Carole Maso

Carole Maso (1956) is a contemporary American writer. She has a B.A. in English from Vassar College, and is a professor of literary arts at Brown University since 1995. She lives with her partner, Helen Lang. Awards Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Biography/Autobiography (2001) for The Room Lit by Roses Books Novels Ghost Dance, 1986 The Art Lover, 1990 Ava, 1993…

Like a gifted mathematician set to paint a picture

Dear Dorothy, The Home-Maker (1924) does a good job at portraying a situation where people are forced into restrictive roles not only by external expectations and social pressure, but also by their own internalised beliefs of what is expected of them. Set in the early twentieth century in small town America, the book centres around…

Dorothy Canfield Fisher

Dorothy Canfield Fisher (née Dorothea Frances Canfield, February 17, 1879 – November 9, 1958) was an American writer and social activist, named by Eleanor Roosevelt one of the ten most influential women in the United States. She received a B.A. from Ohio State University, and earned a PhD in Romance languages from Columbia University. Later, she received honorary degrees from Dartmouth College,…

The wind was a green ghost

“Feel Me “Feel me to do right,” our father said on his deathbed. We did not quite know—in fact, not at all—what he meant. His last whisper was spent as through a slot in a wall. He left us a key, but how did it fit? “Feel me to do right.” Did it mean that,…

May Swenson

May Swenson (Anna Thilda May “May” Swenson, 28 May 1913 – 4 December 1989) was an American writer. Born in the United States to Swedish immigrant parents, she grew up in a Mormon household, and English was her second language. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Utah State University. From 1959 to 1966, she worked as manuscript reviewer at New Directions Press. She taught poetry…

The tempting fruit that hung above you

Shards I can never remake the thing I have destroyed; I brushed the golden dust from the moth’s bright wing, I called down wind to shatter the cherry-blossoms, I did a terrible thing. I feared that the cup might fall, so I flung it from me; I feared that the bird might fly, so I…

Aline Murray Kilmer

Aline Murray Kilmer (August 1, 1888 – October 1, 1941) was an American poet and essayist. She attended the Rutgers College Grammar School in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and graduated from the Vail-Deane School in Elizabeth, New Jersey. After her husband’s death in World War I, she began publishing her own books. Books Poetry Candles That Burn (1919) Vigils (1921) Shards (poem) To Sappho, About Her Apple (poem)…

A small tear in the fabric of reality

Dear Nicole, Most of the time, we tend to think of fiction as a mirror held up, facing reality. Never mind if this is a clear mirror, a cloudy or an openly distorted one – our gaze rarely changes direction. Some books, however, attempt to cross through the looking-glass: they direct our gaze away from…

Nicole Krauss

Nicole Krauss (August 18, 1974) is an American writer. Krauss majored in English at Stanford University. She has a Master’s degree in English from Oxford University and one in art history from London’s Courtauld Institute. In 2007, Krauss was named by Granta one of the best young American novelists; in 2010, The New Yorker included her on its 20…

And if you’re lost enough to find yourself

Dear Robert, Something strong and heavy built upon a void: that’s what your poem “Directive” looks like for me. You are at the heart of paradox, that’s the place where you are writing from: “a house that is no more a house, / upon a farm that is no more a farm/ and in a…

Robert Frost

Robert Frost (March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963) was an American poet. Frost enrolled at Dartmouth College, in 1892, and later at Harvard University, from 1897 to 1899, but never earned a formal college degree. He worked as farmer and English teacher at the local school. Later, he taught English at Amherst College and at the University of Michigan, and served as…

The point is not to negate reality, but to peel back its scrim,

Dear Chloe, Your novel The Immortalists (2018) seems to be cursed by the very premise it seeks to explore: the interplay between chance and destiny is not an easy subject to tackle. Your somewhat tamed approach to it, however, is a bad omen. The book is a decades-spanning story of a Jewish immigrant family. It…