The Spirit Cabinet

The Spirit Cabinet Anthemion Her grandparents had spoken “a foreign tongue,” she recalled, but she couldn’t say which one. When I pressed for more, my grandmother would grow glum and dour, as if she were resisting prosecution. I took a picture of her the last day I visited her apartment. Her cat is in the […]

A Harp in the Stars

The term “lyric essay” has been with us for nearly thirty years, and while it may well be that we still can’t agree on what it is, here to save us from the irksome I know it when I see it is the new, illuminating anthology of lyric essays A Harp in the Stars. Part […]

Farm Girl: a Memoir

Megan Baxter’s Farm Girl is more than a memoir of a woman working on a Vermont farm—the place she fell in love with and began working at when she was fifteen. It’s also the author’s journey as she grapples with who she is and where she belongs, and how she learns to separate herself from […]

Dear Memory: Letters on Writing, Silence, and Grief

Following the multiple-award-winning success of Obit, Victoria Chang’s Dear Memory: Letters on Writing, Silence, and Grief, contemplates heartache, memory, and identity in epistolary form. These letters—addressed to unnamed family members, educators, friends, even to silence—may appear to be one-way communications, but the reader is carbon copied as confidant and silent recipient, enjoined to consider her […]

Windswept: Walking the Paths of Trailblazing Women

Women have always walked. Walking is in our “molecular memories,” Annabel Abbs insists in her new book Windswept, “carved indelibly into our DNA.” For thousands of years, women in hunter-gatherer societies walked as many as ten miles a day. And, once agriculture bound women to specific portions of land, women still walked to survive. Water, […]

These Fevered Days: Ten Pivotal Moments in the Making of Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson wrote that “biography first convinces us of the fleeing of the Biographed.” And, indeed, for a century and a half, the mystery of Emily Dickinson’s life has evaded many biographers. Her story has instead been hindered by countless myths and stereotypes. Emily the recluse. Emily the woman too shy to publish her work. […]

Graceland, At Last: Notes on Hope and Heartache from the American South

In Graceland, At Last, Margaret Renkl makes the stereotypes of her native country her business. Taken from her weekly op-ed column in the New York Times, these essays emanate from Renkl outwards—from her own garden where hawks drink at her birdbath to a wildlife reserve in Tennessee helping reestablish the eagle population, from her son’s […]

The Ghosts of Lubbock

My father will spin his life into a series of anecdotes and stage-friendly one-liners. It’s a magician’s trick. First comes a sudden sparkle in the periphery, an old pickpocket move, though he uses it to protect his own pockets. Over there, he’ll point, and in a wink you’ll laugh and look away.