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PEN American Center

December 16, 14

"I don't find the skill to be in writing or even in reading. The real skill is being a human being, weighing that, contemplating its arcs and depths, and then making it all for better or worse sing." Read More  »

December 9, 14

"But in this case I was writing about people crossing the border, dying in the desert or living in fear, undocumented in Boyle Heights, and it was inspired by real families and actual events. I worried that this story wasn’t mine to write." Read More  »

December 2, 14

"The best books probably weren't written for presidents. The most important books will probably always be written for people who are afraid of what the presidency might become." Read More  »

November 25, 14

"My politico-aesthetic stance and practice as a poet and translator is 'illegal' and will likely remain so. I will let you know if and when an arrest ever happens." Read More  »

November 20, 14

"I'm obsessed with manhood as a brutal and artful performance. My mind always finds its way back to the crossroad where sex, race, and power collide." Read More  »

November 11, 14

War may be the ultimate subject. Its truth is elusive. They say only the dead know war. Read More  »

October 29, 14

[W]riters have to write, even under threat. I think often of Tahar Djaout’s words: “If you speak, you die / If you are silent, you die / So speak and die.” Read More  »

October 24, 14

I sometimes used to describe my time in Montreal as an unmitigated catastrophe, but that was untrue. I got a novel out of it. Read More  »

October 22, 14

I think that publishers and editors have a great deal of responsibility, but I’m not sure that writers do. Write the best book you possibly can. That’s it. Read More  »

October 20, 14

Is the conscience the soul’s surveillance of the self? When are observations neutral? Does a writer, even without knowing, intend to “use” observations for the benefit of the writing in a way that is markedly different from the way advertisers...Read More  »

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