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On Writing

The Untranslatable

The Untranslatable

By Vince Granata How often do we sprinkle untranslated words and phrases into English sentences? While there is no shortage of Latin phrases lingering in the lexicon—mea culpa, quid pro quo, a priori­—we’ve lifted a number of active languages into our speech as well. When […]

A Skype Chat with Victor LaValle

A Skype Chat with Victor LaValle

By Michael Conner Victor LaValle Skyped with Dolen Perkins-Valdez’s fiction workshop last week to share thoughts on his novella, The Ballad of Black Tom. Ever since he was a kid, the likes of Stephen King, Peter Straub, and Shirley Jackson filled LaValle’s reading library with tales […]

Visiting Writers Series: Stephanie Elizondo Griest

Visiting Writers Series: Stephanie Elizondo Griest

By Vince Granata  Stephanie Elizondo Griest is the award-winning author of three travel memoirs: Around the Bloc: My Life in Moscow, Beijing, and Havana; Mexican Enough: My Life Between the Borderlines; and All the Agents and Saints: Dispatches from the U.S. Borderlands (2017); as well as the best-selling guidebook […]

The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game

By Vince Granata   I started thinking about plagiarism last week, largely thanks to accusations leveled at Guillermo Del Toro’s Oscar-nominated, The Shape of Water. The estate of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Paul Zindel, claims that Del Toro has copied his janitor-falls-in-love-with-aquatic-creature story from Zindel’s 1969, […]

Rereading Murakami’s Wild Sheep Chase

Rereading Murakami’s Wild Sheep Chase

By Nick Chhoeun A Wild Sheep Chase is one of my favorite Haruki Murakami novels and I recently reread it with greater attention to craft. I remembered Murakami’s ability to switch between multiple scenes and chapters fluidly, and I wanted to go back to see how […]

Lahiri in Italian

Lahiri in Italian

By Vince Granata For the last three years, Jhumpa Lahiri has written in Italian. In fact, aside from translating Italian work—including her own—Italian has been the only language she has published in since 2015. For decades before the shift, she worked her way through lessons […]

On New Words

On New Words

By Nick Chhoeun   Last week, I was the substitute teacher for a high school Arabic class. In this class, I hear a girl say, “Man, some people at this school are too sweet.” I asked her what she meant by that only to get […]

On Translating Absence

On Translating Absence

By Jessica Harris I was once asked if I had ever experienced absence or a great heart presence. I struggled with recounting whether I had or not. What I do believe is that absence is an underlying thread in life. A familiar language for some […]

Lost in Translation, Writing Memories

Lost in Translation, Writing Memories

By Vince Granata The question–a troubling one I’m still contending with–came out of Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities. In the novel, Calvino imagines a dialogue between Marco Polo and Kublai Kahn, a back and forth in which Polo describes cities that Kahn believes span his empire. Eventually, Kahn […]

Literary Event: Tracy K. Smith’s Inaugural Poet Laureate Reading

Literary Event: Tracy K. Smith’s Inaugural Poet Laureate Reading

By Yohanca Delgado On Wednesday, September 13th, Pulitzer-prize winner Tracy K. Smith read as Poet Laureate for the first time. Before she took the stage, nineteen-year-old Amanda Gorman read as the first ever Youth Poet Laureate. National youth organization Urban Word regional finals across the […]