Nonfiction

In 1941, Thornton Wilder visited a nation in crisis, witnessing a remarkable and strange resolve

Thornton Wilder 

There is in many minds a smoldering resolution to remold the structure of society after the war.

To read a book well, one should read it as if one were writing it

Virginia Woolf 

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

Jess Row 

Commuting is a highly effective strategy of social control.

From For Now

Eileen Myles 

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

Francis Russell

Originally published in the Winter 1958 edition of The Yale Review, vol. 47.2

Vita Sackville-West

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

Sheila Heti 

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

Feisal G. Mohamed 

“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

Emily Bernard 

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

Miranda Featherstone 

Your brother, he’d said. He was dead, yes. Was he a brother? If not, what was he?

On sources, revision, and order

Lydia Davis

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

Sarah Manguso

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

Langdon Hammer 

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.

Eugenia Bell

“When you make a photograph,” she said, “it is very much a picture of your own self.”

A Painter’s Letters Home

Shifra Sharlin

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

Jeff Wheelwright

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.

Jennifer Acker

Fortunately, the number of American novels starring intermarriages is growing. But has art caught up with life? Yes and no. 

Listening to Opus 110

Mark Mazullo

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…

Ann Petry’s The Street and The Narrows

Emily Bernard

There is no novel more satisfying to teach in the age of #MeToo than The Street.

“An Occasion” for Thin[g]king

Karin Roffman

Ashbery’s enthusiasm for Stein’s collecting instincts seemed initially to eclipse his appreciation for her poetry. 

Matthew Spellberg

A society that seems to have lost interest in myth is a society in ignorance of its effect.

Excerpts from In Remembrance of Things Past

Gerard Malanga

If I had my way I would’ve used the photo booth almost exclusively for portraiture

Carolyn Forché

We had developed a signal to let each other know when all was well: two rings followed by silence. Now, after three rings, I picked up.

Nan Z. Da

Sometimes you are shown something, and it goes right to your heart like poison.