Confronting the Archive in UPEND

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Claire Meuschke’s 2020 collection asks how material and historical objects constrain and define our lives, and how we stretch beyond these constraints, or live in defiance of them.

Remembering Monica Berlin

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“Something I think about often is how you once said that sometimes when you write a letter, the person you are writing to may never write back. Perhaps what you were quietly teaching us about was grief.”

The Idiot and the Betrayal of Language

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Elif Batuman’s protagonist wants to trust language, but language is inherently dishonest, a fractured mirror that never accurately reflects what really is. Trust it too much and it will leave you feeling betrayed.

Becoming an Art Monster

“Of course pretending to be a regular girl is monstrous—as monstrous as not writing, and as monstrous as being a mother who takes some time to herself to write, as I am doing now.”

The Riddles of the Green Man and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

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Green is “of this earth.” It is life and death at once, looking down at us from the rafters and blooming in our veins.

Toad and a Woman’s Desire

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“What I want to read about these days is women who want things. Katherine Dunn’s posthumously released novel is the most appetite-driven book I’ve read in quite some time.”

Hanne Darboven’s Exploration of Time

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“As we leave the end of one year and begin another, I am thinking about time: the threatened loss of the present, the ways in which we necessarily inscribe ourselves into history, and writing not as a forgetting, but a remembering.”

Death and Photography in Ramona Emerson’s Shutter

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Photography has consistently served as both an expression of the spiritual and the documentation of truth. Ramona Emerson’s novel captures this range of photographic purpose. In her protagonist’s hands, photography serves as a form of forensic evidence, a connection to her Navajo identity, and what draws the dead to

A Line in the World’s Imaginings

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In Dorthe Nors’s imagined passages, truth emerges overtly. These imaginings create an embodied landscape lush with life, reverberating with echoes of voices, human and otherwise.

Songwriting and Poetry in Sadie Dupuis’s Cry Perfume

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Sadie Dupuis’s poems read like they would make interesting songs. These would be songs not of the finger-picked, delicately confessional coffee-house sort, though, but of the spikily asymmetrical, disjunctive sort, with guitar solos that sound like automobile accidents.