Survival, Trauma, and “White Magic”

White Magic, by Elissa Washuta I have nothing now but my big aura, my fistful of keys, and my throat that still knows how to scream because no man has succeeded in closing it. I've kind of dreaded assembling my thoughts to write about this book, because it moved me like little else, certainly in... Continue Reading →

New Essay Collections: Festival Days, Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing

Festival Days, by Jo Ann Beard It's a lofty goal, to imagine translating one's own personal experiences in a way that instructs and illuminates, moves and inspires, another human being. Jo Ann Beard is long known for her essay collection The Boys of My Youth, frequently cited as groundbreaking amongst literary personal essays. After a... Continue Reading →

New Looks at Europe Post-Communism

Book review: Café Europa Revisited: How to Survive Post-Communism, by Slavenka Drakulic What a weird day to be writing about a book on democracy in Europe, as it teeters precariously in the United States. But I think Americans would do well to consider democratic processes and totalitarian histories in Europe, because it's abundantly clear that... Continue Reading →

A Little of Why We Love Dolly

She Come By It Natural collects author Sarah Smarsh's four long-form essays about Dolly Parton and the beloved singer's connections to feminism through her roots in rural poverty in Tennessee (it's better than I'm setting it up, but that's the basic premise). These essays were the result of a Freshgrass Foundation journalism fellowship Smarsh won,... Continue Reading →

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