British poet and journalist James Fenton has won the Pen Pinter Prize, established in honour of playwright Harold Pinter.
Previous winners of the Pinter Prize include Tom Stoppard, Carol Ann ... [ read more ]
Juan Felipe Herrera, author of numerous poetry collections and short stories, is named U.S. poet laureate (21st). He will be the first-ever Chicano/Latino poet laureate, writing and speaking in both ... [ read more ]
Sherman Alexie talking on October 10, 2001. Alexie has 11 pages of new poems in Smartish Pace, Issue 16 (April, 2009).
February 16, 2012Interview conducted in August 2011
Beyond Katrina blends personal and collective memories of an event that is not too long gone from the public eye, and is still current for those living on the Gulf Coast. What are the challenges of writing about something topical, even if it has personal resonance for you the writer?Natasha Trethewey: I think the biggest challenge that I faced with writing Beyond Katrina and that particular topic was that, as you said, it is in many ways ongoing for the people who are there, and it is also a thing of contested memory. Contested memory is the hardest part of it, because I found that I was dealing with people who wanted not only to be remembered, but people on the Mississippi Gulf Coast who felt like their story was being forgotten or being subjugated beneath the other story of New Orleans and the levee break. But I was also dealing with narratives from folks who wanted to remember the aftermath in different ways, I think, for political purposes. And so there was often a narrative of Mississippi as ... [ read more ]
Shara McCallum's first collection, The Water Between Us, may be a typical first book of poetry that moves through the torments and glories of growing up, but it is not a typical collection. McCallum's poems are startling in their breadth of experience and language. From the beginning McCallum asks us to free our expectations with her apt epigraph: "Only the magic and the dream are true. All the rest's a lie." If you don't believe ... [ read more ]