Articles by Nick Ripatrazone

April 22, 2014

Sacrament of Fiction: On Becoming a Writer and Not a Priest 3

Good fiction can be a form of good works. As a Catholic, I recognize that life is a story of continuous revision, of failure and unexpected grace, and of dogged hope. I am comfortable with the white space of ambiguity and mystery. I have faith, not certainty.

April 3, 2014

Liner Notes: A Poetry Playlist 3

Poetry and music share a word of process — composition — and are linked by negotiations of melody, harmony, rhythm, proportion, and discord. Here is a poetry playlist: 10 poets offer their composition soundtracks.

March 25, 2014

No Right Path: Arriving at Writing from Outside the Humanities 6

Fear and wonder pulled me toward both astronomy and writing. If the world does not create awe in us, we will neuter the beautiful and complex. The profound becomes prosaic.

March 3, 2014

Free Rides: Writing and Reading on Trains 1

I hope Amtrak develops these introductory residencies into a full program, and that these writers are inspired to create new work, breathe life into old drafts, and maybe even enjoy some good reading.

February 25, 2014

Miss You, SASE: On Postal Submissions 8

The great, unlikely gift of postal submissions was the building of patience and discipline. Now we can publish at any and every moment.

February 5, 2014

The Fictional Lives of High School Teachers 6

In America, teachers are either seen as angelic or caustic, saviors or sycophants. These stereotypes enable politicians to convince the public to support the latest education fad or slash needed budgets. The reality is we teach because we love to help kids, and we think literature is a way to examine and understand our complex lives.

January 23, 2014

Nobody’s Ever Ready: Snow in Poetry, Fiction, and Film 8

Snow has also become a refrain in my reading. Snow fractures storylines and complicates characters. Snow forces writers to capture atmosphere and mood, and to uniquely describe a common event.

January 9, 2014

A Father’s Story: An Elegy for Andre Dubus 5

Love will bring a man to his knees. What ultimately draws me to Dubus is a fear of myself. It is a fear that has no justification in my history: I have managed to avoid violence, certainly any coming from my own hands. But Dubus’s fiction taps into the preternatural worry that we can turn, in a moment, from a person we have prayed to become to something sharp and wrong. To read Dubus is to be possessed by art.

October 21, 2013

Pop Lit: Literary Magazines in Film and Television 15

What is the wider cultural influence of literary magazines? I am not sure there needs to be one.

September 17, 2013

Taut, Not Trite: On the Novella 5

Most reviews of novellas begin with similar elements: the writer’s arbitrary word count parameter, why “novella” sounds more diminutive than “short novel,” and a lament that publishers are unwilling to support the form. This essay is not such an apology.