September 2000

An Interview with Louise Glück

Jonathan Farmer
Louise Glück, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, critic, and teacher, shares events that have shaped the composition of her poetry over the past 30 years.


Adjunct Activism: Maintaining the Professionalism & Integrity of Academic Life

Liesl Swogger

Dr. Gary Zabel, a part-time professor of philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Boston (UMass), remembers what his professional life was like before the part-timers at UMass organized independently of the full-time faculty: serious depressions as a result of demoralizing working conditions, inferior status for part-timers within the university, and the part-timers' knowledge that "however many publications you have, however stellar your student evaluations are... no matter what you do, your condition (as a part-timer) makes you inferior." The practical result is that "when a full time job opens up... (the part-timer's) candidacy is not taken seriously."


From Long Shots to X-Rays: Distance & Point of View in Fiction Writing

David Jauss

In his story "Hills Like White Elephants," Ernest Hemingway places us at a table outside a train station in Spain. Sitting at the table beside us are a man and a woman who are waiting for the train to arrive, and for the bulk of the story, we eavesdrop on their conversation, just as we might in real life. And also just as in real life, we cannot enter into their minds; we can only hear what they say and see what they do. This objective point of view is called "dramatic," for it imitates the conventions of drama, which does not report thoughts, only words and deeds.


An Interview with C. Michael Curtis

Lee Miller

C. Michael Curtis, a Senior Editor of The Atlantic Monthly since 1963, is now in his 38th year as The Atlantic editor who works most closely with short fiction. Before The Atlantic, Curtis completed four years of study toward a PhD in government at Cornell University, where he earned his BA in English in 1956. Prior to graduate school he had worked as a newspaper reporter for The Ithaca Journal and as an editorial assistant at both Newsweek and the New York Daily News. He edits virtually all of The Atlantic's fiction, as well as various nonfiction pieces.


Busting the New Breed of Plagiarist

Michael Bugeja

A few years ago you couldn't bust plagiarists electronically because they were too lazy to learn how to use the Internet.


The Other Creative Writing

Michael Pearson

Creative writing is the art of storytelling, an art as elemental as fire and the circle of civilization. Poetry goes back to our farthest dreams of the past, joining language to our very heartbeats. Writing fiction, or telling lies to find the truth, is as old as Scheherazade and Odysseus, and playwriting is an ancient and respected activity. Our most sacrosanct anthologies include poetry, fiction, and drama, but rarely, and only very recently, do any include nonfiction as literature. If we see a mention of Edward Gibbon or James Boswell, it is most often as historian and biographer, not as literary artists. The Norton anthologies appropriately include modern fiction writers like John Cheever, Joyce Carol Oates, and Ralph Ellison, but where are E.B. White, John Hersey, or Joseph Mitchell? Where are we to place Joseph Mitchell's The Bottom of the Harbor, Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, Tom Wolfe's The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, John McPhee's Coming Into the Country, Joan Didion's Slouching Toward Bethlehem, Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire, or Frank McCourt's recent bestseller Angela's Ashes? Where do we include this literature made not of imagined reality but of verifiable fact, this literature that holds fast to historical truth even as it pursues a truth beyond the facts. Where do we place this "other" creative writing?


A Note on Poetic Form

Michael Ryan

"...the best poets care about the poem as a made thing as much as about what it says, and to them the two are as inseparable as a word and its sound."