September 2008

Angelic Orders: The Work of Ralph Angel

Jack Myers
An even larger aspect of this feature of obliqueness can be grasped in the sculptural, gestalt quality of Angel's poems. They feel composed of felt-space and the silences of alienation that are threaded throughout by a carefully selected, inward-radiating array of imagery that expresses the speaker's desire for connectedness.

The Meandering River: An Overview of the Subgenres of Creative Nonfiction

Sue William Silverman
...compared to biography or autobiography, an immersion essay or book gives the reader access to a deeper, more emotionally authentic exploration of the author's subject. This isn't a straight, factual recounting as with a journalist's "who, what, when, where, and why" questions either. The immersion writer guides the reader on an emotional as well as a factual journey.


An Interview with Carol Anshaw

Jeanie Chung
Carol Anshaw is the author of three novels: Aquamarine (1992), which won the Carl Sandburg Award, the Society of Midland Authors Award, and was ranked 37th on the Publishing Triangle's list of the 100 most important gay/lesbian books of all time; Seven Moves (1996); and Lucky in the Corner (2002), which won the Ferro Grumley Award. A former book and movie critic, she has received the National Book Critics Circle Citation for Excellence in Reviewing for her work at the Village Voice. In 2006, Chicago's Newcity magazine named her as one of its "Lit 50," most influential contemporary literary figures in Chicago. She teaches at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago.

The Language of the Spirit: An Interview with Scott Russell Sanders

Tom Montgomery Fate
The tradition of the American essay includes a handful of esteemed writers such as E.B. White, James Baldwin, Joan Didion, Wendell Berry, and Annie Dillard. Scott Russell Sanders, a long-time English professor at Indiana University, and the author of over twenty books, would also seem to warrant membership in this inner circle––one of the few masters of the personal essay. His essay collections, such as The Paradise of Bombs, Staying Put, The Force of Spirit, Hunting for Hope, and Writing from the Center, all demonstrate a rare honesty and emotional acuity which often enables readers to find pieces of their own lives in his. These books, like all of Sanders's work (including his novels and short story collections) explore many interrelated themes: the complex inner workings of family, the degradation and preservation of the natural world, the essential role of place in understanding self and community, and the challenges of the writing/teaching life. What is significant about his most recent books, however (including his memoir, A Private History of Awe), is how he weaves these thematic foci with another central focus of his work: the role of spirituality in writing.

The Interval in Writing: What Happens Between Pussycats & Thugs Does Not Stay Between Pussycats & Thugs

Brian Baldi
...the greater the conceptual distance between two freshly affiliated stylistic choices, the more tension is created, and the greater the propulsion.

On Poetry, Politics, & Publishing: A Conversation with Martin Espada

Bruce Allen Dick & Andres Fisher
The son of a Puerto Rican father and a Jewish mother, Martín Espada was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1957. Besides practicing law, he has worked as a radio correspondent in Nicaragua, an advocate for the mentally ill, a clerk in a hotel for transients, a groundskeeper in a baseball park, and a bouncer in a bar. His work-related experiences, in particular those as a legal services lawyer and as an advocate for the poor, often inspire his poetry.

Narrative & Poetry

Natasha Sajé
The web of assumptions that a culture deems normal is so embedded in the social fabric that it can be very hard-and extremely slow-to change. For instance, a culture that assumes the dominance of the white race considers it the default, while dark skin is noteworthy; male dominance is assumed in the default use of male pronouns.