Smaller Casualties: An Interview with Abby E. Murray
Writing poetry in times of upheaval destabilizes and dismantles, but it also grounds and connects. It frees us. It’s an art that cannot be extracted from its creator.
The Truth of Beauty: An Interview with Erika Sánchez
I feel like I’ve inherited these traumas in some ways. I also think about metaphysical borders and spiritual borders and emotional borders . . . It’s not just the physical Mexican-American border—it’s much more than that.
The Power of Voice in Poetry: A Conversation with Adrian Matejka
When a poem works, you feel it. You don’t feel it in your brain. You feel it in your shoulder blades and in your chest. Sometimes you feel along your arms because there are goosebumps. That’s where the poem settles itself—entirely in the body. It’s going back home. The poem is coming from the body and going back to it.
“A Good Story Haunts You”: Exploring the Intersection of Art and Activism with Luis J. Rodriguez
Good stories aren’t just beginning, middle, and ending, and entertaining. That’s fine, those are of value. But a good story haunts you for a while. There’s something in there you want to keep thinking about and maybe go back to that story again. That’s what I think a good writer should do: keep haunting the reader for a while, about what you’re saying, about how or why, so that the reader says, “I can’t just let it go.”
Play and the Spirit of Resistance in Writing: A Conversation with Jamel Brinkley
I like that you can hold an entire short story in your mind, more or less. There may be bits and pieces that you miss, but it’s nice to be able to hold a little narrative in your mind, in your hands.
The Poetics of Witchcraft: An Interview with Faylita Hicks
I want women from all backgrounds to find power in who they are and define how they fit into the world. They are allowed to be upset and angry over the things that have happened to them. HoodWitch is about righteous anger and about taking back the things women have lost.
Reviving the Beauty of a Nightmare: An Interview with Carmen Maria Machado
But it’s okay to wait, to try to find the right language and to find the right word. Because it isn’t enough to just transfer the pain of your body to the page: it has to be interesting, it has to beautiful, it has to do something for the audience or else it’s just secondhand pain.
Empathy, Pain, and Power in Literature: A Conversation with Viet Thanh Nguyen
The dominant normative tendency is to say literature is unmarked by many things, including politics, and that is the power of ideology in American society, and in American literature, and in American MFA programs, as far as I can tell. And it leaves, in the United States, those marked as international or minority writers in the position of constantly harping on the political. It’s a mutually reinforcing cycle; we’re going to keep on talking about it because we’re in that contradiction.