Ross: Dana, after reading your gorgeous story collection, Our Dreams Might Align (Jellyfish Highway Press 2016), I’m struck by how much your stories are built up of observations or details pertaining to the natural world–caterpillars, whales, cliffs, stars. Please talk a little about that in terms of your writing process. Do your stories often begin […]
Dorothea Lasky’s second poetry collection, Black Life, was assigned as a part of a creative writing course I took in college, and because I had gotten away with it for 19 years so far, I didn’t bother glancing at the book before class. Plus, I had recently heard the T.S. Eliot quote that says something […]
The first day of class, my pedagogy professor told us to close our eyes. She asked that we sit tall, anchor our feet to the ground, straighten our shoulders, and take a deep breath. “Now thank your heart,” she said. “It’s been beating every day since you were born.” I had to strain to hear […]
Half a dozen years ago, the high school where I teach was given an arts magnet. We had meetings. There were thick packets that outlined programs. I flipped through: Visual art. Drama. Music. Journalism. Graphic Arts. I flipped through again. Nope. No creative writing. And that’s normal. Creative writing has long been no more than […]
Until recently, I believed that narcissism was as essential a tool as language for poets and writers — that the grandiose level of confidence narcissism requires was the secret to writing beautifully, honestly, and without fear. Now, however, I’m changing the terms.
I grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. For a long time, I avoided home. At least in my writing. I wrote about the segregated South. Raven-haunted New England woods. Afghanistan in the 1980s. Faraway worlds unseen by mortal eyes. For me, writing was about letting the imagination soar, which seemed impossible if my stories were about […]
My friends often ask me “why translate?” with varying reasons for why not. My favorite is that Google can do it much more quickly, entailing as it does the criticism, “what use are you?” One friend, an architect, argues that Google performs at about 90 percent accuracy and that is good enough. And for his […]
I have recently moved from Tennessee to Illinois, a state that I used to think about only in relation to Chicago. When I was six, my mother had to explain to me that Chicago was not a state, but part of something larger, this thing called Illinois. Well, I’m now living in this thing called […]