Essays

March 18, 2008

Obama and the Faulkner Quote 0

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Barack Obama gave a speech today taking on the complicated history of racial relations in America. Considering the how difficult a topic this is to tackle, it was a brave move. Embedded within the speech was a quote from Faulkner, “The past isn’t dead and buried. In fact, it isn’t even past.” Andrew Sullivan at […]

March 12, 2008

Thorny Technology: Open Access Causes Problems at the Iowa Writers Workshop 3

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Emails are circulating among various current and former students from the famed Iowa Writers Workshop expressing concern over the University of Iowa’s new “Open Access” policy with regard to theses. These include MFA theses, which, according to our own Workshop grad Edan, might typically consist of a “book-length manuscript… poems, short stories or a novel […]

February 21, 2008

Anthologies Evolved 0

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When I was 16 or 17, it felt like Ernest Hemingway and Willa Cather were my own personal discoveries. I had read through all of Kurt Vonnegut, John Irving, and T.C. Boyle after discovering their books and then working steadily through their bodies of work until there was nothing left to read. (And it’s amazing […]

February 17, 2008

A Poet on the Road 1

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Jon Sands is a poet residing in New York City. A Cincinnati native, Sands was a finalist at the 2007 National Poetry Slam. He is currently touring across North America. Sands used to write poems on the bellies of his cabbage patch dolls, and he still does. More about Jon and his poetry CDs and […]

January 31, 2008

Big in Japan: A Cellphone Novel For You, the Reader 23

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A week ago, an article in the New York Times created a mini-furor in literary circles. As the resident Japan expert in my circle of friends, everybody was asking me, “So what’s the deal with these cell phone novels?” The NYT article was the first I’d heard of them. I did a quick Internet search, […]

January 22, 2008

America’s Next Top Novelist 6

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1.Those wandering aimlessly through the barren channels in the midst of the writers’ strike are no doubt aware that reality programming, already a staple, has flooded in to fill the void. In fact, the heavyweight of the format, “American Idol,” is now back for a seventh season. “American Idol” is what I like to call […]

December 5, 2007

A Two Part Examination of Cost and Value — Part 2: Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Luster 2

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[See part 1] I recently got married, and at my wedding, I wore a Paul Smith suit. It was the first piece of designer clothing I’d ever purchased, and it was an eye-opening experience. As I tried on various suits from different designers, I found myself appreciating the subtle differences between them: the fine tailoring […]

December 4, 2007

A Two Part Examination of Cost and Value — Part 1. In Defense of Food 1

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Few books caused as much of a stir last year as The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan’s examination of the American food production system. It exposed, among other things, the fact that Americans are eating way, way too much corn. Corn is in nearly everything at the supermarket, from the corn chips (duh!) to the meat […]

November 15, 2007

50,000 Words in 30 Days 6

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This November, three of my bravest (read: most insane) students are participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). While some of you may make fun of NaNoWriMo enthusiasts, I hold my tongue, for writing 50,000 words (no matter how poorly chosen) in only 30 days is impressive. Besides, another student of mine, Kelly Wiles, participated […]

November 7, 2007

Modern In A Post-Modern World 3

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There’s an old Woody Allen nightclub routine, dating back to his stand-up days in the mid-60s, that goes a little like this: “I was in Europe many years ago with Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway had just written his first novel, and Gertrude Stein and I read it, and we said that is was a good novel, […]