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American Literature

If I Were Writing the Great American Novel

Dan Truong | Posted 07.27.2015 | Books
Dan Truong

If I were writing the Great American Novel, I would be white. If I were writing the Great American Novel, I would be 10-20 years older. If I were writing the Great American Novel, I would not look at the Wikipedia page for the Great American Novel daily, as if it held some sort of great and terrible secret that would tell me exactly what to write and how to write it.

The Good Old Days in English Class?

Lev Raphael | Posted 06.18.2015 | College
Lev Raphael

I respect the fact that my course isn't the center of my students' lives; I understand this isn't the 70s or any other decade. It's now, and college has changed drastically.

Why Hemingway

Peter Vaughn | Posted 05.26.2015 | Books
Peter Vaughn

Do not get caught up in the lack of political correctness that follows Hemingway into English Departments and book clubs everywhere. A good writer does not have to be a good guy.

The Great Gatsby in Six Words

Peter Vaughn | Posted 05.26.2015 | Books
Peter Vaughn

I will always tell them that Fitzgerald's novel is a poem disguised as a novel. Much of the novel should be treated more as poetry with its own sets of rules and less like a novel.

Coming Back to Life After a Couple Years of Living Intimately

Jarid Manos | Posted 05.19.2015 | Black Voices
Jarid Manos

While men do things to each other's bodies, and to women too, of course, women largely keep walking forward, shouldering all our mess.

2015 Poetry Month: An Interview With John Ashbery

Jonathan Hobratsch | Posted 06.24.2015 | Books
Jonathan Hobratsch

John Ashbery is the author of nearly 30 books of poetry. He has won nearly every major American poetry award, starting with the Yale Younger Poets Prize in 1956.

Book Review: I Think You're Totally Wrong

Joel Drucker | Posted 05.04.2015 | Books
Joel Drucker

Over the course of four days, authors David Shields and Caleb Powell engaged in a dialogue about a spectrum of topics related to art, family, sports, sex and the many life choices we all make (whether we admit it or not).

The Chekhov of the Red States

M.W. Jacobs | Posted 01.11.2015 | Books
M.W. Jacobs

Antonya Nelson is her name. If you haven't heard of her yet, that may be because she's still something of a writer's writer with book jackets full of arias of praise from the likes of Michael Chabon, Dave Eggers, David Foster Wallace and Raymond Carver.

Dearly Beloved: 100 Years Ago the Last Passenger Pigeon Died

Jarid Manos | Posted 10.30.2014 | Black Voices
Jarid Manos

A hundred years ago, Martha died. At 1 p.m. on September 1, 1914, the last individual of a wild blue dove whose flocks once numbered billions and blackened the American skies for days fell over dead in her Cincinnati zoo cage.

F. Scott Fitzgerald's Last Will and Testament

Anne Margaret Daniel | Posted 08.31.2014 | Books
Anne Margaret Daniel

He died in Hollywood on December 21, 1940, eating a chocolate bar and making notes in pencil on a football story in the Princeton Alumni Weekly. The last words F. Scott Fitzgerald ever wrote complimented the author of the story: "Good prose."

Best Summer Beach Read: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender Is The Night

Anne Margaret Daniel | Posted 08.17.2014 | Books
Anne Margaret Daniel

You needn't be by the sea to read it, of course, for you can see and smell and almost taste the Mediterranean, wherever you are, thanks to Fitzgerald's magical words.

Philip Roth Reads One Last Time

Anne Margaret Daniel | Posted 07.14.2014 | Books
Anne Margaret Daniel

Roth's reading brought tears to anyone who has buried someone beloved. Yet what flowed from it was nowise morbid or even poetically elegiac. Nostalgic, yes, for the eighty years just past, but realistic about them too -- and above all historic.

Lesbian Author Tackles Edmund White, Gains a Deeper Understanding of the Gay Icon, the Writer, the Human Being

Janet Mason | Posted 07.08.2014 | Books
Janet Mason

When I heard about his latest book, I decided that it was time to read Edmund White. As a lesbian writer, I have very little in common with White, but as I kept reading Inside a Pearl, what I found was an Edmund White I could relate to -- one who could lay his life on the page.

Damned Beautiful: F. Scott Fitzgerald Unexpurgated

Anne Margaret Daniel | Posted 07.06.2014 | Books
Anne Margaret Daniel

That Fitzgerald intended some of the stories in Taps at Reveille to be brutal and unpleasant is clear. The title itself indicates that we wake up to death. T It's also unsurprising to find Fitzgerald could use words as weapons, coarse language to create.

5 Questions for Poets: Part 5

Jonathan Hobratsch | Posted 06.28.2014 | Books
Jonathan Hobratsch

Some of America's top poets respond to questions by readers of poetry in this final blog for National Poetry Month 2014.

5 Questions for Poets: Part 4

Jonathan Hobratsch | Posted 06.17.2014 | Books
Jonathan Hobratsch

In the 4th part of the National Poetry Month blog, I ask America's best poets to answer five more questions by readers of poetry.

5 Questions for Poets: Part 3

Jonathan Hobratsch | Posted 06.14.2014 | Books
Jonathan Hobratsch

"I know a handful (if not a heartful) of poems by heart. Lines surface and go under. They keep me company, whether on the tip of my tongue or in the basement of my unconsciousness."

5 Questions for Poets: Part 2

Jonathan Hobratsch | Posted 06.08.2014 | Books
Jonathan Hobratsch

Last week, some of America's top poets answered five questions from a pool of questions offered by readers of poetry for National Poetry Month. In this second part of the series, our poets tackle five more of their questions.

'The Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray', 'Foolish Hearts': Gay Love and Marriage?

Janet Mason | Posted 06.02.2014 | Books
Janet Mason

Love makes the world go round. And when it comes to LGBT civil rights, love is what all the fuss is all about. Two recent books from Cleis Press (both published in 2013) brought the idea of love to the forefront of my mind, in very different ways.

5 Questions for Poets: Part 1

Jonathan Hobratsch | Posted 06.01.2014 | Books
Jonathan Hobratsch

I have decided to celebrate National Poetry Month by submitting questions by readers of poetry to some of the top poets writing in America today.

The One-Day Guide to New Orleans' Literary Landmarks

WHERE | Posted 05.07.2014 | Travel

Each spring bibliophiles and Brando buffs flock to the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival to pay homage to the late great playwright, who penned A Streetcar Named Desire in what he called his "spiritual home."

Langston Hughes: A Life Dreamed in Letters

Afaa Michael Weaver | Posted 04.05.2014 | Black Voices
Afaa Michael Weaver

Hughes' was a courage we speak of when we speak of great people, people of an imponderable depth of spirit. He gave his life to his work, and to his people, and to his nation in the face of adversity that would crush most aspiring poets.

Sins of the Father: 'Truth Like the Sun' Reviewed

Sunny Bjerk | Posted 01.23.2014 | Books
Sunny Bjerk

Ultimately, this novel's strength resides in its depictions of characters whose ethics and motivations occupy a liminal, grey space between good and bad, moral and immoral.

F. Scott Fitzgerald, Zelda Sayre, and Montgomery, Alabama in 2013

Anne Margaret Daniel | Posted 01.23.2014 | Arts
Anne Margaret Daniel

Last week I joined close to 200 Fitzgerald scholars, admirers, students, readers, and teachers from all over the world -- though readers, and admirers, serves to define us all.

Learning to Write About New York

Terence Clarke | Posted 11.30.2013 | New York
Terence Clarke

I lived in Manhattan for two years, during the late 1990s, and felt, the whole time, that I was little more than a tourist. I was aware of John Updike's remark that "the true New Yorker secretly believes that people living anywhere else have to be, in some sense, kidding."