“Maybe I [felt] a shift in responsibility when I had kids. I wanted the work I was doing, whatever it was, to be something that could be meaningful to them one day. That’s where the germ of the memoir came from. I thought that perhaps writing about my parents and where I came from would one day be helpful for my kids.” For Guernica, Christopher Kondrich interviews Tracy K. Smith about writing a memoir, the presence of David Bowie in her Life on Mars, and her reverence for the cosmic. Also check out Sophia Nguyen’s Millions review of Smith’s memoir, Ordinary Light.
"While the revolutionary milieu that was the source of many of the book’s events may have vanished, we have our own milieu." At The Rumpus, Will Augerot re-evaluates John Dos Passos's The USA Trilogy. He concludes that Dos Passos is more relevant than ever. Pair with: Our essay on the polyphonic novel.
“We have all heard the claim, ‘the victors write the textbooks.’ Among the many ways to unpack the phrase is this: that once upon a time history was bound to and relied on communally agreed upon facts. That is to say, there was not a culture of record the way there is now. There were not cameras and photographs capturing all human movement or digital archives where information was stored in 'clouds.' While our methods for remembering have evolved, the ethical question at the heart of recollection remains: how do we tell about the past and who gets to tell it?” Lindsey Drager writes for the Michigan Quarterly Review about memory and storytelling.
Recommended reading: The New York Times reports on a growing literary trend - YA nonfiction.