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Latest Blogs

Latest Blogs

Ghost by Christian Blaza
I was scrolling around the internet today, looking for articles about envy and writers—long story—when I came across a web posting with the following title: “Do You Ever Feel Jealous of Other Writers?” What a stupid, stupid question. Writers are jealous of other writers always, all the time. Except the proper word here, I may point out, is “...
Books by Hokyoung Kim
When the events I relate in “Noir Girl: An Essay in Two Takes” happened to me, I was in a big transitionary period. I’d recently decided to take a break from fiction, having finished writing a 440 page novel six years in the making (at least four of which consisted of me pacing, pitching imaginary baseball games for which I supplied the...
Bookwood by Faye Rogers
  Is what is named not already lost? -Albert Camus (tr. N) He had two rooms on the same floor. -Ingeborg Bachmann (tr. Mary Fran Gilbert) If a translator stands both before and after, it is in part out of desperation. And so why not, in such an instance, (I mean in an instance in which one is called upon to speak of something when one has...
Galaxy of Resolutions by Chris Ruiz
                  The trick of the fiction writer is the beautiful lie, writing words to create experiences that never happened.  When the novel was still “novel,” writers often imitated nonfiction forms: diaries, like the great Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte; or letters, like Samuel Richardson’s Pamela; or travelogues, like Daniel...
Abyss by Vlad Alvarez
​Emötoma in Spanish sounds like something in between hemotoma and the cancer of emote; thus, I have translated it as (H)emötoma. Before my diagnosis of cancer, I had fallen in love with Minerva Reynosa's playful language and exuberance, so after my confrontation with cancer, (H)emötoma boosted my will to live. The surprising juxtapositions...
Greening by Mary Ann Smith
     “The poet says, Here, let me show you something. That is, let me help you to see      something as you have not seen it before.”                              —N. Scott Momaday Before I launch into a typical day of teaching, I want to include a couple of passages I use every year to illustrate the idea of gestures, their importance,...
Danger in the Journey. An illustration by Christian Ruiz of a bridge with water underneath and dangers within.
Thoreau: A Writer’s Journal is the book I loaned Andrew when we were first becoming friends. That day he confessed he’d been clean a while and his girlfriend had broken up with him. He was having a hard time. He was worried he’d use again. It seemed to pain him to tell me. He was one of those sweet men who often seem to think they are...
http://www.ryaninzana.com/
Compression is often mentioned among the essential characteristics of poetry. Pressed, promoters of compression note that poems are short, but that seems either ingenuous or disingenuous and may be a little misleading. Poems are short, compared to other literary forms, but a shorter poem is not necessarily a better poem. In general, a poem...
Pieces of Bennet by Anne Lambelet
“The Aesthetics of Dairy Farming” [Listen here] is a poem central to my longer manuscript, Birdsong and Buckshot: An Elegiac Echo, which is an elegy for my father who passed away in 2008 before I entered my MFA program at George Mason. This particular poem went through twenty to fifty drafts because it started as one of those typical MFA...
canadian living
As a child, I was a passionate fossil collector, and I’ve been wanting for years to use some of that experience in a poem. My uncle used to take me to the local strip mines in Pennsylvania to search for fossils, and the layers of sedimentary rock really did fall open under our picks like the thick pages of a book, stamped with all kinds of...
Illustration by Matt Manley of a woman with clocks and spirals in front of her.
The Fall 2012 issue of the North American Review includes my essay "I Am Here, in This Morning Light." It was my second publication ever in what I thought of as a "fancy" journal, which was a big deal for a sixty-year-old woman with no academic background in writing and little knowledge of literary publishing. A woman who often had a hot...
Illustration by Clay Rodery of a man in a suit looking at a machine
In my students’ short stories, characters often move through their world with an absurd sense of urgency. A girl and boy go on a date, fall in love, break up, and get married in a blur of successive scenes, sometimes by page three. An assassin hunts down a dozen targets and picks them off with an efficiency that would make Jason Bourne...
Angel, a photo by Nicolas Poynter. It shows a city and building with an angel sculpture on the tip.
I think about my story “La Bomba Grande” often these days because it begins in Mexico and I have now lived in Mexico for the entire year of 2017. It is the story of a young Mexican woman who figures out the secret of life and God and science, even though she has no formal training in any of those areas. She is then, of course, persecuted for...
My East Meets West, Illustration by Nancy Calef.
Or so the Chinese sage Laozi observed in the Dao De Jing, written 2,500 years ago. Needless to say, this has never kept a writer from writing. Including Laozi himself. He went on to say, "This is what words act like: the universe." Sure, trying to capture the universe in words is an endlessly frustrating vocation, although some might say...
Mary Ann Smith
A few years ago, I had an essay accepted by a literary journal about a stream that ran near my house. After the initial correspondence, the editor asked if I had any pictures to accompany the essay. I sent two, but she wanted more. My younger daughter had recently taken an interest in photography, so that October afternoon we walked along...
Justin Perkins
  The AWP Conference was in Minneapolis in April of 2015. Per usual, I drove to the event carrying books and displays for the Main Street Rag booth. I stopped at the North American Review table to talk to Jeremy Schraffenberger. I proposed a panel that was accepted for the North American Review Conference in June of that year. It occurred...
Kim Herbst
The poem refers to my mother's sisters, who I spent a lot of time with while growing up on the island of Oahu during the 1950s, in what was then still the Territory of Hawaii. Two of them lived with my widowed grandmother—one with her three children, and one who was solo until later in life. (There's a long story there.) I've also written...
Danger in the Journey. An illustration by Christian Ruiz of a bridge with water underneath and dangers within.
The first time I saw my father broken was a revelation. It was the morning after his multiple heart procedures at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Someone had propped him up in a mechanical chair, although his body had no strength, and he was slumped forward, chin to chest. Wires and cords slithered every which way, making me think of a...
Matt Manley
Mike Pazin and I have been friends for a long time—longer than memory allows. Our parents told us how we met in kindergarten, reminded us every time we fought like brothers, told us how close we could become, how fortunate our proximity. Our parents shared a back fence, a small one in the corner of their yards. Mike and I jumped that fence so...
Vlad Alvarez
For years I've listened to people, everyone has, rave about their dentists or doctors, "Why Dr. Brown made the root canal almost painless," or "Grams was smiling right up to the time of her surgery" and, "Dr. Connor did his very best to save her but no one could." Cynic that I am, I've often thought, maybe you didn't need a root canal, maybe...
Clay Rodery
“The Hunger Artist” is a poem from my manuscript-in-progress, Songs of the Isolationist. Songs explores various registers of isolationism—from a pregnant woman’s fear of the baby’s invasion of her body and mind to a naturalized citizen's fear of living in a nation where her outsider status seems not to be remediated through citizenship....
By Anthony Tremmaglia
It is 3 am, and I am awakened by a hissing of wind. The stillness feels like what the inside of a coffin would feel like, the darkness draping outside, punctuated by a silence of stars. I have just dreamt about exorbitant amounts of food and tidal waves, somewhere in a dilapidated community, to which I somehow belong. I want to write. Years...
by Jim Daniels
In October 2017, Challenges to the Dream: The Best of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Awards at Carnegie Mellon University was published by CMU Press. I started the awards, a poetry and prose writing contest, back in 1999. This anthology is a selection of the powerful and imaginative poetry and prose that the Awards have. We invite in local...
By Melanie Lambrick
We'd been driving back roads, cruising for home, flipping through FM stations, searching for a pop station at the request of my children, when I heard Ryan Adams crooning to a cover of “Bad Blood” by Taylor Swift. It was moody, like most of his songs, but good. It was a cover that provided a truly unique twist on the original, which up to...
Image of Girl with Fire
I have two best friends, and they are biological sisters. When one sister’s husband became very ill, some old high school buddy randomly texted, asking me about the husband’s health. When I asked the other sister what was going on, she said (with kindness), “It’s not my story to tell.” The saying has become a catchphrase. It’s a way of saying...

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