November/December 2006

Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Paul Muldoon on mind reading, mediums, and the merits of rock and roll, plus our annual special section on the ever-popular MFA program.


Lyrical Latitude: A Profile of Paul Muldoon

by Craig Morgan Teicher
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With the publication of his new collection Horse Latitudes, poet, musician, and professor Paul Muldoon continues to resist characterization.

Secrets of Sisterhood: A Profile of Nachid Rachlin

by Carolyne Wright
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Fiction writer Nachid Rachlin, who left the oppressive conditions in Iran in the mid 1960s, continues to cross borders and return to her native country in her newest book Persian Girls.

Here is Necessity: A Profile of Richard Ford

by Joshua Bodwell
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Frank Bascombe, the character made famous in Richard Ford's The Sportswriter and Independence Day, says goodbye in The Lay of the Land.

Finishing the First: A Dozen Poets Who Sealed the Deal in 2006

by Kevin Larimer
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In the annual feature on debut poetry, twelve poets discuss their debut books and several established poets look back at their first collections.

MFA Programs

The Top Five Programs: Where They Are Now

by Eleanor Henderson
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A look at the current status of the five MFA programs U.S. News & World Report ranked in the top five in 1997, the last year it covered creative writing.

England's First Master's in Creative Nonfiction: A Genre is Born Abroad

by Neil Baker
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A look at the U.K.'s first MFA program in creative nonfiction.

News and Trends


What About Franz?

by Ken Gordon

Taking cues from Letters to a Young Poet, published more than seventy years ago, the Letters to Poets project puts an updated spin on Rilke’s experiment in mentorship with organized correspondence between two distinct types of poets.

Literary MagNet

by Kevin Larimer

Literary MagNet chronicles the start-ups and closures, successes and failures, anniversaries and accolades, changes of editorship and special issues—in short, the news and trends—of literary magazines in America. This issue's MagNet features Ploughshares, Calyx, Gargoyle, and American Short Fiction.

Four Memoirists Find an I in Team

by Anna Mantzaris

Last year a total of 172,000 books were published in the United States. Although that number reflects a 10 percent decrease from the previous year, it's easy to see how any one book could get lost in the shuffle—especially if it's one among the many memoirs being published every season. With the idea that there's strength in numbers, four memoirists who published books earlier this year have joined forces to promote their titles, developing a community of like-minded authors—and fostering emerging writers—along the way.

Small Press Points

by Kevin Larimer

Small Press Points highlights the happenings of the small press players. This issue features Featherproof Books, Hourglass Books, Haymarket Books, Dalkey Archive Press, BOA Editions Ltd., and Omnidawn Publishing.

Indie Bookstores Face Uphill Battle

by Kevin Smokler

When fiction writer Barry Eisler heard last summer that Kepler's Books in Menlo Park, California, would close after fifty years in business, his first reaction was a loud expletive. His second was an e-mail to owner Clark Kepler with an offer to help. "I used to see those big author photos in the window…and I was working on what would become my first novel," says Eisler, the author of the Jain Rain series of thrillers. "My fantasies of literary success were all based on doing book signings at Kepler's."


The Written Image: Up Is Up, but So Is Down

by Staff

Art from Up Is Up, but So Is Down, a collection of writing and more than 125 photographs, book covers, and flyers that illustrate the dynamic, subversive work of the literary community known as "Downtown."

The Practical Writer

Stand Up or Sit Down: Performance Tips for Reading Your Work

by Meredith Broussard
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A how-to guide for presenting yourself during an interview, a reading, or a Q&A session.

The Literary Life

The Poets of Kabul: Report from Literary Afghanistan

by Stephen Morison Jr.
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Afghanistan's poetry community thrives despite the country's political turmoil.

The Art of Reading Bernard Malamud

by Michael Depp
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The question of privacy emerges in the life and work of novelist and short story writer Bernard Malamud.