The Paris Review's Fall 2014 issue has arrived! In the Art of Fiction No. 225, Herta Müller discusses her early fascination with plants (“They knew how to live and I didn’t”), life under Ceauşescu, and her approach to the sentence:
I’m not hungry for words, but they have a hunger of their own. They want to consume what I have experienced, and I have to make sure that they do that … The language knows where it has to wind up. I know what I want, but the sentence knows how I’ll get there.
Hardtalk speaks to the acclaimed Ghanaian writer Ama Ata Aidoo who has arguably done more than any other writer to depict and celebrate the condition of women in Africa, in books such as The Dilemma of a Ghost, and Changes. She is opposed to what she has described as a ‘Western perception that the African female is a downtrodden wretch’. But when you look around the African continent today - girls abducted in Nigeria, polygamy reintroduced in Kenya, child marriages and the prevalence of gender based violence, how much is there really to celebrate about being female in Africa?
I work with musicians routinely, and we continue to combine music and poetry in ways that I think are meaningful.
I believe that all fiction is personal and all writing is at some level personal. As you may know, my motto is: “All memory is fiction.” It could just as easily be: “All fiction is memory.” Unpacked, these two statements defy the ease of logic, but offer some really important truths about narrative art, at the very least, and about memory. So I would say that all art is personal.
Maybe that is the power of poetry. It somehow transcends news cycles, and becomes a part of our collective imagination.
Dawes is Ghana-born poet, actor, editor, critic, and musician, who grew up in Jamaica. His collections of poetry include Wisteria: Poems From the Swamp Country, Impossible Flying, and Back of Mount Peace. He is Professor of English at the University of Nebraska and editor-in-chief at the Prairie Schooner.
Flannery O’Connor – born March 25, 1925 – is the most accomplished graduate of an American MFA program, and like any freshly minted MFA, no sooner did she get her degree than she propounded on the whole business. Her insights – in an essay written for the alumni magazine of the Georgia…