instagram logo tumblr icon

Nonfiction

Gouache

The story about Beauty came to me in a conversation with a good friend who was asking about the origins of Louisiana Creole people. One thing that kept rising to the surface was this idea that Creoles (especially women) are generally known for their beauty and not much else. Of course, Louisiana Creole women have so many other attributes, as women of other cultural and ethnic backgrounds have, but our supposed beauty is something that arrives over and over again in our family narratives. So...

One question I ask other writers is what sounds stimulate their writing––silence, electronica, mud pools, rain showers, foreign film soundtracks, a woman in the next room boiling water. This is because I have a particular kind of synesthesia, known as chromesthesia, in which many pieces of music I hear are twinned with distinct visual experiences. There are exceptions, and in those cases, the sounds can induce a full range of emotional responses with no visual complements. Occasionally,...

I used to think that my task as a writer was to form a piece. To shape it. To give it any meaning and chance for beauty it might have by allowing paragraphs and a story arc to determine its direction.

But I was wrong.  It was exactly the opposite. A piece of writing, in fact, often forms us. Our work shapes us, not the other way around. We need to return to our “finished” work as if it were a calibrated compass showing us where we ought to go.

...

I wrote my first book manuscript, Return of the Lost Son, in nine years over a fifteen-year period. It’s a memoir of my father’s life told through an ensemble of characters. I began writing the book in Mexico City in 2000. I was 28 years old, living in Mexico for a stay of six months, with my wife, Jennifer Jolly, an art historian. We had traveled to Mexico one or two times, previously, for about a week. In “My Own Lost Mexico,” I wrote about those first pressing questions about...

American Eye: What Makes Bernie Run? by Stephen Minot was featured in issue 274.4.

In the December 1989 issue of North American Review, Stephen Minot began his profile of Bernie Sanders with the following:

“The political career of Bernard Sanders is a succession of impossible events. How does an outspoken socialist from Brooklyn become mayor of Burlington, Vermont? How...

Shoe

A few years ago, a writer named Matthew Batt (check out his great book Sugarhouse) visited my school in Florida to read. As part of the gig, he talked to my creative nonfiction class and opened with the question: What pair of shoes do you remember best?  Students I had been trying to coax out of their shells all semester long finally emerged to share vivid, funny, and...

My essay, "Rays," appears in the 301.2, Spring 2016, issue of North American Review. I'm particularly happy about the publication of this personal narrative. "Rays" affirms my hope that the prose I'm most proud of might also have value to others. This piece inspired me to write more creative-nonfiction and inevitably led to my book-length collection, Harbors,...

“As if the world were not what we make it, pulled by dogs down streets so dark, the sound of a river is almost a kind of light.” Let me be clear, I lifted this line from George Looney’s Animals Housed in the Pleasures of the Flesh nearly two decades ago, and I’ve been carrying it around with me ever since. The sentiments in this verse form currents, of course, in much of my writing. Primarily, my...

When I give a poetry reading, I usually try to wear something bright. I will wear my sweater featuring kissing penguins or a sundress with hot air balloons on it. I do this not because I want to look like the poet version of Zooey Deschanel, but because people usually approach me afterwards looking like they want to tuck a Zoloft prescription into my hands, and they all ask the same question: “Are you okay?” And I get it. I do. I write about heartbreak and death and proselytize the Gospel of...

With the earthiness of mushrooms, black pepper, unsweetened cocoa, and ground coffee, these darkly delicious “Doom Cakes” will help you access the duende of any experience. For me, the culinary experimentation that resulted in this wicked concoction was directly related to Strauss’s Zarathustra, Kubrick’s 2001, the 9...

Pages

FIND US:
North American Review
1200 West 23rd Street
Cedar Falls, IA 50613

CONTACT US:
Phone: 319-273-6455
Email: nar@uni.edu

FOLLOW US:

instagram logo tumblr icon

 

SUBSCRIBE TO US:

Go to Online Store

Up to Top