An auto-da-fé of the Spanish Inquisition: the burning of heretics in a market place. Wood engraving by H.D. Linton after Bocourt after T. Robert-Fleury. Wellcome Collection.
In the Spotlight

‘Shver tsu Zayn a Yid’

by Nathaniel Wander in Book Excerpts 0

“Shver tsu Zayn a Yid” follows a young anthropologist discovering his own ethnic identity as a Jew. The process was made difficult—potentially dangerous at times—by ‘background’ anti-Semitism exacerbated by Israeli government abuse of Palestinians, and [...]


Albert Ernest Markes, "Ship at Sea," watercolor, late 19th century, bequest of Susan Dwight Bliss, 1966, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Book Excerpts

Poems from the First Voyage

A poetic language emerges out of the experience of radically unfamiliar things. These poems capture the first voyage to a new world and reflect aspects of the traveler’s personality, his obsessiveness, and his devoutness and […]

@wild_away photograph of Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden, Kaneohe, O'ahu, Hawai'i, United States, on Unsplash.
Creative Nonfiction

Return to Kaimuki

Julia Wright chases a man to another island in the hopes of getting married, but she leaves her two young sons behind. Her mother has cared for Julia’s illegitimate boys for a year when Julia […]

Pierre-Louis Pierson, "Scherzo di Follia," gelatin silver print from glass negative, 1863-66, gift of George Davis, 1948, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Creative Nonfiction

Picture Days

The worn blue robe, the unfriendly room. I’m just holding it together as I wait for the mammogram to expose parts of me I’d rather keep hidden. I’m wrapped in a blue and white gown, […]

Auguste Rodin, "The Embrace," graphite, watercolor, and gouache, 1900-1910, John Stewart Kennedy Fund, 1910, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.


Is it a crime that I liked you for the collapsing breadth of your lips? I keep wondering if my life would have been different had I arrived at the party ten minutes later or […]

Henry P. Bosse, "No. 201. U.S. Government Bridge at Rock Island, Illinois (High Water)," cyanotype, 1888, gift of Charles Wehrenberg and Sally Larsen, 2014, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Inside the Engine

I’ve drank in hangers built to maintain the airplanes my grandfather operated on, under the eye of a traffic control tower that’s quiet now in the after-effects of all those solvents. Of course the suds […]

Francis William Edmonds, "Preparing for Christmas (Plucking Turkeys)," oil on canvas, 1851, Bequest of Mrs. Screven Lorillard (Alice Whitney), from the collection of Mrs. J. Insley Blair, 2016, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Creative Nonfiction

A Thanksgiving Burial

Her father used to cook the turkey on Thanksgiving, but every year it came out of the oven dry and overdone. As a self-proclaimed foodie and frequent cook, she smugly took over the ritual one […]

Vincent van Gogh, "Corridor in the Asylum," oil color and essence over black chalk on pink laid ("Ingres") paper, September 1889, Bequest of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, 1948, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Creative Nonfiction

I Saw It All

Beware of the spiritual journey. You may end up in a place that’s not so comforting. I discovered this hard truth at a meditation retreat in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Vipassana Meditation, the time-honored method […]

Francisco Gonzalez photograph on Unsplash.
Creative Nonfiction


Robin Gow reflects on his relationship with his father when they used to play softball together. He recalls the only time he saw his father cry was watching Field of Dreams and explores how the themes of that movie apply to both of their lives. […]

Mireya S. Vela, "With Snake."
Creative Nonfiction


When people are marginalized, their doctors are, too. A woman remembers her childhood and the decisions she and her family made. Grandmother didn’t like secrets. She said to me, “Secrets come from Satan.” I don’t […]

Edward Lear, "Agia Paraskevi, Epirus, Greece," graphite, pen and brown ink and watercolor, 1857, purchase, Brooke Russell Astor Bequest, 2013, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Creative Nonfiction


Each time I go back to Tirana, I see big changes, but I seek out the old parts of town, the narrow streets, talk to people who live there and people who are visiting, and […]

Odilon Redon, "It Was a Hand, Seemingly as Much of Flesh and Blood as My Own, plate 4 of 6," lithograph in black on ivory China paper laid down on white wove paper, 1896, The Stickney Collection, The Art Institute of Chicago.

The Power of Story

Stories are the foundation of our civilizations and our societies. Our legends and myths, our scientific discoveries and our explorations, can inform and influence us both individually and collectively. But what separates us also holds […]

Photograph by Chris Liverani in Unsplash.
Creative Nonfiction

Blood Wine on a Full Moon

A reflection of Catholicism and Tarot/light occult beliefs; how they intertwine and connect despite being taught they were opposites, and how those teachings affected the writer as an adult. The moon had broken through, just […]

Gustave Courbet, "The Calm Sea," oil on canvas, 1869, H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O Havemeyer, 1929, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Creative Nonfiction

Just One More Thing

Think about the hardest loss you’ve been through, perhaps a beloved parent, or even harder, a precious child. What if every horrible thing imaginable happened? What if you lost everything and nearly everyone? How would […]

Edgar Degas, "The Artist's Cousin, Probably Mrs. William Bell (Mathilde Musson, 1841-1878)," pastel on green woven paper, now darkened to brown, 1873, H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Creative Nonfiction

Freed Women of a Certain Age

This piece narrates my journey as an older woman who attempts to resolve the financial, lifestyle, and professional realities of choosing to start an online freelance business. This is a deeply personal narrative that questions […]

Mansur, "Study of a Nilgai (Blue Bull)," Folio from the Shah Jahan Album, album leaf, ca. 1550, Purchase, Rogers Fund and The Kevorkian Foundation Gift, 1955, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Book Excerpts

Revel With Ghosts

Two months after losing our infant son, we were just starting to learn the language of signs. In Barcelona, a city whose ghosts seem to rise from the walls, our loss found a welcoming home. […]

Creative Nonfiction

The Things That Save You

The personal essay is an exposé on loss and absence. Tolu Daniel explores how the most random events influence each other. It should rain. But for some reason the rain is shy and from my […]

George S. Harris & Sons, "Olive, from the Fruits series (N12) for Allen & Ginter Cigarettes Brands," commercial color lithograph, 1891, The Jefferson R. Burdick Collection, Gift of Jefferson R. Burdick, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Girl from Patitiri

Slicing tuna skins pickling eyes in ouzo– comb of Kalamata olives; cubes of feta resembled plastic dice without any spots. The girl from Patitiri carried buckets of water on the back of a mule through […]

John Quincy Adams Ward, "Study for Treaty with Native Americans (from Sketchbook)," graphite on paper, ca. 1860, Gift of Edward R. Groves, 1985, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Indigenous People’s Day

In a red state like Missouri, their hero columbised this land but for us, indigenous emigrants of burnt sage and blown prayers, a shivering flame in the stomach and Dr. Silver Wolf’s drums outside the […]

William Michael Harnett, "The Artist's Letter Rack," oil on canvas, 1879, Morris K. Jesup Fund, 1966, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Embracing the Subjective

As memoir writers, we must enter the dark waters of memory where facts are few and remembered events are often unstable. But the subjective experience offers its own reality and can reveal the truths that […]

Hans Christian Andersen, "Two Pierrots Balancing on Swans and Two Dancers," cutout in blue paper mounted on an album sheet, 1820-75, Mary Martin Fund, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Creative Nonfiction

Men Teach Me to Shoot

A little girl yearns for Papa’s attention, yet feels regret the moment the pellet gun weighs in her hand. Some men are not to be trusted. She wants to be brave and to be seen […]

Paul Klee, "Baum und Architektur—Rhythmen (Tree and Architecture—Rhythms)," oil on paper, 1920, Gift of Benjamin and Lillian Hertzberg, National Gallery of Art.
Book Excerpts

Jujubes Represent Sugar

Jae Langton is just like the rest of his family, especially in his love of musicals. The biggest difference is that Jae is South Korean, while everyone else is white. Jae’s parents, Shelley and David, […]

Egypt, "Fragment of a Queen's Face," yellow jasper, Dynasty 18, New Kingdom, Amarna Period, reign of Akhenaten, ca. 1353-1336 B.C., The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Creative Nonfiction

Open Season

Blending styles including personal memoir, creative nonfiction, and photography, “Open Season” lyrically explores what it means to be a woman in America. The vignettes present flashes of microaggressions that women suffer and internalize every day, […]

Winslow Homer, "Camp Fire," oil on canvas, 1880, Gift of Josephine Pomery Hendrick, in the name of Henry Keney Pomeroy, 1927, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Creative Nonfiction

The Fire Extinguisher

When the motor on his boat catches fire eighty miles up a remote Alaska river, the speaker in “The Fire Extinguisher” is forced to see the experience through the eyes of an accompanying Swedish doctor. […]

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, "Peasant and Girl," color etching printed in black, red, and blue, 1921, Gift of Ruth Cole Kalnen, National Gallery of Art.
Creative Nonfiction

About Time

My father, born in Hungary in 1906, was often mistaken for my grandfather. Nowhere was the cultural divide between us more pronounced than on a trip to Budapest in 1969. We both let each other […]

Paul Klee, "Alter Dampfer (Old Steamboat)," oil transfer drawing and watercolor on laid paper, on Klee's original mount, 1922, Rosenwald Collection, National Gallery of Art.

Detroit Gold

First came the scrappers, Slicing the drywall muscle for Detroit gold. Dissection of the vein, red conductors. They gutted the city, Broke her teeth, Boarded up her eyes. Then came the scavengers, looking to make […]

Frederick H. Evans, "In the Attics," Kelmscott Manor Photographs, 1896, Purchase, David Hunter McAlpin Fund, 1968, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Broadway Avenue

East Canton, Ohio My grandmother’s house remains gray, remains past what might be recalled of it. A boy and a girl play Yahtzee! in the kitchen on a Sunday afternoon, and from the car I […]

South Netherlandish (?), "Glass Fragment," colorless glass, 16th century, Gift of George D. Pratt, 1930, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

A Memoir

and we were dying a little every day fleshy leftovers on tilted sidewalks failing to leave an imprint even the sun seemed to weep and the shadows never quite faded even as day broke even […]

Egon Schiele, "Crouching Nude in Shoes and Black Stockings, Back View," watercolor, 1912, Bequest of Scofield Thayer, 1982, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

After Party

Her Pomeranian shot back and forth like the white lines cut out on the coffee table as she tucked bleached hair behind her ear and snorted from the rolled-up bill. She stripped at Blush, the […]

Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz, "Tadeus Langier, Zakopane," photograph, 1912-1913, Gilman Collection, Purchase, Denise and Andrew Saul Gift, 2005, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Book Excerpts

Echoes of Tattered Tongues

Below are three poems from JOHN Z. GUZLOWSKI‘s critically-acclaimed book Echoes of Tattered Tongues: Memory Unfolded, his book of poems and essays about his parents’ experiences as slave laborers in Nazi Germany. Make sure to read […]

William Leighton Leitch, "A Parkland View at Dusk," watercolor and graphite, ca. 1879, purchase, Didier Aaron Inc. Gift, 2003, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

My Father in Wild Pants

Because the ’70s sang. Because of becauses he couldn’t explain from the sand trap at the 17th hole at Brookside, the doctors drinking bourbon and soda in the clubhouse. I know the photographs, only, what […]

Paul Klee, "Adam and Little Eve," watercolor and transferred printing ink on paper mounted on cardboard, 1921, The Berggruen Klee Collection, 1987, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Creative Nonfiction

Berry Patch

We eleven-year-old girls sat through the film in the cafeteria and watched a movie about pads and how you could menstruate at night lying down. We all worried about the blood that might go straight […]

Paul Gauguin, "The Siesta," oil on canvas, ca. 1892-1894, The Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg Collection, Gift of Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg, 1993, Bequest of Walter H. Annenberg, 2002, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Book Excerpts

To Helen, a Handbasket

“To Helen, a Handbasket” takes a commonplace object—a basket—and uses it as a device to trace the author’s grandmother’s life from her early existence as a dutiful farm wife filling picnic baskets to her final […]

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