Writing Workshop for Teens with Food Allergies


I’ve combined my expertise as a teacher of writing with my interest in food allergies, and here’s one exciting outcome: I’m teaching a workshop on personal writing for teens at the inaugural FARE National Food Allergy Conference in Rosemont, IL. I just finished putting together the materials, and I think it will be good. I’ve come up with some fun games and challenging exercises, and I’ve discovered some fantastic teen writing and blogging around the web. Looking forward to talking with/listening to/learning from the teens in my workshop. Details can be found here.


There’s No Place Like Home

Is there no place like home?

Literary critic Susan Stanford Friedman explores some of the contradictions in this quotation in her essay, “Bodies on the Move: A Poetics of Home and Diaspora”:

“There’s no place like home” means home is the best, the ideal, everything that elsewhere is not. Places elsewhere can never bring the same happiness as home. Alternatively inflected, the phrase turns into its opposite. “There’s no place like home” also means that no place, anywhere, is like home. Nowhere is there a place like home. Home is a never never land of dreams and desire. Home is utopia—a no place, a nowhere, an imaginary space longed for, always already lost in the very formation of the idea of home. (Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature 23.2 [2004]: 192)

Two gripping 2013 novels give us very different perspectives on the contradictory meanings of home and belonging: Taiye Selasi’s Ghana Must Go (Penguin) and NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names (Little, Brown). I review these two novels in the May/June issue of Women’s Review of Books, available here.


Interview with Eliza Griswold in Boston Review

Poet-journalist Eliza Griswold has traveled to Afghanistan twice to collect Pashtun women’s oral poems, known as landays. I first came across these poems in an issue of Poetry last summer and was moved by their complexity and by the lives of the women who created them. In January 2014, I spoke with Eliza about her experience collecting and translating these landays, and about how everyday poems can mark sacred time. The interview is up at Boston Review.


Reading and Writing Workshop

Slant of Light

As part of the Celebration of Women’s Voices festival, I’ll be reading tonight at Historic Huguenot Street’s Deyo Hall along with other contributors to A Slant of Light: Contemporary Women Writers of the Hudson Valley. My piece is a short memoir essay about finding food in rural France in the late summer (which sounds pretty good right now, I have to confess. Anyone else as tired of winter as I am?). Looking forward to meeting other contributors as well as to teaching tomorrow’s workshop on opinion writing and blogging. Directions and details can be found at the Historic Huguenot Street’s website.


Another review! This one by Literary Mama

So thrilled about the glowing review by Rhena Tantisunthorn over at Literary Mama. She quotes from several of the essays from the book. I love how she describes what The Good Mother Myth is trying to do:

“It is as if we are museum-goers hypnotized by images of the Madonna and child. And the only way to undo the spell, to break our gaze from this unrealistic prototype, is to reach out to each other, to confront each other with our own realities. ‘Here I am! A good-enough mother!’ these essayists seem to shout.”

Exactly. Read more of Tantisunthorn’s review.