In Honor of Valentine’s Day: Three Award-Winning Romance Novelists Discuss Their Craft

By Laurelin Paige, CD Reiss, and Vanessa Fewings

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, three notable romance authors interview each other about the the art of storytelling and share their thoughts on the popular genre. Laurelin Paige is the New York Times Bestselling Author of Chandler, CD Reiss is the New York Times Bestselling Author of Marriage Games and Separation Games, and Vanessa Fewings is the USA Today Bestselling Author of Enthrall Secrets. Continue reading

A Rare Korean War Story in How in Heaven’s Name

By Charles Montgomery

Korean translated literature very rarely features straightforward “war” stories, tending instead to focus on interpersonal and savagely political relationships against the backdrop of a war. This is true of World War II, The Korean War, and the Vietnamese War (many westerners are unfamiliar with Korea’s involvement in that “action”). When exceptions emerge, like the sprawling war story How in Heaven’s Name by Jo Jung-Rae (also romanized as Cho Chong-Rae, Cho Chongnae, and in other ways besides), they are worth noting. It is, like much of Jo’s work, based on reality — in this case, the story of Korean soldiers impressed into various armies — and mixes the brutal reality of war, the horror and uncertainty of capture, with the vagaries of post-war reality. Continue reading

Elegy as Ecstasy: Rereading Motherwell

By Dean Rader

“a word is elegy to what it signifies”Robert Hass

The first poem of mine to be accepted for publication in a national magazine was about Robert Motherwell. It bears the dizzyingly innovative but not misleading title Motherwell. It was (and is) an homage to his spectacular series of Elegies to the Spanish Republic, completed between 1957 and 1990. That Motherwell is the subject of a poem is not surprising since the main aesthetic concept for the Elegies finds its roots in poetry. Motherwell’s artistic guide was the French Symbolist poet Stephan Mallarmé, who urged artists “to paint, not the thing, but the effect it provides.” That advice is highly symbolic and highly evocative in that it foregrounds the poetic over the literal. Continue reading


By Joanna Chen

The last time I drove up this hill on the outskirts of Jerusalem was just over five years ago. In front of me was an Israeli army truck with six beautiful olive trees strapped to it, their trucks thick and gnarled, the dull leaves trembling as the truck lurched up the hill in heavy traffic. I could not take my eyes off those trees, which must have been 60 years old at least. They were not chopped up, but whole and beautiful and vibrant. From where had they been ripped up so meticulously, and where they being taken to so carefully, I wondered.  Continue reading

Resistance at the Crossroads of the World

By Benjamin Reeves

Between President Donald Trump’s proposed wall along the border with Mexico, his threat of a trade war with China, rejection of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and skepticism about funding NATO, there’s no question that he seeks to separate the U.S. from the rest of the world. Virulent racism and explicitly anti-immigrant rhetoric are beginning to metastasize into actual, though disjointed and poorly executed policy. Yet a robust resistance movement is rising to meet it, and airports — perhaps the perfect symbolism of benevolent globalism — have become a locus of that resistance. Continue reading

Alec Baldwin, James Baldwin, and Apocalyptic Exceptionalism

By Matt Seybold

Ratings for Saturday Night Live steadily declined for four consecutive seasons, starting in 2011, as Lorne Michaels struggled uncharacteristically to cultivate a new crop of stars. In the fall of 2015, the overhauled cast began to rally around Kate McKinnon, particularly her portrayal of Hillary Clinton. SNL’s current season is on pace to be its highest-rated since, perhaps not coincidentally, the election of Barack Obama. Among the most viral videos the revitalized show has generated is “Hillary Actually,” which aired during the final episode of 2016. Parodying a famous scene from the romantic comedy Love Actually, the sketch features McKinnon, as Clinton, using cue cards to coyly communicate with members of the Electoral College. McKinnon ventriloquizes efforts to persuade electors to abandon President-Elect Trump and, as one of the cards reads, “just vote for literally anyone else.” One could interpret the scene as mocking increasingly desperate and delusional public figures who couldn’t seem to come to terms with the reality of Trump’s impending presidency. But it isn’t satire exactly. The cue cards, though witty, actually make a cogent and compelling argument for faithless electors, complete with bullet points like “2. He’s already provoked the Chinese,” “6. He knew Russia was involved in hacking the election,” “11. His Vice President believes in conversion therapy,” “12. More than a dozen women have accused him of sexual assault,” and “15. He doesn’t know how the government works.” Continue reading

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