All in Blog

Five Questions with Andrea Gibson

1. What book do you find yourself coming back to again and again?

AG: Any book by Toni Morrison. I’ve read her again and again and it always lifts me into a better version of myself, doubles the size of my heart, and restores my faith in the power of beauty. I’ve also read Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg many times and expect I’ll keep reading it for the rest of my life.

An Interview with Leesa Cross-Smith

Introducing Leesa Cross-Smith, the judge of our third Micro-Fiction Award. Leesa Cross-Smith is the author of the novel Whiskey & Ribbons (Hub City Press, 2018), the short story collection Every Kiss A War (Mojave River Press, 2014), the forthcoming short story collection So We Can Glow (Grand Central Publishing, 2020) and forthcoming novel This Close To Okay (Grand Central Publishing, 2021).

Brave New Feminist: an interview with artist Annamarie Williams

An intimate interview with artist Annamarie Williams - an illustrator and sculptor, whose artwork adds to the conversation of physical, sexual, and mental abuse and inequality. Her work looks closely at the chaos that often surrounds the female body and the uterus. Williams constructs garments and her canvases from these delicately stained fabrics. Each garment is in honor of a victim of sexual abuse, and each is decorated with symbols to represent each person. Williams allows the random staining and blots to be the outlines of various faces and hands, reminding us that the human form is perfect and organic, including its past stains.

The Shape of a Library, the Shape of Knowledge

Once, as a kid, while we were preparing for a move, I was helping clean out my family’s storage space and found a copy of Little Black Sambo. It was from the ’70s or before, possibly an original, and because of that, possibly valuable. I did not have any context for the book. All I knew at the time was that it was cute, though a little racist. I called my dad’s attention to it, and he most likely dismissed it as an old childhood book, but there had to be a story to it.

To Write Love on All Our Arms

It makes my heart swell and expand (and feel loads less alone) to report that sixteen women were courageous enough to share publicly, here on Paper Darts, that they struggle with their mental health. They were also brave enough to let me draw pictures of them even though I have little to no actual previous practice with drawing real human faces. Some of the women you’ll meet are writers, others are personal trainers and real estate agents and software engineers. (Mental health issues are not picky about occupations)...

Your ultimate goodbye to 2017's best covers.

Dear 2017, you were ugly, but your covers were gorgeous. As we say goodbye and look forward to the new year, don't forget there's still time to add these lovely books to your collection, and there's 365 fresh Instagram squares to fill with all your good taste. ❤ 

An interview with Marlena Chertock, sci-poet extraordinaire

The first time I was introduced to Marlena Chertock was with her short story “Wonder Women,” an intimate construction of two friends as they don costumes for a comic convention. The real wonder woman, however, is Marlena herself. In addition to being a stellar short fiction writer and the poetry editor of District Lit magazine, Marlena has published two chapbooks: On that one-way trip to Mars from Bottlecap Press, and Crumb-Sized, out this year from Unnamed Press. Marlena writes with a clarity that makes sci-poetry digestible and as informative as it is relatable. After picking up her collections, you’ll feel smarter and stronger as you stand in solidarity with Marlena’s brilliant mind.

Curling up with Oprah and Emma: The Faux Intimacy of Celebrity Book Clubs

In the mid-’90s, book clubs took a new form with Oprah. Oprah has been a uniquely influential personality in several ways, not the least of which is her culture of accessibility. Her book club selections are, as Anne Helen Petersen describes them in her book Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud, decidedly “midcult”—that is, not quite high art, but not quite lowbrow culture. They reflect a diverse authorship, often discover new and overlooked talent, and remain unintimidating to her substantial fandom.

An Interview with Lesley Nneka Arimah

Lesley Nneka Arimah is a Nigerian writer living in Minneapolis. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, GRANTA, and other publications. What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky, her debut collection of stories, was published in April by Riverhead Books. 

MASTERWORKS: The Raft of the Medusa

“Please,” your father says once we’re aboard, wrapping my hand over his. “Call me Hugh. Or, hey, call me Captain de Chaumareys.” When I withdraw, the palm of my left hand is indented with the shapes of his rings: a hexagon with a diamond within it, an egg, and a five-pointed star. 

An Interview with Esmé Weijun Wang

Esmé is the author of THE BORDER OF PARADISE: A NOVEL, named one of NPR's Best Books of 2016, and is the recipient of the 2016 Graywolf Nonfiction Prize for her forthcoming essay collection, THE COLLECTED SCHIZOPHRENIAS. Born in the Midwest to Taiwanese parents, Esmé lives in San Francisco.

Pretty, Pretty Printed things

To train for Volume Six, we've been running up and down the digital stairs of Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram. We've sucked in all the design porn we possibly can. We've also littered our apartments with the most artful magazines and zines around, hoping their sophistication and beauty might rub off on us a bit. You'll find eleven of those real, live magazines here—eleven pretty printed things for you to buy, read, and love on.

MASTERWORKS: Christ Stilleth the Tempest

Our feeble protective spells go haywire. The rain comes. And comes. Dogs and cats slap down into the streets below and bury them to the first-story windows. We move to the upper floors. It’s strange to be back in the old building where so much happened, where so much ended, like returning to a childhood home still stocked with your old possessions, each of them charged with emotional memory, unexpected resonance. I rescue what I can—I carry up the stairs the remains of the plants, boxes of books and supplies, an old ice chest, the smaller canvases—but there’s too much of it, there’s not enough room for the stuff and the three of us.

Sweetly Afflicting: An Interview with Anna Leventhal

The funny thing about Leventhal is that she makes the unfunny, the upsetting, the annoying, and the unremarkable funny. Leventhal explores the subtle shades of meaning in her characters, many of which are women, and picks at the awkward hilarity that makes up our lives. It is funny to be judged for picking up a pregnancy test. It is awkward to encounter a rapist at a dinner party. In Leventhal’s stories these things happen, as they do in the lived lives of women, woven into the fabric of days. Leventhal evoked such a visceral reaction from me that I laughed out loud on a plane surrounded by strangers, because it is truly funny when someone’s fictional musings feel more real than your own life.