“Oftentimes, when I would perform at poetry readings, I’d tell these little stories about what inspired a poem (such as growing up in a restaurant and being locked in the meat freezer),” says Jane Wong in an interview for PEN America’s PEN Ten series about her debut memoir, Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City (Tin House, 2023). “I started to realize that these little poem ‘intros’ were insights into much larger stories—stories that go beyond my own family, my own relationships.” This week, inspired by Wong’s generative writing practice, return to an old draft of a poem, story, or essay, and begin a new essay that looks deeper into the backstory of that work. What did you leave unsaid?
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