Category Archives: writing

Zack Graham’s To Kill a Mockingbird Problem… and Ours

The following is reprinted from the National Book Review, written by one of my former students. His words are followed by a short letter to him from me. Essay— My To Kill a Mockingbird Problem…. and Ours By Zack Graham … Continue reading

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“For Sixty Cents” by Lydia Davis

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Les faits divers—Felix Feneon

Felix Feneon (1861-1944) was an intriguing figure in turn of the century France. He was an anarchist (arrested once for possibly detonating bombs), a journalist, an art critic (who actually discovered Seurat, coining the word Neoimpressionism and championing his art). … Continue reading

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Ta-Nehisi Coates and Harper Lee

I’m not sure what possessed me to read these two books back to back— Between the World and Me and Go Set a Watchman. Because I read Go Set a Watchman first, all I could do while reading Go Set … Continue reading

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“The Fallguy’s Faith” by Robert Coover

Falling from favor, or grace, some high artifice, down he dropped like a discredited predicate through what he called space (sometimes he called it time) and with an earsplitting crack splattered the base earth with his vital attributes. Oh, I’ve … Continue reading

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“Grace Paley” by John Skoyles

At Sarah Lawrence, a student gripes that each morning when she tries to write, nothing happens. She sits and sits, and files her nails. Sips more coffee, types a bit, gets up to spray her failing plants. “Grace,” she asks … Continue reading

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Three espressos and 40 research papers

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Magic Words

The students are presently working on their research papers. They have been reading about and exploring their topics for over a week and are starting to organize their ideas. Yesterday we talked about formulating a thesis. This concept is so … Continue reading

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The incredible persuasiveness of second and third person pronouns

When writing essays I always have to remind my students to not use “I,” that I will know that the ideas are theirs because they are writing the paper. “I believe that the United States is a good place to … Continue reading

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Post-grading musings

The mega stack of Fahrenheit papers graded. Finally. Some of them oh so painful to read. In fact, I only gave two A’s. Yes, these were written just a few days before the winter break. Yes, we were all ready … Continue reading

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