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CRAFT ESSAYS, ELEMENTS, and TALKS

alt text: image is a color photograph of a few birds flying in an overcast sky; title card for the craft essay "Art of the Opening: Microcosm to Macrocosm" by Albert Liau

The Art of the Opening: Microcosm to Macrocosm

July 25, 2022

  How “The Ghost Birds” Spreads Its Wings after Taking the Leap By Albert Liau • How does a story begin to enchant us? When speaking with First Draft host Mitzi Rapkin, Richard Powers seems to suggest an answer: “You…

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alt text: image is a color photograph of tangled thread; title card for the craft essay "In the Expanded Field: The Lyric Essay & Genre Queerness" by Katy Scarlett

In the Expanded Field: The Lyric Essay & Genre Queerness

July 15, 2022

  By Katy Scarlett • In 1979, Rosalind Krauss published her now-famous essay “Sculpture in the Expanded Field,” which explored how new forms of three-dimensional art-making borrowed from sculpture, monument, architecture, interior and landscape design. She writes, “as the 1960s began…

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Hybrid Interview: Sara Lippmann

May 31, 2022

  Essay by Michelle Ross • Since the first time I read a Sara Lippmann story, I’ve been smitten. Among the inventory of qualities I admire is her wit, her raw honesty, her faith in her readers’ ability to keep…

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Radical Empathy via Free Indirect Speech: Luis Alberto Urrea’s “Mountains Without Number”

May 17, 2022

  By Anne Elliott • One of the noble aims of fiction is the fostering of empathy across difference, including difference of beliefs. Most difficult for me is finding empathy for those with unpalatable beliefs. Softening my gaze puts my…

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Conversations Between Friends: Gale Massey and Louise Marburg

March 29, 2022

  Gale Massey and Louise Marburg met in 2016 at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference over a tarot card consultation. Discovering a shared interest in exploring the dark side of human nature, they immediately clicked and have been friends and writing…

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alt text: image is a color photograph of a rabbit with its identity obscured by a black bar; title card for Lee Upton's new craft essay "Never Rush a Rabbit"

Never Rush a Rabbit: Prey Animals & Choices in Fiction

March 15, 2022

  By Lee Upton • Probably like many writers I’m protective toward my characters—even though I put them in impossible situations or give them unfulfillable longings. I pretty much pickle them in vulnerability. Sometimes I let them avoid any action…

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Hybrid Interview: Rebecca Kuder

March 8, 2022

  Essay by Jahzerah Brooks • The Eight Mile Suspended Carnival is, at its core, a story about tearing down and building up. In this debut novel set against the backdrop of a working carnival and a wartime munitions factory,…

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lt text: image is a sepia photograph of a forest entrance; title card for the new craft essay "Hauntings of the Past, Hauntings of the Future: Crafting Dreams in Fiction" by @AudreyTCarroll

Hauntings of the Past, Hauntings of the Future: Crafting Dreams in Fiction

March 1, 2022

  By Audrey T. Carroll • Dreams have woven their way into fiction from The Iliad to The Lord of the Rings and beyond. They can, of course, serve all kinds of purposes—deepening understanding of a character’s fears, desires, or…

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alt text: image is a color photograph of sliced watermelons; title card for the craft essay "Gurov's Watermelon" by Patrick Thomas Henry

Gurov’s Watermelon: Prop Work as Character Work in Anton Chekhov’s “The Lady with the Pet Dog”

February 15, 2022

  By Patrick Thomas Henry • Wherever I write, I stow props: photographs and notebooks, found objects, mementoes of life away from the page. Despite my effort to shake off the strictures of my own workshop experiences, I still believe…

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Hybrid Interview: Ira Sukrungruang

December 14, 2021

  Essay by Sam Risak • Author of a combined six books of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, Richard L. Thomas Professor of Creative Writing at Kenyon College, and president of the literary nonprofit Sweet: A Literary Confection, Ira Sukrungruang…

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