PEN America Blog
Leslie Jamison was a finalist for the 2015 PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay for The Empathy Exams, a collection of revealing essays that ask essential questions about our basic understanding of others. In these wide-ranging essays, Jamison draws from her own experience to explore street violence to reality television, poverty tourism to illness and incarceration.
And I trust people // to make good choices / so I don’t have to impale them // on the tines of my pitchfork. Or otherwise // govern them. Why do you need so much / government, if you don’t like government why // do you insist upon making / these bad choices.
"There was a time in my twenties when I didn’t write because it was too difficult. I had elevated the concept of “being a writer” to a status I felt I didn’t deserve, and the cheeky teenager who wrote those 27 pages without blinking lost her way for a while."
"But the boy knew what he knew. That ever is no time at all."