October/November 2000

Bend Sinister: A Handbook for Writers

Alice McDermott

I am wary of any advice to fiction writers that smacks of "how to."


An Interview with Yusef Komunyakaa

E. Ethelbert Miller & Zoe Anglesey
The unexpected, jazz-inflected rhythms of Yusef Komunyakaa's poetry—in a candid interview, the prize-winning poet and teacher shares his work.

Ann Stanford: In Memoriam

Carol Muske-Dukes

When I met Ann Stanford, I thought of her as a kind of Vanishing Woman-she managed a great "impersonation of an ordinary woman," as in James Merrill's description of Elizabeth Bishop. I met her a year or so after I moved to L.A. from New York City. We were introduced (no, she came across a lawn, holding out her hand to me!) at the Atheneum on the Caltech campus. It was a literary cocktail party crowded with writers wandering the dramatic gardens. She shook my hand vigorously. She was an open-faced, light-haired, tanned woman, looking very much like a Beverly Hills matron, which it turned out that she was-and was not. That was her disguise-she could seem "not there"-and yet was most emphatically there, her eyes penetrating, her manner intense. It seemed to me at the time that she was of that generation of literary women who either became "flamboyant" or chose self-effacement as a tactic of survival-she had, after all, studied at Stanford with Yvor Winters!-and it occurred to me at the time that there was no middle ground for those women.


An Interview with Elizabeth McCracken

Sarah Anne Johnson

Elizabeth McCracken is the author of the short-storyt collection Here's Your Hat, What's Your Hurry and the novel The Giant's House. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a degree in library science from Drexel University.


A Tax Break for Writers

Ronald Goldfarb

Writers, take note.


Breaking into Book Publishing

Benjamin Boyce Crader



On the Poetry of Ann Stanford

Maxine Scates

Ann Stanford was a poet whose poetry was both grounded in place and haunted by its erosion:


Entertaining the Eavesdropper

Douglas Bauer

"Well-crafted dialogue sounds as though its speakers are conversing exclusively, while it is also utterly mindful of the reader... It's a delicate balancing act..."


Riley: A Story About Writing & Teaching

Tracy Daugherty

As a teacher of writing for over 13 years now, I've done my share of emotional counseling off the cuff, though I always tell my classes writing isn't therapy-if you weren't mentally stressed before trying to write a short story, you certainly will be after the attempt.


Blurbs, Authorial & Otherwise

Kevin Jackson

You know the form, I know the form, everyone knows the form. It goes something like this:


Your're Only Young Twice

Tim Morris

I teach in a university English department in which adults, children, power, and culture are strongly linked. The nature of the connections, however, is frequently ignored. We require our majors to take a course in children's literature if they are seeking teacher certification. Our children's literature courses are always full, but always taught by adjunct faculty. Children's literature is neglected in hiring plans and curriculum discussions, even though its study accounts for a large percentage of our undergraduate enrollment. We offer no graduate courses in children's literature, have no lecture series, or other activities devoted to it. Our library holdings in children's books consist of a few hundred ragged volumes of school texts closeted off in an airless room. These signs of neglect are no accident; they are part of a larger power relation.