PEN America Blog
The piece originally appeared on Poetry International's website on March 7, 2014.
Letters from Ukraine
This week, Russian troops invaded Crimea. Putin claims this invasion is an effort to protect the Russian-language population of the peninsula from Ukrainian nationalists.
From outside my guide Amir and I could hear the tock of Ramazan’s weaver’s shuttle, the loud noise of metal slamming against wood, as we approached his studio in Yazd, Iran. The sound mixed with shouts of glee from the schoolyard beside his workshop...
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?
PEN bids goodbye to guest poetry editors.
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,”...