Saidiya Hartman Reading at Politics and Prose Bookstore

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“I had written two books on slavery, and writing about slavery is to be in the center of a very difficult psychic territory, and so when I started doing the research for this project, I was very hungry for beauty—and I think I discovered it here,” says Saidiya Hartman about writing her book Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women, and Queer Radicals (Norton, 2019), winner of the 2019 National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism, in this 2019 reading at Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C.

Rachel Cusk on Discipline in Writing

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“Discipline is a massive component of creating a body of work, and the further I get, the more I see that that really is true,” says Rachel Cusk in this 2019 interview with Tonny Vorm at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark. Cusk’s novel Second Place (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2021) is featured in Page One in the May/June issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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Life of a Poet: Diane Seuss

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In this 2019 video, Diane Seuss reads from her books of poetry and speaks about her writing with Washington Post’s Ron Charles at Hill Center in Washington, D.C. for a series hosted by the Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress. Seuss’s essay “Restless Herd: Some Thoughts on Order—In Poetry, In Life” appears in the May/June issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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Bedtime Stories: Lot by Bryan Washington

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“Roberto was brown and his people lived next door so of course I went over on weekends.” Listen to Bryan Washington read an excerpt from his debut story collection, Lot (Riverhead Books, 2019), for this Penguin Random House video series, which encourages listening to audiobooks before bed to help with sleep.

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Mrs. Fletcher

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Mrs. Fletcher (Scribner, 2017) by Tom Perrotta—whose novels Election, Little Children, and The Leftovers have previously inspired screen adaptations—has been adapted into an HBO television series. The comedy series stars Kathryn Hahn as Eve Fletcher, a divorcée who has a midlife sexual awakening after her son leaves home for college.

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Line / Break With Natalie Scenters-Zapico

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“Talking about poetry, especially in the U.S. context, you’re treated like you’re the village fool,” says Natalie Scenters-Zapico about identifying as a poet in this episode of Line /Break with host Laura Buccieri. “Usually, if we learn anything the fool is the one that carries most of the wisdom.” Scenters-Zapico is the author of Lima :: Limón (Copper Canyon Press, 2019), which was included on the international shortlist for the 2020 Griffin Poetry Prize.

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Ocean Vuong on War, Sexuality, and Asian American Identity

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“I would sneak out of recess, stay in the library to listen to tapes of famous speeches, and one of them was Martin Luther King,” recounts Ocean Vuong about his childhood in this interview with Michel Martin for Amanpour and Company. “You could hear the static when he was giving the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, and I thought...who is this man talking about dreams in a snowstorm?” Vuong was awarded the 2020 Brooklyn Public Library Fiction & Poetry Prize for his novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous (Penguin Press, 2019).

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Julie Andrews and Stephen Colbert Exchange Limericks

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In this clip from The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Julie Andrews speaks about her latest book, Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years (Hachette Books, 2019), which is cowritten by her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton, and exchanges personalized limericks with the host.

Winter Stars by Arthur Sze

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In this Asian American Writers’ Workshop video, Arthur Sze reads and discusses the origin of his poem “Winter Stars,” featured in The Best American Poetry 2020 anthology guest edited by Paisley Rekdal. Sze won the 2019 National Book Award in poetry for his collection Sight Lines (Copper Canyon Press, 2019).

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