Ethiopian exile Nega Mezlekia's memoir, Notes From the Hyena's Belly, details his remarkable boyhood in Jijiga, a city in the eastern part of the Horn of Africa built on a "dry, sandless desert where even the smallest wind creates devils—whirlwinds of dust that rise high into the heavens and are visible from miles away."
Article Archive: Feature
Articles from Poet & Writers Magazine include material from the print edition plus exclusive online-only material.
Elizabeth Alexander's new collection, Antebellum Dream Book, deals with the image of the body, a theme she visits often in her previous works. "If you let a body speak," she says, "it gives you access to all sorts of concrete sensations that are vital, the stuff of poetry, the way a poem convinces." In this interview with Natasha Trethewey, Alexander speaks to her use of race, urban life, history, and of course, the body.
In such a saturated culture, how can a poet clear away uninfluenced space from which to write a poem that is authentic, original?
The author of the story collections CivilWarLand in Bad Decline and Pastoralia talks about working in a slaughterhouse, Monty Python as validation, earnestness as the enemy, and his uncanny ability to find humor in unlikely places.
Poet Joy Harjo talks about how the women’s movement, jazz, and Native American and mainstream U.S. culture have influenced her work.