December 2011

The Importance of Literary Prizes

Daniel D'Angelo
Writers find prizes important because they bring at least a little fame, a little cash, and hopefully a prominent publication. Eminent prizes help to launch the careers of little-known or scarcely successful writers (think of Jaimy Gordon's National Book Award win for Lord of Misrule); they drive sales, they provide focus for the zeitgeist, and they reify greatness in the form of a medal, a check, or publicity that leads to employment.

An Interview with Natasha Trethewey

Christian Teresi
...I'm trying to avoid making interpretive mistakes. I'm trying not to impose my experience in the contemporary moment on a moment in history. A misreading of a painting or photograph could lead to that.

The Stars, the Snow, the Fire: Reading John Haines

Sheryl St. Germain
Haines evokes the whole of the Alaskan landscape its muscular, foreign beauty that must be discovered through mindfulness and deep attention, the skills of hunter and poet.

The Absence of Their Presence: Mythic Character in Fiction

Steven Schwartz
Under most circumstances the goal of fiction is to illuminate character, whereas in these cases it is equally to disguise.


Revaluing the Novella

Kyle Semmel
By not recognizing the "novella" as a potentially powerful type of fiction in its own right, distinct from short stories and novels, many publishers, in effect, tell both readers and writers that the novella is a stranger we really don't want to let enter into our house.

The Inner Identity of Immersion Memoir

Suzanne Farrell Smith
Can immersion memoir be considered a genre or subgenre? Genre nonfiction, so to speak? Is there an inner identity to it? A set of guidelines? AN IDEOLOGY?

Editing The Penguin Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry: An Interview with Rita Dove

Editing an anthology is an audacious act of discernment. Whom and what does the editor include? Whom and what does the editor leave out? When the staff of the Writer’s Chronicle heard that Rita Dove was editing an anthology of 20th-century poetry, we worried about her.