Trying to find the language for the loss of a sibling
We don’t tell this story anymore. It’s a hole that no one wants to fall into.
What if we deployed ecstasy in the middle of struggle—even in the middle of the grief of protesting police brutality?
Ecstasy as protest. Inhabiting and insisting upon itself in the middle of the wound, the break, the ecstatic subverts and opposes the disciplining and oppressive act.
The law of entropy and spending time as a fill-in employee, and girlfriend
I had thought of time’s forward movement as a sign of hope, of the inevitability of improvement. But it’s also true, I realized, that a closed system tends toward chaos.
The unrest in New York
“It’s more dangerous now. I’m seeing a lot more aggression from the police.”
Yale’s first black professor on the presence or absence of names, their status and their scope.
Michael G. Cooke
From the Review in 1977.
In 1941, Thornton Wilder visited a nation in crisis, witnessing a remarkable and strange resolve
There is in many minds a smoldering resolution to remold the structure of society after the war.
I shall never forget that first winter of gasoline rationing
Originally published in the Autumn 1945 edition of The Yale Review, vol. 34.2.
To read a book well, one should read it as if one were writing it
If you wish to read books, begin by writing them.
I lost the right to vote and found a new understanding of America
Feisal G. Mohamed
Being shut out of the central rite of democratic life is an odd feeling at first.
Soul-killing, inefficient, and racist to the core, the American commute is deeply wrong
Commuting is a highly effective strategy of social control.
From For Now
I would like to be here, I think I’m here, and the more I write, and the more you read it the more it’s simply a fact.
The 1918 Influenza
Originally published in the Winter 1958 edition of The Yale Review, vol. 47.2
It is not only a personal impression, it is an impression in a wider sense, of an age that I saw in the act of passing.
On making art and mourning
This is why some artists run away from their lives; because who among us can live forever in our own dream?
What history tells us about the case against Trump
“Maladministration” is about as charitable a term as one can use to describe the actions of the forty-fifth president.
Twelve ways of looking at my mother
There was something comforting in the strange promise that our lives are not, in the end, a consequence of chance or even choice, but the indifferent hand of fate at work.
The brother I never knew
Your brother, he’d said. He was dead, yes. Was he a brother? If not, what was he?
On sources, revision, and order
What makes a piece of writing come into being? I have gradually, over the years, come to see the close parallel between the impulse to translate and the impulse to write something original.
A daughter’s suicide in another country
Carlos Manuel Álvarez, translated by Rahul Bery
Her daughter is lost in a dark and distant kingdom, and she needs someone to rescue her.
When yearning is a pleasure
Longing is itself a pleasure. Sometimes it’s the greater pleasure.
The only ones left alive
Cathy Park Hong
My daughter was silent in my arms, awake yet absolutely still, as if she sensed that I was summoning every ounce of sobriety not to keel over.
On living in—and losing—a body
Molly McCully Brown
I don’t have time, I tell him, I have things to do. He shakes his head but gives me the shot and the prescription.
For J. D. McClatchy
Sandy was a great gossip, a connoisseur of his own and others’ vanities. Yet he was also capable of a breathless idealism about human nature and possibility.
“When you make a photograph,” she said, “it is very much a picture of your own self.”
A Painter’s Letters Home
When the reason for the city is safety, it becomes a fortress against those deemed unworthy of its protection.
Oana Sanziana Marian
Before there’s an anxiety, there’s an excitement of influence.
Peter Matthiessen’s Bigfoot
Peter had told almost no one about his fascination with Bigfoot.
Giovanni Gioviano Pontano
Ostentation sets itself head on against this truth which is involved with conversation, civil intercourse, and the life of men.
Fortunately, the number of American novels starring intermarriages is growing. But has art caught up with life? Yes and no.
Listening to Opus 110
How is it that the work of art, when I arrive at a new understanding of it, having chased down yet another horizon of meaning, is already there waiting for me, meaning what it has always meant…