June 11, 2019

Zora Neale Hurston’s lessons in writing a love story

At one point, sitting in the Beinecke Library, I closed my eyes and let my fingers fall on random sentences of Hurston’s masterwork. Word for word, sentence for sentence, Their Eyes Were Watching God was damn near flawless. 

 

March 13, 2018

A Writing on Writing essay from the 100th issue.

I keep a photograph on my desk that I printed from the internet. It is a candid snapshot, taken at the end of a gathering of black women. It must be fall because most of them are wearing coats. It looks as if someone insisted at the last minute that they take a photo to capture the evening. In the background, a portrait of Bessie Smith, the blues singer, hangs on the wall. 

August 04, 2016

In 1927, for Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes, America was full of promise. Their road trip through the South now seems a halcyon journey of friendship, bonhomie, adventure, and intellectual challenge.

May 27, 2016

Roll down the road and the rails and a river this summer with stories of humanity on the move that are summery and light, lyrical and meditative.