The Blog


Frances Cannon

John D’Agata is a champion of the essay, a crusader for lost forms, a defender of nonfiction as an art. The recent publication of The Making of the American Essay, the third volume in D’Agata’s essay-anthology trilogy, shifts his position from expert to shaper; through his curation and introductions to these essays, D’Agata proves himself to be not only a scholar and proponent of the essay but also an artificer of the form. Rather than merely defining the essay for his readers, he enjoins them to write their own definitions.

Julie Marie Wade's WISHBONE, Sarah Manguso's THE GUARDIANS, and Maggie Nelson's THE ARGONAUTS

Kristina Marie Darling

From the very beginning, readers are conditioned to focus on the words that appear on the page, their semantic meaning and the larger architecture of plot and theme to which they give rise. It is not often that writers ask us to look away from the text proper, to consider what is possible within the margins of a literary work, or even within the small spaces between the words themselves. Yet three recent books of lyric nonfiction envision this negative space as an opportunity to leave some things unsaid within the work, suggesting possibilities more powerfully than exposition ever could.

Rebecca Schiff's THE BED MOVED

Kelli Ebensberger

In her debut collection The Bed Moved, Rebecca Schiff emerges with the biting tongue, warm affection, and well-advised hindsight of a rom-com best friend—in the best possible way. Some of these stories found original publication in places like n+1 and Guernica as early as 2006, and ten years later this collection unleashes its pent-up, raw energy like a box of suburban secrets finally being unveiled. Through familial tensions at a Jewish funeral, “trauma groupies” for bloggers with cancer, and sexual opportunism in motor homes and nudist hot springs, Schiff’s prose coaxes us into the world of wandering Millennials.

Lilah Hegnauer’s PANTRY

Carrie Chappell

Few words bewitch the senses quite like those that recall the world of food. And even fewer ignite the prosaic ear in worlds of poetry. Yet, Lilah Hegnauer did not choose to call her second collection “Snickers bar,” “bell pepper,” or even “cellar door.” Pantry—winner of the 2013 New Southern Voices Book Prize selected by D.A. Powell—arrives in humble felicity. Here, among the canned, jarred, and bagged, is where Hegnauer unleashes her unusual, mystic domestic.


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