Personal Essays Archive
Although none of the characters in Isabella Hammad’s new novel are diasporic themselves, her intricate use of Arabic instills the mixed language of diaspora with a fresh purpose.
Although Raymond Carver’s “Fat” was written several decades ago, fat people are still often limited to existing and being written as metaphor and spectacle—fatness is a trope, a qualifier, a literary device. Fat characters are fat first.
Albee believed deeply in education. He thought theatre’s job was to teach us something, and he carried that mission into other aspects of his life, like his exacting presence as a director, his occasional stints as an instructor, and his foundation, which offers time, space, and quiet to artists.
Mariateresa Di Lascia’s modern classic, which won the Strega Prize (the Italian equivalent of a Pulitzer)—but is only now forthcoming as an English translation—is incredibly pertinent to the way our society is grappling with how a woman’s life is often marked by an endless series of hidden indignities.
Three years ago, I was thrown out of a Trump rally. A friend got circled by police officers, stared at by supporters. He protested. I jumped in. As the police officers wrangled me, Trump said, I can’t believe in Louisiana it takes this long.”
Those of us who experience trauma find it difficult to put our experience into words in the first place. Many of us flounder, sputter, or stay silent, at a loss for how to adequately translate our experience into language.
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.
Between December 1960 and October 1962, around fourteen-thousand unaccompanied children arrived in Miami from Cuba as part of Operation Pedro Pan; my father, migrated here on June 29, 1961.
I left Hungary in 1981, and never questioned that freedom of speech has always been a feature of the West.
This year, I learned that the emotional background to William Goldman’s famous novel is fictional.