50 States, 50 Novels – Part 7

New Mexico – Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya (1972) One of the cornerstones of Chicano literature, Rudolfo Anaya’s debut novel is an astonishing first person narrative following the life of Antonio, who recounts memories of his childhood in small town New Mexico. New York – The Assistant by Bernard Malamud (1957) New York City […]

5 Spoken Word Poems to Listen to Today

Looking for a healthy dose of word play, rhythm, intense imagery, and engaging showmanship? Look no farther than Spoken Word poetry. It has always been around, but with the emergence of Youtube and other social media platforms, the art form has seen a flurry of new, at times viral, activity. Whether you’re a newcomer Spoken […]

Writers on the Road

Throughout history, Americans have  been known for their desire to discover and explore new places and enjoy new experiences. Never is this aspect of American identity more apparent than in its writers. From travelogues to diaries, American writers have taken pen to paper to record their thoughts and experiences as they traveled through the vast […]

In the Words of America’s Science Writers

Among America’s most valuable authors are a diverse set of science authors – here are excerpted insights from just a few! Rachel Carson (conservationist), Silent Spring We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost’s familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is […]

American Literary Playlists- Part 1

The creative processes of literary writing and songwriting have always been intertwined. Musicians such as Bob Dylan and Patti Smith have successfully crossed over into the literary realm, winning awards and critical praise for their poetry and autobiographies. Likewise, many famous American writers have expressed musical leanings: both Jack Kerouac and Maya Angelou recorded albums; […]

Life Lessons From Steinbeck’s “Travels With Charley”

Our lives are dictated by a variety of proclivities that influence our decisions and choices and actions. For me, two that have greatly informed my life are my insatiable wanderlust and my boundless love for dogs. I’ve explored and traveled anywhere I can, finding equal joy in a quick jaunt to a nearby town and […]

Poems & Poets From The Black Mountain School

The Fundamentals The Black Mountain poets were so named for their association with the experimental Black Mountain College in North Carolina from 1933 until 1956. Their progressive and nontraditional take on poetry was coined ‘projective verse’ by Charles Olson, a founding member of the movement. The approach entails a focus on the creative process rather […]

New Works by Classic American Authors Lead to Excitement and Disappointment

Nearly a year before Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman was released in July 2015, the book world was abuzz with anticipation and speculation. To Kill a Mockingbird was 55 years old, and most people thought the elderly invalid author was a ‘one-hit wonder.’ The ongoing soap opera about the journey to publication of the […]