I always lacked common sense when taken by surprise

Dear Anne, Agnes Grey (1847) had for me the strange quality of a double-pointed sword: we must read it carefully, or else it may kill precisely what it had promised to protect. Agnes, the eponymous protagonist and narrator of the story, is the youngest daughter of Richard Grey, a clergyman of modest means. Her mother…

Anne Brontë

Anne Brontë (17 January 1820 – 28 May 1849) was an English writer. She was educated at home, and later attended a boarding school in Mirfield, between 1836 and 1837. Anne worked as a governess between 1839 and 1845. Her poems and novels were first published under the pen name of Acton Bell. She died of pulmonary tuberculosis at the…

Florence Marryat

Florence Marryat (9 July 1833 – 27 October 1899) was a British writer. She was privately educated. After her marriage to an officer of the British Army, she travelled extensively through India, and returned alone to England in 1860. The couple had eight children. In the 1870’s, Florence lived together with a Colonel of the Royal Marine Light…

Helen McClory

Helen McClory is a Scottish writer. She has a PhD in literature and creative writing from the University of Glasgow. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in 3 AM Press, Necessary Fiction, Smokelong, The Toast, and Phoebe, among other places. She also writes reviews for PANK and The Female Gaze, and can be found at the blog Schietree. Interviews Burning House Press The…

Ripe for the mouths of chance lovers, or birds

“Sub Contra – Louise Bogan Notes on the tuned frame of strings Plucked or silenced under the hand Whimper lightly to the ear, Delicate and involute, Like the mockery in a shell. Lest the brain forget the thunder The roused heart once made it hear,— Rising as that clamor fell,— Let there sound from music’s…

Louise Bogan

Louise Bogan (August 11, 1897 – February 4, 1970) was an American poet. She attended the Girls’ Latin School in Boston, and later entered Boston University. After her freshman year,  she won a scholarship to Radcliffe, but decided to leave university to marry in 1916. The couple had a daughter, but separated in 1918. Bogan went to New York to pursue…

Look at the colour of it

Dear Ali, It takes us only a few paragraphs of Autumn (2016) to recognize your characteristic marks: experimental writing; a collage of literary references; a narrative propelled through voice and voice alone; a narrative that mingles past and present, as if they were one thing, happening at once; and, finally, the creative reframing of contemporary…

German Literature Month VII

Hello, bookish people, German Literature Month ist wieder da! Just like in previous years, Lizzy and Caroline will host the 7th GLM (#germanlitmonth) this coming November. During the month, their blogs will be dedicated to literature written in German. On 15th November, Lizzy will be discussing Yoko Tawada’s Memoirs of A Polar Bear. On 29th…

I’d forgotten it was summer outside

Dear Barbara, In your novel The Vet’s Daughter (1959), I felt I was being lured into a strange place, tender and cruel. I was being lured by a voice, tenuous but powerful, pushing me through the door into a confined domestic horror. It was lonely, dangerous and grotesque, but it was a voice I very…