The Vaster Wilds (2023) by Lauren Groff Critical Evaluation "Groff’s novels often account for a character’s entire life, propelling the reader through a cascade of keenly articulated, outward-facing presents, rather than cogitations on the past. “The Vaster Wilds” is much narrower in time frame, taking place over just a few weeks, and more urgent in its objectives. Pursued by threats real and imagined, the girl is driven by a sovereign hunger, and Groff is lyrically, painstakingly attentive to the textures of her craving. The girl finds a nest of baby squirrels and roasts them on a spit; she swallows oysters she finds [...]
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Staff Essay Contest Winners Capture Life’s Joys Princeton Writes Program Director John Weeren with essay contest winners. From left to right: John Weeren, Colton Poore, Robyn Howard, Dianne Spatafore, and Derek Ziegler. Photo by David Kelly Crow. Written by Adrianne Da Ponte, Advancement Aug. 15, 2023 Four Princeton staff members have been honored for their writing in the ninth annual Princeton Writes essay contest. The 2022-2023 contest, which invited participants to share how they cultivate joy in their lives, inspired submissions from 55 staff members representing 43 academic and administrative units. An essay by Colton Poore, a communications [...]
—From "Rainier" by Kris Johnson I am in love with this mountain that all summer long threatens to killmy father. Swallow him in the pale blue Emmons, crush him beneath an avalancheor send him sliding down the Kautz - his crampons falling on pre-dawn ice. This mountain I love will one day knock on the door of my mother's home, unearth the graves of my relatives and carry hyacinths and coffins down the Duwamish, out into the Sound.
a moving grove Iryna Shuvalova Translated from the Ukrainian by Uilleam Blacker go escape while you can go escape buy tickets for the last water train which as it subsides reveals curbs pavements the riverside the anatomy of the sinewy city that lies naked and unfamiliar like a man in your bed go—escape while you can take all your belongings everything that’s yours split lips cut knees the cracked jar of a head from which memory slowly seeps and all you can leave just leave behind the evening lights in the windows the beloved exposed throat of the sky the [...]
September Tomatoes BY KARINA BOROWICZ The whiskey stink of rot has settled in the garden, and a burst of fruit flies rises when I touch the dying tomato plants. Still, the claws of tiny yellow blossoms flail in the air as I pull the vines up by the roots and toss them in the compost. It feels cruel. Something in me isn’t ready to let go of summer so easily. To destroy what I’ve carefully cultivated all these months. Those pale flowers might still have time to fruit. My great-grandmother sang with the girls of her village as they pulled the flax. [...]
Diagnosis BY MEENA ALEXANDER So how will it end? You want it straight? He looked me in the eye: You will lose weight, Become more and more tired. This kind will not enter your bones or brain. I stared at him, ravished. Could not pluck my eyes from his old man face. — Later the cuneiform earth Skimmed in snow Inviolate bones Torn ligament of language. A skeletal beauty Stars still uncover. — Come dawn a young doctor In reddening shirt sleeves, His voice quick, prickly undersong— No grandeur here, Just breath assuaging its own battery. Flash of sempiternal spring? A [...]
How to Stand Up to a Dictator (2022) by Maria Ressa Critical Evaluation "What flows through this, Ressa’s memoir, is a strong ethical sense that journalism has to be grounded in honesty and truth-telling, in evidence and incontrovertible facts. An experienced and acclaimed journalist, Ressa made her career at CNN, setting up and running the Southeast Asia Bureau during the 1990s. Born in the Philippines then raised and educated in the US, she had returned after graduation and found her way into the media at an exciting time – colonialism had ended and democracy seemed possible. "Populist governments either cultivate pro-government [...]
Evening Hawk BY ROBERT PENN WARREN From plane of light to plane, wings dipping through Geometries and orchids that the sunset builds, Out of the peak's black angularity of shadow, riding The last tumultuous avalanche of Light above pines and the guttural gorge, The hawk comes. His wing Scythes down another day, his motion Is that of the honed steel-edge, we hear The crashless fall of stalks of Time. The head of each stalk is heavy with the gold of our error. Look! Look! he is climbing the last light Who knows neither Time nor error, and under Whose eye, unforgiving, the [...]
Every Job Has a First Day BY REBECCA GAYLE HOWELL Slade was pulling minnows out of the dry river the day we met. Puddles, more or less, was what was left. But what could live wanted to and tried, treading narrow circles, a glide of brittle ﬁns. He wore those rubber boots, though the sun was an anvil, and very little wet; he smiled, I remember that, his nickel smile right at me, his ﬁngers letting fall the small ﬁsh muscles into a bag ﬁlled with yellow tap. I didn’t ask his name, or what it was he thought he was doing, [...]
How to Triumph Like a Girl BY ADA LIMÓN I like the lady horses best, how they make it all look easy, like running 40 miles per hour is as fun as taking a nap, or grass. I like their lady horse swagger, after winning. Ears up, girls, ears up! But mainly, let’s be honest, I like that they’re ladies. As if this big dangerous animal is also a part of me, that somewhere inside the delicate skin of my body, there pumps an 8-pound female horse heart, giant with power, heavy with blood. Don’t you want to believe it? Don’t you [...]