I knew it was a matter of time before we would see a novel on the sentience of trees, especially since the publication two years ago of the German forester Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees and the groundbreaking discoveries by Dr. Suzanne Simard and other scientists on tree behavior. Their findings show that trees communicate and share resources to help their offspring and neighbors and even pass on memories of trauma. There is still so much we don’t know about these majestic living creatures, but the possibilities are enough to pique one’s imagination.
Fifty years ago, Edward Abbey could already see the trampling of industry on the fragile desert country he had grown to love during his time as a ranger in what is now Arches National Park. My tribute to the iconic writer on the Ploughshares blog.
The stories in a new anthology edited by Viet Thanh Nguyen speak not only of estrangements from languages, loved ones, and countries of origin, but also of the pain of being in a new place that is not always accepting. On the Ploughshares blog
I have been most moved by writing that tells a story in fragments, often ones that are weighted with emotion and significance to the life of the narrator. Only after each fragment has been picked up, polished, and assembled in place, jagged edge to jagged edge, does the meaning reveal itself.
More on writing in fragments at the Ploughshares blog…
What if we accepted that the quest for one’s security and freedom is an undeniable part of human nature, that it lies within the very foundations of our country? That much of the opposition to immigration is generated from fear? What if we focused less on the countries of origin and the circumstances of arrival, and instead focused on how best to provide safety and order for all? What kind of nation could we be?
My latest piece on the Ploughshares blog, discussing immigration and Mohsin Hamid’s imaginative novel, Exit West.
For my latest Ploughshares blog, I highlighted two memoirs that left me spellbound. Roxane Gay’s Hunger and Melissa Febos’s Abandon Me both deal with longing to be understood and fighting the instinct to try to disappear. Both also use repetition as a literary device to achieve a lyricism, rhythm, and resonance that build power. Read more…