Notes from Crew Quarters: Our Writer Crushes
This week, we asked our editors: Who is your current writer crush, and what is so dreamy about what they can do?
Jacque Boucher, Spoken Word Poetry
Ross Gay. He writes with this simultaneous grandeur and intimacy and joy that I've never seen anywhere else. He's the epitome of art that adds to the world, rather than taking away from it.
Ethan Brightbill, Associate Fiction Editor
This isn't a crush as much as a renewal of the love of my reading life, but in preparing to write an essay on how she approaches post-colonialism, I've been overwhelmed by Ursula Le Guin again. I'd been avoiding her work because I was afraid it would diminish with time, but this has not been the case. I see more flaws in the writing than I did when I first found her fiction, but the way she can make a paragraph sing more like poetry than prose, the way she can write so little to say so much, this has not changed. And of course, I love her insight into power. She is often framed as post-colonial or feminist or daoist, but what she really does is reveal the bones of power. It's awesome in the older, more profound sense of the word.
John LaPine, Associate Nonfiction Editor
Lindsay Hunter. Her stories are so magical yet disgusting. It's impossible to look away.
Hayley Fitz, Associate Fiction Editor
Margaret Lazarus Dean's LEAVING ORBIT knocked me right on my ass. it's about the last three launches of NASA's space shuttle program. actually, i haven't finished it yet. usually i'd be so compelled by the magic of her writing that i'd barrel through endlessly until i hit back cover but i can't bring myself to finish it. i know how it ends, and i haven't figured out how to return to earth just yet.
Matt Weinkam, Managing Editor
I've been perpetually rereading DEPT. OF SPECULATION by Jenny Offill and each time I'm more convinced she is a secret genius. The book feels so effortless to read you assume it must have been effortless to write, but when you stop and think about how perfect each of the fragments are and how effectively they are arranged to suggest depth and elicit emotion you can't help but fall for Offill. Hard.
Robin McCarthy, Managing Editor
I read Mona Awad's "13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl" in March, and it has launched a full on obsession. Awad's ability to create deeply interesting scenes in broad, voice-driven moves is just breathtaking, and her characters are flawed and lovely in the most satisfying ways. There's a sadness and an excitement to falling in love with a debut novelist. I can't guzzle down her entire career in three months, but I have the rest of my reading life to look forward to her new projects.
Jen Howard, Editor-in-Chief
Tracy K. Smith, whose Life on Mars collection I need within reach of me lately. "SHINE / SHINE SHINE SHINE SHINE."