PEN America Blog
My mother’s name is written on the second page of the book: María Victoria Ávalos Flores. A somewhat hasty examination of the handwriting leads me to the improbable conclusion that someone else wrote her name there. It is not my father’s handwriting, nor that of anyone I know. Whose is it then?
We bid goodbye to guest poetry editors Shane McCrae, Maggie Nelson, and C.D. Wright, who, over the course of the past year, helped PEN America feature work from some of the most thrilling poets writing today.
What pulls us forward, and keeps us from feeling like mice in a spinning wheel, are a few important deadlines: One, the distribution of the manuscripts to a committee of judges; two, the return of the committee’s results; and three, the mailing out of notification letters to all of the winners. This last task marks the unofficial culmination of our year’s work.
They stared in amazement for a long time at the trucks of the special operations units, which they had never before seen in their town. These, however, remained purely for effect. A young guy who tried to use an unauthorized megaphone was led away. Vasisualiy heard later that the place had been “crawling with people in plain clothes,”...
Leading up to and throughout the Sochi Winter Olympic Games, we will be exploring through poetry, fiction, and nonfiction the implications of growing restrictions on freedom of expression in Russia since President Putin returned to office in 2012. The pieces were written for a special issue of The Dissident Blog, published by Swedish PEN.