All About the Essay

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John D’Agata, visionary champion of the essay and master anthologizer, sees the lyric form “partake of the poem in its density and shapeliness, it’s distillation of ideas and musicality of language.” He also sees it as unbound to conventional notions of truth. Writing for Harper’s, Elaine Blair critiques the genre-bending, exploratory practices of writers like David Shields, Anne Carson, Lydia Davis, Karl Ove Knausgaard, and Maggie Nelson. She leaves us with the question, “Can everything be filtered through the talking ‘I’?”


Kirstin Allio is currently a Howard Foundation Fellow at Brown University. Her story collection, Clothed, Female Figure comes out with Dzanc in 2016. Her novel, Garner (Coffee House), was a finalist for the LA Times Book Award for First Fiction. She has received the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” Award, a PEN/O. Henry Prize, and has published many short stories, poems, and essays. More from this author →