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CRAFT ESSAYS, ELEMENTS, and TALKS

Nonfiction Explosions: THE BEST OF BREVITY

February 16, 2021

  By Jacqueline Doyle • Flash fiction has gradually come to be recognized as an important literary form, though there are still writers who dismiss flash as a passing fad, less important than the short story. Often, they are the…

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Art of the Opening: Close Reading I

February 2, 2021

  If something nearing a primal pleasure skitters high up beneath your ribs and low in your gut when you read the first page of a story—if you experience a flume of anticipatory longing for the ways in which diction…

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Blood and Agency in Raven Leilani’s LUSTER

January 26, 2021

  By Candace Walsh • Raven Leilani’s Luster is a craft and theme kaleidoscope, every turned page yielding a new configuration of angles and juxtapositions. What happens in this novel—twenty-three year old Edie, a Black woman artist manquée working slackly…

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Hybrid Interview: Matthew Salesses

January 19, 2021

  Essay by Candace Eros Diaz • The first sentence of Matthew Salesses’s Craft in the Real World reads, “[T]his book is a challenge to accepted models of craft and workshop, to everything from a character-driven plot to the ‘cone…

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More than Mere Oblivion: Alexander Trocchi’s CAIN’S BOOK

January 12, 2021

  By Peter Selgin • Like rock stars, some novelists are eaten alive by their ardent fans. Embraced by severely circumscribed subcultures, their best performances are transformed from works of art into manifestoes, and cease to be read by ordinary…

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Lessons from Julia Otsuka’s WHEN THE EMPEROR WAS DIVINE

December 8, 2020

  By Kim Lozano • I’m a slow reader. I sometimes pluck a book from the shelf based not on whether its subject matter appeals to me, but whether or not it’s skinny or fat. So when I recently read…

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Hybrid Interview: Tara Isabel Zambrano

November 17, 2020

  Essay by Kristin Tenor • Virginia Woolf writes in her novel Orlando: A Biography: “Nothing thicker than a knife blade separates happiness from melancholy.” Perhaps the same might be said by the characters inhabiting Tara Isabel Zambrano’s debut short…

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Hybrid Interview: Chloe N. Clark

October 27, 2020

  Essay by Jesse Motte • In a period of world history characterized largely by mandated physical distancing, Chloe N. Clark’s debut collection, Collective Gravities, is an important reference for navigating inner and outer spaces. The collection, driven by character…

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For Better or Worse: On the Failure of the Stand-Alone Excerpt

October 20, 2020

  By Maria Cichosz • The first time I tried to turn part of my novel into a publishable excerpt, I immediately knew it was hopeless. I had just finished working on one novel and was deep into another, having…

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Art of the Opening: What’s an Opening to Do?

October 6, 2020

  Toward a Taxonomy of How Stories Start An invitation. A doorway. A promise to—or even contract with—the reader. There are various ways to think about the opening of a story, but rather than consider what it should be, let’s…

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