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.
With Our Mouths Open: An Interview with Sarah Gambito on Food and Lyrical Sweetness
I feel like we’re in such tumultuous times right now, and we need to uphold the linked roles of artists and audience—so how do we activate each equally, right? I’m less interested in the how the artist performs, where there’s this sort of passivity in the audience—not that that’s not a lovely thing, it’s a lovely thing. But I’m interested in how you get the audience to act towards, in some ways, what it is you’re doing.
The Blues of Grace: An Interview with Lauren K. Alleyne
You know the “poetry noise” people make—it’s like, “Oh” [released breath]. I feel like that’s the sound of the poem connecting; that’s the sound that these words have landed somewhere, and you’ve received them. That exchange, or possibility of exchange, between a poet and poem or a reader and listener—I think that’s what grace is made of sometimes.
In Pursuit of Pursuit: An Interview with Karen Olsson
I think with novel writing or narrative book writing in general, you have to have a journeyman approach. You cannot expect to be inspired through three hundred pages of prose. My attitude is just to go to work in the morning, clock in, and sit down there, because often it’s when you’re not inspired and you make yourself sit there that something happens you didn’t think was going to happen.
Time Traveling for a Treat of Representation: An Interview with Anel I. Flores
My existence is political, because it goes against what the conservative right wants for the country, people, and community. Just the pure act of being a queer person and a Chicana author who loves expressing herself through her body and expressing herself through her body is a political act.
Seeds of Delight: A Conversation with Ross Gay
As far as maintaining wonder—I think looking closely at anything does that. You know, you look at a dandelion closely for a little while, notice the million flowers in the one, and suddenly—you know.
Cutting Everything Up and Putting it Back Together: An Interview with Jerika Marchan
Memory is so faulty anyway. Mistakes that I made for that work were like, Listen, these are not facts. Stuff happened, and other people think that Katrina was a natural disaster. Katrina was not necessarily just a natural disaster. Katrina was a political disaster. Katrina was man made, because institutions let certain populations go. Not many people will see it that way.