Criticism & Features


NBCC Criticism Finalists in Conversation with New School MFA Students 2015


Thanks to the cooperation of the National Book Critics Circle and The School of Writing at The New School, as well as the tireless efforts of their students and faculty, we are able to provide interviews with each of the NBCC Awards Finalists for the publishing year 2014.

Criticism Finalist Nona Willis Aronowitz (editor) in Conversation with Ashawnta Jackson (Riggio Scholar)



Criticism Finalist Eula Biss In Conversation With Haley Sledge

Eula Biss: In Notes from No Man’s Land, I was already thinking about the question of what we owe each other, but I don’t think I had fully arrived at this idea that we owe each other our bodies. It is, I think, such a challenging idea that it took me some time to get there. And yes, like you, I struggled with what this idea might mean for women. When I immersed myself in anti-vaccine literature, I began to notice that some of the stories I was reading resembled date-rape narratives. These were stories told by women who regretted that their children had been vaccinated and the stories often included a phrase like, “I said no, but it was too late,” or “I didn’t want it, but I didn’t say anything because I was afraid.” And, indeed, the whole concept of “consent” in the context of vaccination is quite charged….more

Criticism Finalist Claudia Rankine In Conversation With Dianca London Potts

Dianca London Potts: The hybridity of Citizen: An American Lyric creates an extremely evocative account of experience and memory. How did the structure of Citizen aid in your exploration of our nation’s legacy of racism?

Claudia Rankine: I wished to build the space of Citizen a body at a time. In a sense, the idea was to populate the space of the text by peopling it with individuals interacting in ordinary ways that get interrupted by one person’s inability to see the body across from them as just another person. Structurally, it was important to have the interactions accumulate until we were all in a room together witnessing the more blatant, tragic aggressions against the black body….more.