Skiffle Craze: An Interview with Billy Bragg

On the Paris Review, Alex Abramovich talks with Billy Bragg about skiffle, the history of music, and duck jokes.

Published: Aug 1, 2017
Length: 14 minutes (3,745 words)

Walter Mosley, The Art of Fiction No. 234

A prolific writer of fifty-four diverse books, and widely known for his Easy Rawlins crime series, Walter Mosley talks with The Paris Review about race, creativity, the book publishing industry, the confines of genre and his three decades depicting Black American life.

Published: Mar 8, 2017

A Number of Reasons I’ve Been Depressed Lately

In this day and age, this is a pretty short list.

Published: Jun 5, 2017
Length: 9 minutes (2,313 words)

The Feminine Heroic

Megan Mayhew Bergman explores how women, often excluded from adventure narratives, carve out their own heroic space.

Published: Apr 11, 2017
Length: 6 minutes (1,735 words)

Like Art

Making art is hard. For some people, it isn’t hard deciding to make art for commercial purposes.

Published: Feb 27, 2017
Length: 9 minutes (2,310 words)

Protectors

Do you own your pet, or does your pet own you? This deceptively simple piece of short fiction explores fertility and fragility, and the ways we fail to protect those we love.

Published: Oct 1, 2016
Length: 14 minutes (3,709 words)

Collector’s Item: What was the Princess Diana Beanie Baby?

Planning to finance your retirement with your Beanie Baby collection? Think again.

Published: Oct 24, 2016
Length: 8 minutes (2,001 words)

The Craft of Poetry: A Semester with Allen Ginsberg

An intimate recollection of a Beat legend.

Published: Jun 1, 1995
Length: 62 minutes (15,685 words)

Islands in the Stream

The Bee Gees were pop music geniuses whose work in 1978 “accounted for 2 percent of the entire record industry’s profits.” Yet they were still underappreciated—and also still capable of making ill-conceived creative decisions.

Published: Jul 18, 2014
Length: 11 minutes (2,817 words)

Maya Angelou, The Art of Fiction No. 119

From 1990: George Plimpton interviews the acclaimed poet, who died Wednesday at age 86:

When I finish maybe fifty pages and read them—fifty acceptable pages—it’s not too bad. I’ve had the same editor since 1967. Many times he has said to me over the years or asked me, Why would you use a semicolon instead of a colon? And many times over the years I have said to him things like: I will never speak to you again. Forever. Goodbye. That is it. Thank you very much. And I leave. Then I read the piece and I think of his suggestions. I send him a telegram that says, OK, so you’re right. So what? Don’t ever mention this to me again. If you do, I will never speak to you again. About two years ago I was visiting him and his wife in the Hamptons. I was at the end of a dining room table with a sit-down dinner of about fourteen people. Way at the end I said to someone, I sent him telegrams over the years. From the other end of the table he said, And I’ve kept every one! Brute! But the editing, one’s own editing, before the editor sees it, is the most important.

Published: May 28, 2014
Length: 26 minutes (6,569 words)