A May 3, 2009, New York Times headline reads, “Mentally Ill and in Immigration Limbo,” and chronicles the story of Xiu Ping Jiang, a woman lost in an immigration detention camp in Florida.
Morgan Parker’s There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé is one of those rare poetry collections that is simultaneously strange and comforting, defiant and self-conscious, plugged into mainstream pop culture and extremely personal.
I first encountered Melissa Febos while listening to Fresh Air on NPR in 2010. The episode was titled “Memoirs of a Dominatrix.” She was being interviewed about her first book, Whip Smart.
Both these texts expand the mind, taking the reading experience to places most never risk. One, Dreamlives of Debris, gets up into rarified air indeed, cleansing the system. As for The Gift, that’s perhaps less bracing, but always tangy and whip-smart. Before I explain further, however, I’ve got to look back half a century.
When Saint Paul was struck blind on the road to Jerusalem by what he came to believe was a resurrected Jesus Christ, his first response was to hold onto the self he had been before that moment.
Since her 1993 debut collection, My Horse and Other Stories, Stacey Levine has used metaphor and artful exaggeration to illuminate unexpected corners of the human psyche.
On March 4, 2017, a Reuters headline announces, “Exclusive: Trump Administration Considering Separating Women, Children at Mexico Border.” This is not the only headline.
For much of his career, on many of his books, one of the country’s most celebrated novelists confined his bio to a single line: “Don DeLillo lives in New York.” That was it, and more recently, as I dug into connections between the man’s work and his native city, I often suspected I wasn’t offering much better.
Mai Der Vang’s first book of poetry is Afterland. Just released by Graywolf Press, the manuscript won the Walt Whitman Award from the American Academy of Poets in 2016 and has received a lot of advance praise.
A couple of years ago I was living in Chicago with a commute that could take anywhere from an hour and a half to—on a really bad day, when the buses were all bunched together and I’d missed a connection—three hours.
I’ve always been opposed to the whole “women in rock” categorization as a ploy for lazy critics to write about musicians who also happen to be women. But the current wave of memoirs by women musicians leads me to acknowledge that something is going on and I should pay attention.
Chris Offutt is a masterful writer. His ability to immerse a reader in his narrative, his clean and clear sentences and his powerful descriptive passages all have served over time as examples of American writing at its best.
Brooklyn writer Taylor Larsen’s debut novel, Stranger, Father, Beloved is the relentlessly bleak story of the dissolution of an American nuclear family.
I’ve spent decades listening to what other people from other places think the Pacific Northwest is all about. Reading Monica Drake’s first collection of short stories, The Folly of Loving Life, I feel I’ve finally found a way to ward off all those mis-imagined fairy tales of the cities of the Northwest that so many people have created.
On an outwardly pleasant day in early April of 2017, the author appears in profile through the glass panels of his front door. When the buzzer sounds, Paul Auster rises from his dining-room table to welcome me. I have arrived, on the dot, at 2 p.m. to discuss his teeming new novel of the 1960s 4 3 2 1. It is a bildungsroman with a speculative twist: four different lives lived in alternating sequence by the same young man.
In June of 2009, I began work at the Gold Street office of Electric Literature, a publication conceived as an anthology of five stories issued three or four times a year.