July 16, 2018

Oriana, you're currently a student at Yale who has received quite a few notable distinctions—U.S. Presidential Scholar, National YoungArts Finalist, Foyle Young Poet, and others! Why do you think writing is so important in this day and age?

I think writing (and art more generally) has always been important for the insight it gives us into other ways of being.  To me this seems to happen on two levels. One is the macro, what I think people usually mean when they say that writing is a window into other lives—we can read a story about a person o...

September 17, 2017

Things are gorgeous if they’re yours, dull if they aren’t. Home isn’t the boxes in it, nor even the people. It’s the place that grew with you, that formed before you formed it.

                                                                       — Christina  Qiu, Home

The first time I visited New York’s Chinatown, it was because I had seen a cheap dumpling place on...

August 5, 2017

First of all, I just wanted to say congratulations on all of your achievements so far: you're a Kundiman fellow, have had a wide variety of publications, and your book When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities was the recipient of the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize!

Why do you think writing is so important in this day and age?


Thank you for the kind words and for this (magnificent!) question. Here goes. . .Writing
is important because without writing—and I mean strange writing, tender-hearted
writing, writing that as...

July 30, 2017

I never really understood where I was, or where I was going.

I was that dot, the you are here. I was that arrow on Maps. I bobbed every step I took. I was my town in Silicon Valley, bright and shining and aggressive. I was several thousand miles away from that town in Michigan. I wrote a lot there. Sometimes I’d be in Paris, or London, or Tokyo. Other times I’d be Google Earth, in several different places at once.

I watched Lion (starring Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, & Rooney Mara) on the way to New York, and I couldn’t help but feel homesick eve...

July 1, 2017

Eloisa, you're an accomplished writer — three chapbooks, various fellowships, and many, many

poems. Why do you think writing is so important in this day and age?

Writing, or rather storytelling, is and has been important in all days and ages. I think it begins in a very personal, individual place of wanting to be heard, to be remembered. But right now, it feels like there’s a collective energy, an urgency to fight the historical silencing of our stories and to push back against an alternative narrative that has been and is being written for us...

June 17, 2017

Science has taught me that everything is more complicated than we first assume, and that being able to derive happiness from discovery is a recipe for a beautiful life.  — Hope Jahren, Lab Girl

The first time I ever truly understood plants, about stems and leaves and the flow of nutrients, was when I was younger. I came to know plants just as I knew myself; I charted the growth methodically. I made close observations on how sometimes leaves would shrivel and wither, but then there would be a spot of green, and that would be enough. I planted...

May 27, 2017

While America surely transformed some of these impoverished emigres into wealthy returnees, it turned many more into something else—hyphenated Americans, Americans who would always remember their homelands as a treasured past but find in America their future.

                                                                                                   — Iris Chang,...

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