Want your writing to have punch? Want your readers to believe you? “The five-word sentence as the gospel truth…Express your most powerful thought in the shortest sentence,” Roy Peter Clark writes in The New York Times. Sorry that every sentence in this post is more than five words.
There’s been a lot of talk recently about the possibilities for contemporary war literature, especially in light of the success of Phil Klay‘s Redeployment. Now Flavorwire considers “a crop of fiction that approaches the question of American intelligence, torture, and military intervention slantwise,” particularly Mark Doten’s The Infernal, which was included in our 2015 Book Preview.
“But poems are not poems if they make people feel dead. I want people to feel alive – even if it is alive with grief.” The Guardian profiles poet Danez Smith about poetry; race, gender, and queerness; and their poetry collection, Don’t Call Us Dead (a finalist for the National Book Award). Pair with: an essay on writing that gives shape and depth to victims of criminal injustice.
Take a vicarious trip to China via a special issue of Ninth Letter, a literary and arts journal published by the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Including work by authors Madelaine Thien and Khaled Al Khamissi, the issue grew out of a residency sponsored by Sun Yat-sen University’s Center for English-language Creative Writing, the only such department of its kind in that country. Pair with this piece by Casey Walker about writing his novel Last Days in Shanghai, which is set in the boomtown of today’s new China.
David Orr writes for The New York Times about Christopher Gilbert’s new collection of poems, Turning Into Dwelling, and the importance of innovation in poetry. As he puts it, “One of the hidden strengths of art is that there is always the possibility that what had seemed like a final breath may simply be the long pause before a new inhalation.” Pair with Andrew Kay’s Millions essay on the power of poetry.
“A good translation, Han’s subconscious seems to suggest, is a living, breathing thing, which must be understood on its own terms, discovered from beneath the great white sheet.” The New Yorker explores Han Kang‘s novels and the complex nature of translation. From our archives: The Millions review of Kang’s The Vegetarian and an essay on what gets lost (and transformed) in translation.