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Posts Tagged ‘writing’

From Sophocles to Twin Peaks: What Killed Laura Palmer?

By David GriffithSeptember 20, 2017

This post originally appeared at Good Letters on June 1, 2012. One of the toughest and most important jobs I have as an English professor at a small, women’s liberal arts college, is teaching students to write well. I would love to hold forth on Flannery O’Connor—my lifelong literary crush—but getting students to care about…

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Why I’m Writing a Death Penalty Book for Teens

By Bryan BlissSeptember 14, 2017

1. I was standing in the kitchen of a rental house in the middle of forty acres of woods deep in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, when I told my agent I wanted to write about the death penalty, a topic that had chased me for over a decade. I’d only recently sold my first…

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How To Intuit a Book Title

By Richard ChessJuly 6, 2017

How do poets and writers choose their book titles? I didn’t have a good answer to the question, “Why did you choose the title Love Nailed to the Doorpost?” posed at a recent reading, though I knew that sooner or later that someone would ask. I did have a superficial answer, but I hadn’t thought…

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The Mysteries of Revision

By Bryan BlissJuly 5, 2017

When a former MFA professor asked me to come to her class and speak on revision, I immediately said yes. Not only was she a writer and an academic that I respected, there had been an ongoing, semi-inside, joke between me and some of my MFA cohort members about my desire to be acknowledged by…

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An Interview with George Saunders, Part 2

By Jenny ShankMarch 7, 2017

Beloved fiction writer George Saunders just published his first novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, an unconventional work of historical fiction about the moment when Abraham Lincoln was embroiled in the Civil War and lost his son Willie to typhoid fever. I recently spoke to George Saunders on the phone from his home in California about…

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An Interview with George Saunders, Part 1

By Jenny ShankMarch 6, 2017

Beloved fiction writer George Saunders has long been known for his daring short stories, collected most recently in 2013’s Story Prize-winning Tenth of December, and his keen interest in moral introspection, highlighted by his much-shared commencement speech for 2013 Syracuse University graduates about the importance of kindness. Saunders just published his first novel, Lincoln in…

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On the Front Lines

By Paul AndersonDecember 21, 2016

Seven months ago, I was teaching writing to high school seniors at a Christian school on the southwest side of Chicago, thirty minutes from my suburban hometown but essentially in another universe. I was three months away from finishing my MFA through Seattle Pacific University, and I wasn’t sure that I was going to make…

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Of Cookbooks and Lynchings

By Richard ChessSeptember 6, 2016

“Men and women in automobiles stood up to watch him die.” That’s the sentence one student recalled when I asked the class what was memorable in Eula Biss’s essay “Time and Distance Overcome.” The man who died was a black man “accused of attacking a white woman.” For his alleged behavior, he was “tied to…

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My Own Commencement, Part 2: The Uses of Confusion

By Gregory WolfeSeptember 2, 2016

This post is excerpted from Gregory Wolfe’s final commencement address as director of the Seattle Pacific University Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing last month. Wolfe, who founded the program, stepped down as director yesterday. Read part 1 here. I’d like to close my commencement address by taking a lesson or two from the…

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My Own Commencement, Part 1: The Birth of an MFA

By Gregory WolfeSeptember 1, 2016

This post is excerpted from Gregory Wolfe’s final commencement address as director of the Seattle Pacific University Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing last month. Wolfe, who founded the program, steps down as director today. Read his full announcement here. Once upon a time—well, seventeen years ago, to be exact—I was contacted by Mark…

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