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Censorship tends to be understood as something imposed upon a writer or artist from the outside, a force that often means well, e.g. to protect children from exposure to harsh words etc. I understand these needs, and I feel obliged to protect children too especially since I have a six-year-old boy.

However, there is another kind of censorship that is more insidious or unwholesome for artists and writers, and that is when we decide for whatever reasons to clean up words, images and...

Ian Randall Wilson discusses his history with the North American Review and how it demonstrates determination during his early career. His short story, "The Great Lermentov," appeared in our most recent issue, 300.3, summer 2015.  


“The purpose of music is to quiet the mind, thus making it susceptible to divine influences.”
¬--John Cage

“Such a night
Such a night
Sweet confusion
Under the moonlight”
--Dr. John

"FLOKI"I become drunk, seduced, and led...

Paul Crenshaw blog

The assignment is this: explicate your favorite song as we have been explicating poetry for the last several weeks in Introduction to Literature. I get mostly the usual: Britney Spears or Kelly Clarkson from the sorority girls; some Dylan...


Where do writers get their ideas? Well, if they are writing prose, their ideas evolve one way. If, on the other hand, they are writing poetry, their ideas evolve another way. Perhaps some distinctions are in order. Distinguishing the difference between prose and poetry...

Fan fiction is the red-headed stepchild of the writing world.  It searches for a home among reputable houses but, walking that fine line between plagiarism and hackneyed parody, it’s forced to live in the leaky, damp cardboard box in the dank and dingy alley outside, hoping tonight’s trash yields more than banana peels and half-burnt muffins for dinner.  The fact that it’s directly responsible for such...

I remember watching this video of Robert Bly when I was in my early twenties. He was asking the audience, “So, you want to be a poet? Do you have about fifty years?” Yes, of course, I thought to myself. I do have fifty years if that’s what it takes. I’d been writing poems since I was seven, and I knew I still had quite a few more bad poems to write—real stinkers—before I got any good.


I don't recall which celebrity had supposedly died, but a wire service had scooped the competition with an obituary and the news spread from there. Soon thereafter the celebrity issued a press release, not as witty as "the report of my death was an exaggeration", but in the same vein. Red-faced, the news service retracted the obituary. I suspect they eventually republished the obituary more-or-less verbatim when the personality passed away, much like an accountant getting a customer's credit...

“Writers are a funny breed,” the Jane Siberry song goes.  Indeed.

I’ve always admired writers willing—or forced to—abstain from writing for extended periods of time, who go through spurts and then return to the world of the living.  I think of Jean Rhys (who didn’t write for years).  I think of Toni Morrison—who has talked...


When I wrote “Living at Tree Line” some ten years ago, I had never before written a braided...


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Phone: 319-273-6455


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