Writing

Review: The Cartographer’s Ink

by Lee Gulyas March 10, 2015
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The Cartographer’s Ink Okla Elliott NYQ Books 2014 Gilles Deleuze wrote: “Writing has nothing to do with meaning. It has to do with landsurveying and cartography, including the mapping of countries yet to come.” This is the quote that came to me as I read Okla Elliott’s “The Cartographer’s Ink.” We begin with an invitation […]






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How a new Autocorrect program could hijack your soul

by David Alm September 10, 2014
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Dennis Paoli, the coordinator of the Reading & Writing Center at Hunter College in New York City, has a short but very effective definition of writing: Writing is thinking and vice versa. In other words, to write clearly you also need to think clearly, and clear thinking is often achieved through writing. I’ve participated in numerous workshops over the […]






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Writing and running hurt, and that’s good

by David Alm June 26, 2014
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There are two things most people I know hate to do: Writing and running. While very different activities — one cerebral, the other physical — the primary reason people hate them is the same: They’re hard. And not just hard, but very hard. And they hurt. Also, they’re boring. Wait. What? I get that they’re hard, but how can something that […]






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Brought to a Boil: An Essay on Experimental Poetry

by John Olson April 23, 2014
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“All poetry is experimental poetry.” ~ Wallace Stevens Turning words into art is unnatural. It begins with a contrary attitude. It says, I am unhappy with the way things are and desire to make things different. Rather than represent the world, I will make something wildly and savagely new. I will defy logic. I will […]






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Changing Stories, Stories for Change

by Amanda Leigh Lichtenstein April 7, 2014
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  We know a good story can change us. But can our stories really change society? Writers, poets, journalists, arts educators, and cultural activists based in and around Dar es Salaam, Tanzania convened on Saturday March 8 at Soma Book Cafe to explore the link between art and social change in a one-day workshop organized […]






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Confessions of a standardized test writer

by David Alm March 7, 2014
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In the fall of 2011, I was invited to prepare an essay for the American College Testing exam, better known as the ACT. If you live on the East or West Coasts, you’ve probably never heard of it; if you live in the Midwest or the South, it hangs over your future like a guillotine […]






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The listicle as literature (?)

by David Alm January 21, 2014
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I am to the listicle what my parents were to the Beastie Boys. When I was 11 years old, in 1986, I thought the Beasties were the greatest musicians of all time, and yes, I was including Beethoven, the Beatles, and Simon & Garfunkel in that valuation. My parents, meanwhile, laughed and rolled their eyes, […]






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Never sell your right to speak out

by David Alm January 6, 2014
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Last week, the New York Times published an article on its website by Will Blythe, the former editor at large at Byliner, in which the author recounts how he was fired from that job and asked to sign a non-disparagement agreement in exchange for two weeks’ pay. He refused. I was once in the exact same position. Except […]






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To save the humanities, try a little tenderness

by David Alm December 4, 2013
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Did you know that only 8 percent of undergraduates major in a humanities discipline like English or philosophy? Or how about the fact that more than half of college professors today are adjunct, or so-called “contingency” faculty? Or what about the hard, cold reality that people who study English or philosophy enter their working lives […]






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If you have a story to tell, just tell it

by David Alm November 8, 2013
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A confession: I rarely write if I’m not getting paid for it. So I was humbled earlier this week to attend a reading by a woman I’d never heard of before, but who has built a following that any writer would covet. In the basement of a small independent bookstore in Brooklyn, at least 100 […]






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In defense of unpaid internships

by David Alm October 24, 2013

In 1999, I published my very first article: a 400-word review of a book about Japanese art from 1615 to 1868. It was a catalogue for an exhibition that spring at Yale University, and I got the assignment not because I was an expert on Japanese art, or because I was a student at Yale, or […]






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Two degrees, 14 years’ experience, will tweet for food

by David Alm September 9, 2013
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I’ll cut to the chase: I’m looking for a job. Specifically, a writing job, or at the very least, one that involves words in one way or another. This could include editing, ghostwriting, or even social media. It’s a depressing process, and I’ll explain why in a moment. But before I do, let me just […]






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Becoming better writers via social media

by David Alm August 19, 2013
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Some people (i.e. me) often complain that social media is ruining our attention to detail and appreciation for the craft of good writing. You can just throw something up (double-entendre totally intended) and go back to whatever else you’re doing on those eight other windows you have open in your Web browser. Punctuation? No time! […]






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When writers retire, we feel betrayed. Why?

by David Alm July 11, 2013
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We like writers to be contrary, to stand up to conventions, to assert themselves in opposition to what is quietly and tacitly agreed upon “socially acceptable.” That is, as long as they keep doing it. When Alice Munro announced recently that she was retiring from writing at age 81, she said she was inspired by […]






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An open letter to writers everywhere

by David Alm May 30, 2013
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Dear friend, You know my pain, and that’s why I write to you now. You too have sat before a blank screen for hours, and hours, staring at a blinking cursor, feeling devoid of thought, frustrated, even depressed. Like me, you have never found the term ‘writer’s block’ satisfying. Writer’s block sounds like an acute […]






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