Crafting Settings That Matter from Settings That Inspire, a guest post by Erica George

I consider myself a writer, first and foremost. It’s something that I’ve always done, and it’s something I can’t imagine my life without. My identity as a writer, however, greatly impacts and influences my job as a middle school English Language Arts teacher. If I didn’t spend summer evenings on the screened in porch on … Read more

Healing, Dangerous Wonders: On Sylvia Legris’s “Garden Physic”

JULY 5, 2022 Give me truths;For I am wary of the surfaces,And die of inanition. If I knewOnly the Herbs and simples of the wood,Rue, cinquefoil, gill, vervain, and agrimony … — Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Blight” (1844) In all Diseases, strengthen the part of the Body afflicted. — Nicholas Culpeper, Culpeper’s Complete Herbal (1653) ¤ … Read more

Writing of Ghosts when the World is Grieving, a guest post by author Helene Dunbar

When I was 15, I worked behind the snack counter in a movie theater. I wasn’t an huge fan of movies or anything, but it was fun and I liked the popcorn and the pale candied almonds which would become bleached by the lights of the glass case and given to staff because we couldn’t … Read more

The Allure of Orthodoxy – Los Angeles Review of Books

JULY 4, 2022 AT THE BEGINNING of the The Long Corner, Alexander Maksik’s fourth novel, we find the narrator, Sol, begrudgingly attending a New York City party when he receives an invitation to an island retreat called The Coded Garden. He is to interview its enigmatic and guru-like founder, Sebastian Light. Sol was once a … Read more

So Gaslit: On Caren Beilin’s “Revenge of the Scapegoat”

JULY 4, 2022 “I HATED NOT being really read. […] Not even the title,” says Iris, the protagonist of Caren Beilin’s serious yet hilarious new novel, Revenge of the Scapegoat. Iris is comparing herself to a book — specifically Simone de Beauvoir’s hefty The Mandarins — that someone picks up just because they need a … Read more

What Has Become of Home?

JULY 3, 2022 TO ARABS IN the diaspora, the story is a familiar one — it rings in our ears. In it the political clash with the personal, and conservative or radical Islamist forces are pitted against the liberal or secular. The romantic pull toward our motherlands is overpowered by realities that drove our ancestors … Read more

A Cosmos of Bodies: On Jazmina Barrera’s “Linea Nigra: An Essay on Pregnancy and Earthquakes”

JULY 2, 2022 “THE PLACE OF women,” according to Mexico beliefs, is in the west, the evening sky. Mothers who died during childbirth were revered as “a mochihuaquetzea courageous woman, or a cihuateteo, a divine woman.” Their body parts were coveted by warriors, carried into battle offering strength, offering life. In her new book, Linea … Read more

In Defense of Wasting Time: On C. Thi Nguyen’s “Games: Agency As Art”

JULY 2, 2022 I PLAY GAMES: video and board games. I’m ashamed of it, and ashamed that I’m ashamed — ashamed because such games carry an air of childishness and frivolity, and ashamed at my shame because, well, why should anyone care? But I do care, so I play my games in private, sitting in … Read more