How Do You Become a Writer?

Someone’s read my thought bubble! Thank you.

Untying My Hands

What do you do?

Washingtonians are so career-driven that “what do you do?” is typically the first question people ask in this city.  I find it difficult to articulate what I do sometimes.  To say I’m a teacher seems limiting in some ways. To explain that I teach English leads to confusion.  To answer that I’m a college professor receives stares of doubt. To say I’m a writer seems too grandiose.

What I did.

At age 14, my first job was through a summer work program, and I was assigned to be a janitor at a clinic.  Picture me mopping floors in a figure eight stroke.  Later in college, my first job was as a telemarketer, a very humiliating and painful job — people hang up or they shout, scream, call you names then hang up.  After I quit that job, I worked as a shoe salesman at Florsheim.  I…

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Sarah Howe – Loop of Jade

Dave Poems.

Full Disclosure: Met Howe at this year’s Sabotage Awards on a panel regarding the Culture of Criticism. Review copy provided by Vintage Books.

Review:Loop of Jade is Howe’s first collection, in part an account of the poet’s journey to Hong Kong and China to learn about her and her mother’s past, in part a set of imaginative lyric adventures taking in Kung Fu-tzu, Pythagoras, Titus Andronicus, LA Confidential, Cormac McCarthy and Chinese political blogging, amongst others. I’ve slated writers before for wielding their education like an overseer’s whip; Howe’s poems are close-read and empathetic explorations into each text that recognise their value as real-world artefacts above and beyond their capacity to bestow literary authority. The giddying breadth and scope of attention the book achieves is held together by Howe’s calm-but-engaged, precise-but-emotionally-present narrative voice, its open-minded, casually unshakeable dedication to presenting uncomfortable and occasionally devastating stories and ideas…

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