"I used to encourage my students to use the literature we read as a way in to more personal essay writing, and so bringing the novel to my own experience felt like what I, as a teacher, would have told myself to do."
"But form is best for me when it’s the most invisible, and the single-stanza whoosh is somehow both almost-invisible in its proximity to prose as well as it is hyper-visible in its looking like a brick wall."
"If anything, the American Dream in this story is as elusive for me, my grandmother, and Catherine as it was for Gatsby. You never reach it, or never feel yourself to have reached it. It only exists as a possibility, not really as a clean and finished fact.
In the face of such real and seemingly insurmountable financial barriers to do so, literary magazines—and I mean all of them, at least those who have been around for more than a year—can and should pay their contributing writers for their work.
Once, as we passed Sauk Centre on a rare family outing, my father said to me, "You know that Sinclair Lewis got run out of town for his books. Maybe someday you'll write a book that gets you run out of town."