We Build It Ourselves
A roundtable on race, power, and the writing workshop
Things We Lost to the Water
Eric Nguyen whose debut novel, Things We Lost to the Water, was published in May by Knopf.
THE FIELD OF STORIES
IN HER NEW MEMOIR, POET WARRIOR, PUBLISHED BY W. W. NORTON IN SEPTEMBER, U.S. POET LAUREATE JOY HARJO TRAVELS THE ROADS, RIVERS, AND RHYTHMS OF HER LIFE, TAKING READERS ON A JOURNEY ACROSS GENERATIONS AND SINGING POWERFUL LESSONS ON THE CYCLICAL NATURE OF TIME AND BECOMING.
The Other Black Girl
Zakiya Dalila Harris introduced by Maurice Carlos Ruffin
Your Career On The Line
Writers and agents discuss “The Call”
How We REMEMBER
WITH HIS FIRST NONFICTION BOOK, HOW THE WORD IS PASSED, PUBLISHED IN JUNE BY LITTLE, BROWN, POET AND SCHOLAR CLINT SMITH DELVES INTO THE LEGACY OF SLAVERY ALIVE IN MONUMENTS AND LANDMARKS WITHIN AND BEYOND THE UNITED STATES, IN AN IMMERSIVE READ THAT EXQUISITELY DEPICTS HOW A NATION AND ITS INHABITANTS REMEMBER ITS HISTORY.
Lee Lai introduced
Ehrlich Speaks to Mother-Writers
Lara Ehrlich, author of the short story collection Animal Wife (Red Hen Press, 2020), has a deep narrative investment in the ways the world denies women power and agency. In October 2020 that commitment took a new shape with the first episode of her podcast, Writer Mother Monster, a much-needed balm for those of us balancing mothering and writing in the midst of a global pandemic. Aimed at dismantling the myth that women can “have it all,” her podcast is a series of interviews with mother-writers working in all genres, at varied points in their careers, who candidly discuss the joys and complications of that dual identity. Ehrlich, herself a mother-writer—her daughter turns five this year—spoke about what she has gleaned from these exchanges and how they’ve influenced her own approach.
A Decade of Women Who Submit
For the past decade an international community of women and nonbinary writers have been working to claim space for themselves in an industry historically dominated by men. Known as Women Who Submit (WWS), the group supports and empowers its members to submit their work in spite of publishing’s inequities. Their achievements have been extraordinary: This July, the organization celebrates its tenth year, with twenty-seven chapters across the United States and Mexico, more than one hundred fifty successful book and magazine publication credits by its members in 2020, and a devoted community of writers, editors, and publishers.
Saddle Up and Read
A young reader finds an attentive audience during a July 2020 farm visit.
SOME THOUGHTS ON ORDER—IN POETRY, IN LIFE
Revising the Dream
Publishing a debut novel in an uncertain world
New Ways of Surviving
Writing through a global pandemic
Neither muscle nor mouth
Neither muscle nor mouth / devoted to one way of speaking. Every language // I borrow from somewhere else,” writes Threa Almontaser in The Wild Fox of Yemen (Graywolf Press, April 2021), winner of the Walt Whitman Award. In her debut Almontaser summons the language of her ancestors and family members, poets both contemporary and historical, experimental rock bands and rappers, and many more, to fashion an idiom that is both rebellious and reverent. Dedicated to the people of Yemen, the book offers a portrait of a country and its history and future. “Yemen has such an ancient and rich history, but with its current collapse, search engines show only the sad photos of starving kids,” says Almontaser. “I wanted to portray not only the war, but the beauty of Arabia Felix, of what it could still return to being.”
Pandemic Pen Pals
Nupur Chaudhury, a public health strategist living in New York City, grew up in the nineties sending letters through the mail. She received weekly aerograms from relatives in India; she corresponded with a pen pal in Texas; her father even took her to admire the post office’s new stamps every month. But as she grew older, Chaudhury says, “E-mail became more popular, and I really put that writing part of me to the side”—that is, until she came across the pen pal exchange Penpalooza on Twitter in August 2020.
Pandemic Writing Group
Finding Creativity, Community, and Play
Writers Confront Climate Crisis
Author and activist Toni Cade Bambara has said the role of the artist is “to make revolution irresistible.” So when Jenny Offill, author of the novels Dept. of Speculation (Knopf, 2014) and Weather (Knopf, 2020), heard about the work of Writers Rebel—the writers’ arm of Extinction Rebellion, an international activist group that works against climate change—she felt compelled to get involved.
A Room of (Almost) My Own
Finding space, and permission, to write
In her third book, the essay collection girlhood, published by Bloomsbury in March, Melissa Febos transforms scars into meditations on culture and psychology.
The Smudge and the Scrawl
Inside the Writer’s Notebook
Little Libraries, Big Impact
Early in March a box was erected outside the Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans (AAMA) in Houston.
What We Ought to Do: THE SONG OF IMBOLO MBUE
In her second novel, How Beautiful We Were, Imbolo Mbue uses the chorus of voices in a small African village fighting for justice in the shadow of an American oil company to sing in celebration of community, connection, and enduring hope.
Grants Celebrate Disability Culture
In October, twenty disabled artists were announced as the first class of Disability Futures Fellows and received grants of $50,000 each, to be used in whatever way is most useful in supporting their work.
The magic of sitting down to play
Akbar Edits Poetry of the Nation
In September the Nation, a bastion of progressive journalism since 1865, welcomed Kaveh Akbar as its newest poetry editor, succeeding Stephanie Burt and Carmen Giménez Smith.
Books Offer Lifeline in Incarceration
In the first letter Danny Harris wrote to Gary Fine from solitary confinement, he made what seemed to Fine like a simple request.
A New Chapter
The board is very pleased that Melissa accepted our invitation to lead the organization forward.a
A Life in Poetry
Our sixteenth annual look at debut poets
HOW TO SEEK PERMISSIONS
The Time Is Now
Writing Prompts and Exercises