Social Commentary in Fiction

Olivia Clare Friedman, rather than relying on heavy-handed, direct messages about environmental destruction, subtly conveys the sad state of the world through her character’s thoughts and feelings. For example, one of her characters mentions the unusual amount of rain in Louisiana. “Too much rain in September hurt us. We were doing an impossible thing. We’dContinue reading “Social Commentary in Fiction”

Whirl when you Write

they should dance/dance         thru universes         leaning-moving                       we are traveling         where are we going        if we only knew These words from the Poem Latin & Soul by Hernandez Cruz figuratively dance across the page. The poem reminds me of a dervish, the religious dance performed by Sufis, Muslim ascetics. I also thinkContinue reading “Whirl when you Write”

Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair

A black man’s struggle to find a book If you’re a writer and wish to be traditionally published, you must acquire an agent. Agents often ask, “What book is your work similar to?” They want you to list competitive or comparable titles of contemporary best-selling books. This list tells them how to sell or pitchContinue reading “Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair”

I Don’t Read Ethnic Stuff

I don’t need esteem or affection, but I expect respect. No one owes me a reading—unless we are in a graduate-school creative-writing workshop at the University of Alabama. Then you owe me a reading. You sit in a workshop; you endure with patience your peers’ comments, and when your turn comes to comment on theirContinue reading “I Don’t Read Ethnic Stuff”

Poetry: Creation’s Inherent Contradiction

The creation of a poem begins from one position and ends at a different one. The origin and ending seem contradictory, yet there has been no break in the unity of the poem’s creation. Poetry becomes an unforeseen fusion of contradictory elements. A rail of information runs on one side of the poet. On theContinue reading “Poetry: Creation’s Inherent Contradiction”