Writing a Life in Fragments

Fragment-Mosaic

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…

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Reimagining Immigration in a World of Portals

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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.

Favorite Books of 2017

My favorite books published in 2017 include Nina Riggs’ stunning and beautiful memoir written in her last living days, The Bright Hour; Kanishk Tharoor’s imaginative story collection, Swimmer Among the Stars; Hala Alyan’s expansively drawn novel depicting generations of displacement and discovery, Salt Houses; Zeina Hashem Beck’s second full-length poetry collection that sings with power and urgency, Louder than Hearts; and Melissa Febos’ lyric, layered memoir, Abandon Me.

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Scattered to the Wind

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If, like me, you’ve been haunted by headlines and images of people risking all to flee desperate conditions in the Middle East, perhaps you might want to understand more — Who are they, What are their stories, their motivations, their fates? The second of my Ploughshares blogs discusses three novels that take us there, into the heart of the migration crisis and the lives of individuals caught up in it.

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Chronicling Loss, Revealing Humanity

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In my first blog post for the journal Ploughshares, I explore Kanishk Tharoor’s radio series, “The Museum of Lost Objects,” and his luminous story collection, Swimmer Among the Stars. In both, Tharoor’s stories remind us of the power of empathy and connection in our shared experience and the need for imagination, even playfulness, in times of adversity.

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