Articles by Sonya Chung

May 2, 2012

Post-40 Bloomer: Spencer Reece, The Poet’s Tale 5

We needed such a story. The romance, the sense of “close call.” We need these stories to counter the inevitability of obscurity; we need stories that kindle our sense of hope, and possibility. In truth, I wouldn’t blame fans or journalists for altering or exaggerating the story. I understand why we need it to be as dramatic as possible.

March 29, 2012

Post-40 Bloomers: Harriet Doerr’s Impossible Perfection and Happiness 7

Would a person who was happy for forty-two years write a book?

February 27, 2012

RIP William Gay 3

I am very sad to report that William Gay, whom we featured in our “Post-40 Bloomers” series last fall, died on Friday, at the age of 68.  From Clarksville Online: “At first, I would send a story to the New Yorker and when it came back, I’d send it to The Atlantic, or Harper’s or […]

January 30, 2012

Nine Stories, 16 Years in the Making: Post-40 Bloomer Daniel Orozco 6

Orientation is not about “alienation,” modern-day or otherwise, nor about the effects of a particular cultural transition or economic decline; it’s about loneliness. About the awful, persistent distance between you and me, between me and me, between each of us and the spiritual-whatever in the universe; all of which keeps us wondering what the hell this life is about, and how we will survive it. This seems an important distinction to me, and what has allowed Orozco’s work – some of it 16 years-old – to debut with full emotional resonance.

January 24, 2012

Susie DeFord’s Dogs of Brooklyn 0

Poets, dog-lovers, urban-dwellers, and really, everyone — check out poet and dog-trainer Susie DeFord‘s heartfelt and keen-eyed new book of poems, Dogs of Brooklyn.  Says Vijay Seshadri, DeFord’s collection is full of “wonderful poetic investigations into the life of Brooklyn’s dogs, into their habits, their idiosyncrasies, and their secret longings.”

January 10, 2012

Staff Writer Sonya Chung at Tin House 0

At the Tin House blog, I write about my literary education in independent bookstores  Also, my piece about James Salter appears in Tin House‘s current issue.

December 30, 2011

Post-40 Bloomers: Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, The Last Leopard 6

One indisputable factor that deprived us of more opportunities to luxuriate in Lampedusa’s gifts was a diagnosis of lung cancer at the age of 60. The diagnosis came just a few months after he finished the novel, two publisher rejections already in hand, a third which would arrive weeks before he died in July of that year.

November 15, 2011

On Spinach and the National Book Awards 12

I want to live in a world – and I believe we’re closer than we think – where “the reading public” consumes, likes, and engages with many different kinds of literary nourishment; and where writers, teachers, and critics trust and even expect readers to do so.

November 5, 2011

Poetry Walk in the Bronx 0

Don’t miss Jon Cotner‘s “Poem Forest” at the NY Botanical Gardens Nov 4-5 and Nov 11-12, 12-4:30. It’s a self-guided tour that promises “a new kind of poetry experience, as well as a new kind of walking experience. Poet-walker Jon Cotner has fused lines selected from 2500 years of nature poetry with Thain Forest’s autumnal landscape.” […]

October 28, 2011

Post-40 Bloomers: The Stories of William Gay 2

While Gay himself might prize being considered among the Southern greats, his stories of desolation and beauty — brimming, yes, with the familiar Gothic elements of violence and darkness of hearts — feed and trouble our souls, whether or not we come to the text already knowing the “timeless tolling of whippoorwills, both bitter and reassuring,” or have passed ugly nights in a honkytonk, or keep a rifle or a pistol under the bed.