F.S.J. Ledgister on Fortunate Travelers

Ledgister considers the haunting histories of travel writing in the West Indies @ The Caribbean Review of Books. Good travel writing illuminates the places about which it is written — it is history, geography, culture, and politics in a much neater package than any textbook or classroom presentation could hope to achieve. Bad travel writing,… Read more »

Alibis We Live By

James Polchin explores how writing can reshape what we know about our past and ourselves in his review of Alibis: Essays on Elsewhere by Andre Aciman. What happens after the essay is written? This was the question that André Aciman raised a couple of weeks ago in a talk at The Jewish Museum in New… Read more »

Pico Iyer on The Writers That Shadow Us

Iyer explores the ghost of Graham Greene @ Los Angeles Review of Books. I had just arrived in Saigon — this was September 2004 — and, 15 hours out of sync after the long flight from California, I was wide-awake, adrenaline-quickened and eager to see everything as I hit the late-night streets. I dropped off… Read more »

Rafael Campo reflects on Illness as Muse

Campo explores what it means “to write explicitly about one’s own illnesses” at Bellevue Literary Review. It is not unusual, after I’ve given a poetry reading, for some impossibly young writer from the audience to remark over the post-literary pretzels and Diet Coke, “Wow, your stuff is really depressing.’’ One especially unkind reviewer of my… Read more »

Escaping with Joan Didion

S.J. Culver reflects on the places we leave behind @ The Millions. Last winter, I wore the same snow boots every time I left my house for almost seven months. Minnesota, in the grip of a historically severe winter, was shellacked in several feet of snow from November to April—the kind of snow that doesn’t… Read more »