September 2009

Like Water Remembering Light: An Interview with Marilyn Nelson

Leslie McGrath
Marilyn Nelson's distinguished career as a teacher, poet, and translator has done much to broaden poetry's readership as well as give voice to some of the rich and harrowing stories of African American history. Born in Cleveland, Ohio on April 26, 1946 to a teacher and a Tuskegee airman, Nelson lived on a number of military bases before attending the University of California at Davis, from which she received her BA. She later earned her MA from the University of Pennsylvania (1970) and her PhD from the University of Minnesota (1979).

The Hermit of Croisset: Flaubert's Fiercely Enduring Perfectionism

Richard Goodman
It doesn't matter to us that Flaubert wrote in French, and not English, because the pursuit of the exact word-and all other forms of artistic excellence he strove for-knows no linguistic barrier.

Far From Ordinary: An Interview with Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Amy Yelin
Author Amy Krouse Rosenthal broke convention with her 2005 memoir, Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life (EOAOL). The book, released in the U.K. in 2008, was praised everywhere from NPR to CNN for its unique format as well as its witty and universal insights on what the author refers to as "the ordinary stuff of daily life." named it a top ten memoir of 2005.

Egoless Versus Vainglorious Prose: The Styles of Paul Bowles and James Salter

Jay Kauffmann
What constitutes style, what creates that distinctive stamp of authorial character? Why, for instance, does Faulkner favor long sentences and Hemingway short? And why does Saul Bellow use slang words while Paul Bowles avoids them at all cost? Cynthia Ozick once said that "more can be found about a writer in any single sentence... than in five or ten full-scale biographies."2 Style, if we break it down, is a composite of minute, highly personal decisions that gather, one after another, and the result is the author's signature. This signature could not be more unique or pronounced than in the cases of James Salter and Paul Bowles. In fact, one could say that they stand as polar opposites in terms of prose style, voice, and narrative approach.

The Way to Winesburg

Claude Clayton Smith
Winesburg, Ohio, Sherwood Anderson's classic short-story collection that functions as a novel, is the book by which the literary world has come to know the small-town Midwest. It ranks twenty-fourth on The Modern Library list of the 100 best novels of the 20th century.

Stranger Things

Debra Spark



How We Are Changed by the Rhythms of Poetry

Karin de Weille
The voice is arranged into specific patterns of sound and intensity, and the corresponding feeling-whether of calm or elation, rage or depression, confusion or expansion-is generated. The movement is of energy through the body, not ideas through the mind.