All posts tagged: Interviews

Ask a Local: Anzhelina Polonskaya, Frankfurt, Germany

With ANZHELINA POLONSKAYA

Frankfurt city skyline along the River Main

Your name: Anzhelina Polonskaya

Current city or town: Frankfurt

How long have you lived here: 2 years

Three words to describe the climate: windy in winter

Best time of year to visit?: spring, summer


1) The most striking physical features of this city/town are
. . . The skylines and the River Main. Frankfurt was destroyed during the second war, and the skylines give a “fresh air” to the city. Of course, I cannot compare the city to New York or Chicago, but I think the modern architecture makes Frankfurt unique, if we are talking about Germany in general, and fits in general the composition of the city. Everything is around the River Main: holidays, boats, sports, cafes and walkways.

Ask a Local: Anzhelina Polonskaya, Frankfurt, Germany
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History is Not Over: An Interview with Viet Thanh Nguyen

ALEXANDER BISLEY interviews VIET THANH NGUYEN

Viet Thanh Nguyen Headshot

Author Viet Thanh Nguyen is on a hot streak. Since winning a 2016 Pulitzer Prize for The Sympathizer, his nonfiction collection Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War and this year’s short-story collection The Refugees have amassed acclaim. In an ultimately uplifting conversation with Alexander Bisley, Nguyen discussed America’s obligation to help Syrian refugees, writers’ political responsibilities, and why the past’s traumas endure.

History is Not Over: An Interview with Viet Thanh Nguyen
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The Female Writer is Political: an Interview with Oddný Eir

MELODY NIXON interviews ODDNY EIR

Oddny Eir

In this month’s interview, Melody Nixon speaks with Icelandic author Oddný Eir about feminism and writing, folklore, and tyranny. Eir’s latest book of auto-fiction, Land of Love and Ruins, is a work of diaristic essay, lyric collage, and rumination. Collaborator Björk describes Eir as “a true pioneer.” Eir appeared this week in New York City’s PEN World Voices Festival on Gender and Power.

The Female Writer is Political: an Interview with Oddný Eir
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Nationalism and Contemporary American Literature: An Interview with Aleksandar Hemon

NAYEREH DOOSTI interviews ALEKSANDAR HEMON

Aleksandar Hemon is the author of the novel The Lazarus Project, which was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, of which Junot Diaz said: “Incandescent. When your eyes close, the power of this novel, of Hemon’s colossal talent, remains.” Hemon has also written three books of short stories: The Question of BrunoNowhere Man, which was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Love and Obstacles. His autobiography The Book of My Lives, was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Hemon was the recipient of a 2003 Guggenheim Fellowship and a “genius grant” from the MacArthur Foundation. Born in Sarajevo, Hemon visited Chicago in 1992, intending to stay for a matter of months. While he was there, Sarajevo came under siege, and he was unable to return home. He now lives in Chicago with his family.

A week after the release of the January 27 executive order titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” The Common’s editorial assistant Nayereh Doosti talked with Hemon in the library of the Lord Jeffery Inn during his visit to Amherst College. Their shared perspective—growing up outside the U.S.—and the ban’s direct effect on Doosti guided the conversation toward the intersection of politics and literature.

Nationalism and Contemporary American Literature: An Interview with Aleksandar Hemon
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That Awkward Unbalance that Becomes the Beautiful: an Interview with Archibald MacLeish

TOM FELS interviews ARCHIBALD MACLEISH

Photo courtesy of Amherst College Archives

In May 1965, Amherst College student Tom Fels ’67 interviewed three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Archibald MacLeish. The below interview, conducted at MacLeish’s home in Conway, Mass., is adapted from their conversation, a portion of which originally appeared in the town newspaper the Amherst Record.

Archibald MacLeish, one of the best-known American poets, playwrights, and public intellectuals, was born in Illinois, and educated at Hotchkiss and Yale, later taking a law degree at Harvard. After participating in World War I, he forsook the life of an attorney to focus on poetry, making his living for several years as an editor of Fortune magazine. Under President Franklin Roosevelt, he was for five years the Librarian of Congress, and later, during World War II, an assistant Secretary of State. After the war he taught at Harvard for thirteen years before taking the position of Simpson Lecturer at Amherst College (1963-67). MacLeish was the author more than fifty works of poetry, nonfiction, and drama.

Tom Fels is a curator and writer based in southern Vermont. His work in the arts includes exhibitions at the Getty Museum in Malibu, CA, and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, as well as numerous articles and books. He is the author of two books on the 1960s, Farm Friends and Buying the Farm. Fels met Archibald MacLeish after the poet’s delivery of his convocation speech at Amherst College’s Frost Library in 1963. This interview was the first of many that have played a part in Fels’s writing and research. Among the latest is a conversation with MacLeish’s fellow former Harvard faculty member Daniel Aaron in The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics and Culture (June 2013).

Listen to a recording of the interview here, or scroll down to read.

 

 

That Awkward Unbalance that Becomes the Beautiful: an Interview with Archibald MacLeish
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The Rituals With Which We Stud Our Lives: An Interview with Clare Beams

HILARY LEICHTER interviews CLARE BEAMS

Clare Beams headshot

Clare Beams’s story collection We Show What We Have Learned was published by Lookout Books in October 2016, and is currently a finalist for the 2017 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize. Her fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in One Story, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, Ecotone, The Kenyon Review online, Willow Springs, and elsewhere, and has received special mention in Best American Short Stories 2013 and The Pushcart Prize XXXV. She was a 2014 National Endowment for the Arts fellow, and the 2014 Bernard O’Keefe Scholar at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. She has an MFA from Columbia University and lives with her daughters and husband in Pittsburgh.

Hilary Leichter spoke with Beams over email about her story “The Drop,” appearing in Issue 12 of The Common.

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Hilary Leichter (HL): Where and when do you write?

Clare Beams (CB): These days, wherever and whenever I can. I have a daughter who will be four in March, and a brand-new daughter who was just born in December; my first book came out in October, and I’m teaching in a new place this term. So right now I have to pull my minutes for writing out from all the minutes of nursing and grading and trying to convince my older daughter she should eat something besides macaroni and cheese, and put on her pants. I think most of us are always fighting for those writing-minutes, in one way or another.

The Rituals With Which We Stud Our Lives: An Interview with Clare Beams
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Leaving New York City: an Interview with Cathy Linh Che

MELODY NIXON interviews CATHY LINH CHE

Cathy Linh Che is the author of Split, winner of the 2012 Kundiman Poetry Prize, the 2015 Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America, and the 2016 Best Poetry Book Award from the Association of Asian American Studies. Che is a Vietnamese American poet and teacher, originally from Los Angeles and Long Beach, California. She received her MFA in poetry from New York University and has been awarded fellowships and residencies from Poets & Writers, The Fine Arts Work Center at Provincetown, Kundiman, Poets House, and The Asian American Literary Review, among many others. Her poems have been published in Hyperallergic, Hyphen, poets.org, and AAWW’s The Margins. Her work delicately probes the liminal spaces between cultures, identities, nationalities, and bodies.

Leaving New York City: an Interview with Cathy Linh Che
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