Purchase College welcomed MacArthur Fellowship Award winner Lydia Davis to campus on Thursday, September 24th. Before hosting a public reading and campus wide Q&A, Professor Okasi’s Editing & Production class had the opportunity to sit down and interview the author. She answered questions about the intimate literary world, her writing process, and the roles that sounds play in her own work. In the excerpt below, Lydia explores the relationship between sound, fiction, and the editing process.
Writers are, first and foremost, observers. If observing doesn’t come naturally, then they learn to develop the skill till it becomes its own art form. It’s an easy enough skill to develop; you look, see, and then write down your observations. Easy as pie, as the cliché goes. But is it really? Is observation really that simple? For some, perhaps it’s easy, but not for me. Observing is something that requires all of my five senses, and the development of imagination into a sixth sense. So why? Why do writers hone and develop observation so much that it becomes its own art form? The answer is simple: all writers, at one time or another, suffer from the curse of writer’s block, and careful observation, I think, leads to its cure. Observation leads to inspiration, and inspiration negates the block. That is why, I think, writers develop a knack for it. Continue reading “The Power of Observation”→
Young women are a driving force of the market, especially when it concerns Young Adult (YA) literature. When I think of YA literature, images of screaming fan-girls, Katniss Everdeen with her bow pulled taut, and Barnes & Nobel shelves filled with bright pink binding come to mind. When girls—especially teenage girls—love something, they love hard. Young women are a powerful deciding factor on whether or not something is going to be a hit. One would think that with that power, people would be dying to have girls enjoy their books, that we as a society would strive to give girls access to quality content. Continue reading “Female Representation in YA Literature”→
Photography has been a continuous influence in my life. At a young age I would follow my mother around as she would take photographs of family occasions and weddings. Nowadays, everyone with an Instagram account and a smartphone considers themselves a photographer, but when I was twelve and first exploring the art of photography with my instant print Polaroid, I began looking at the world with a photographer’s eye. My mission was to go out to capture the world. Continue reading “The Power of Image in Photography and Poetry”→
The link between writing and drinking is a tradition that has spanned centuries. Most writers are well aware of the tales of Hemingway drinking his way from Havana to Paris, Carver and Cheever spending more time at The Mill Bar than teaching at Iowa, Bukowski stumbling into and through readings; I could go on, but I think you get my point. Continue reading “Chasing the Muse (Without a Chaser?)”→
When asked about the biggest influences on my poetry, a few names spring to mind: Hart Crane, Berrymen, Dickinson, Stevens. But that response feels academic, the expected answer rather than the true one. That’s not to say that they did not actually influence my work, because they certainly did. It’s just that they are newer names to me, while the roots of my poetry knowledge comes from quite a different list of names: Kanye, Jadakiss, Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane. Continue reading “The Intersection of Rap and Poetry”→
Daniel Handler, a.k.a. Lemony Snicket, the author of the extremely popular novels, “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” hosted the National Book Awards last year on November 19th 2014. At the awards ceremony, he announced that Jacqueline Woodson had won in the category for young adult literature for her book, Brown Girl Dreaming, a biographical collection of poems about being a black youth growing up in the sixties and seventies in South Carolina and New York. In Handler’s remarks, he made the following statement: “I told Jackie she was going to win, and I said that if she won, I would tell all of you something I learned about her this summer, which is that Jackie Woodson is allergic to watermelon. Just let that sink in your mind.” Continue reading “Young Adult Literature’s Race Problem”→
Children all across America thrive in the summer time. It is a three-month break from classes, teachers, cafeterias, but not reading. Year after year American students save their assigned reading till the very last minute and proceed to exchange essays and SparkNote links before the first day of school, resulting in a large pile of essays featuring unoriginal content, and a classroom full of clueless students. Needless to say when I graduated high school I relished in the idea of spending summers reading on my own time. Finishing books at my own pace, leaving the nuance of rushed reading behind me. Continue reading “Summer Reading: Slowly & Scarcely”→
Thank you to everyone who submitted their work for the upcoming issue. We are currently in the process of looking at it all, and are very thankful for the opportunity to consider your work. Look out for the new issue in December!