The Iowa Writers’ Workshop was founded in 1936 and is the oldest-known program of its kind. Things change here at Vatican City pace. Hard copy posters and flyers are preferred to listservs; telephone and personal contact occur more often than e-mails. If it wasn’t too expensive to maintain retro equipment, the Workshop would probably still use typewriters and mimeograph machines. The Workshop librarian takes pictures of all the students and compiles them in a facebook—no, I’m not talking about the one online; this is a physical booklet that has very limited stalking capabilities.
“My aim has been to look as squarely as I can, with clear eyes, at the truth of what human beings are capable of doing to each other. This is Paul’s aim too. Denial is a killer, and if we all felt the horror that so many are forced to experience I know there would be less violence in the world. This is a conviction I’ve had about life and about my writing long before I met Paul, though in the past I probably spent most of my time concentrating on stories of emotional violence, often of child abuse. It’s all the same. The weak are exploited and abused by the powerful, and silence, obfuscation, denial is a complicity that must be confronted.”
Iran has produced one of the world’s greatest national cinemas, stretching back to before the Islamic revolution. The films have won numerous international awards, including the Oscar and the Golden Globe, as well as the Cannes Film Festival’s Golden Palm and Jury Prize, the Venice Film Festival’s Golden and Silver Lion, and the Berlinale’s Golden and Silver Bear. Yet, despite the accolades, Iranian movies are more discussed than seen in the United States.
Eavan Boland gives the Hopwood Lecture, Hasanthika Sirisena conflictedly tours the sites of Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war, Carolyne Wright introduces the work of Ruby Rahman, Sara J. Grossman contemplates ordinary bodies and Walt Whitman’s “The Wound-Dresser,” David Scobey talks about why we need the humanities.
Fiction from Paige Cooper, B.G. Firmani, James Morrison, Brenda Peynado, Sharon Pomerantz, and Karen Wunsch.
Poetry from Timothy Liu, Ruby Rahman (translated by Carolyne Wright with Syed Manzoorul Islam), Danez Smith, and Xiao Kaiyu (translated by Christopher Lupke).
Reading that first chapter, I was so self-conscious. I made him lie down and turn his head away from me. I stopped frequently to ask if he’d fallen asleep. But slowly, as I reached the end of the first chapter of the first novel I’d ever written, I realized that I was enjoying myself. I had put aside the novel draft for a couple of weeks beforehand, and to revisit the characters and world was a treat, and I felt a lovely bond between myself and my first reader, as we both dove into the novel, quite literally on the same page.