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Interview with 2020's Novella Prize Winner, Rebecca Păpucaru
Malahat Review creative nonfiction board intern Anne Hung talks with the Novella Prize winner about her story, “Yentas,” which appears in our upcoming summer issue #211.
AH: The judges describe “Yentas” as “a nostalgia-free portrait of girlhood.” How did you first react to that comment? What made you decide to take this raw approach to the coming-of-age story?
RP: I don’t really have any nostalgia for that era so I wasn’t surprised. It wasn’t a conscious decision, however. Ultimately, the point of my story is that if you are taught to hate yourself and others like you, at some point you’re going to crack up, which is what happens to Karen and Brandy. In the 1980s no one really questioned the J.A.P. [Jewish American Princess] stereotype, let alone considered the harm it could do. So no, I’m not nostalgic for that era, which happens to be the context of my own coming-of-age, too.
Read the rest of Rebecca's interview on TMR's website.
Summer Issue Interview with Daniel Sarah Karasik on Poetry
Malahat Review screener Quinn Stacey talks with the summer issue #211 contributor about formal vs. colloquial language, the ideological work of a poem, and the various processes of translation involved in writing their poems, “Against the Law” and “hustle.”
QS: Your poems very effectively employ language that is both literary, or scholarly, and colloquial (e.g., "phallic / in its sophistries, its stern Socratic certainties / about the weight of argument / in settling or discerning right" and "I took some pretty selfies in tight panties"). How do you manage the different approaches to word choice, and how do you know when the balance is such that your tone is how you intended?
DSK: I think I mix those registers more or less unconsciously, though I guess there's a part of me that's anxious about elevated diction, worried it'll alienate or feel like some weird claim to dogmatic authority, and wanting to subvert it a bit. In "Against the Law" in particular, I'd say those shifting registers in the language sort of reflect what the poem is thinking through: the law's claims to authority, how the law legitimizes colonial, cishet-patriarchal power through a formalism that can seem orderly and rational but disguises brute domination. The poem's playful moments of undercutting its own formality can be read as part of its larger critique of the law's violent self-seriousness.
Read the rest of Daniel Sarah's interview on TMR's website.