.
Dr. Aron Aji is a highly accomplished translator with a range of work under his belt, from Turkish writers that include Elif Shafak, Murathan Mungan, Bilge Karasu, and Latife Tekin. We chatted about his background, how Bilge Karasu subverts the stereotypical Turkish identity, and the internalization of exile.
Whitney Terrell’s 2016 book The Good Lieutenant was selected as a best book of the year by the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, and Refinery 29. Terrell also happens to be my former student.
Leslie Harrison’s poems are meditative and thoughtful, yet fleet-footed, quick to change direction. They show us a mind in motion, questing and questioning, wrestling with complex feelings and ideas.
William Kemp is a founding editor at Toronto-based words(on)pages, an organization that self-describes as one “that supports, promotes, and engages emerging writers in Canada through workshops, publications, a prize, and a reading series.”
I attended Jessie Chaffee’s reading at DC’s Politics & Prose, where she read from her debut novel Florence in Ecstasy (Unnamed Press, May 2017). Afterward we decided to extend our conversation about her process and the role of place in her work into an interview.
What is the function of the artist and writer in a troubled society? What is our role in these uncertain and precarious political times?