Lauretta Charlton • 01/26/12

I read Sempre Susan in one sitting, enthralled. You can never fully anticipate a book having that sort of impact on you, but when it does, it’s hard to ignore. Sigrid Nunez is unsparingly honest about her experience with Susan Sontag, and this creates a queasy tension in the reader: I felt embarrassed for Sontag, a woman who, despite her fierce intellect, could be petty and odd. She could also be authoritarian, unforgiving and without sympathy.

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Megan Marz • 01/24/12

Sigrid Nunez says Susan Sontag “liked to refer to herself as a self-defrocked academic. She was even prouder to call herself self-created. I never had a mentor, she said.” I’ve never had one either, but I derive no pride from my mentorlessness.

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sarahfonseca • 01/14/12

Over the years, I have met or learned about a surprising number of people who said it was reading Susan Sontag when they were young that had made them want to be writers. Although this was not true of me, her influence on how I think and write has been profound. By the time I got to know her, I was already out of school, but I’d been a mostly indifferent, highly distracted student, and the gaps in my knowledge were huge.

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Zan Romanoff • 01/02/12

J was a curly-haired sophomore who drove what we called the party car: whenever he showed up he would unload an enormous duffel bag of hookahs and weed and terrible alcohol, for some reason usually electric blue bottles of Alizé. There were other drugs, too, but I didn’t partake so I couldn’t tell you what all he provided. It was never clear to me where it all came from, how my prep school classmates scored their ‘shrooms, E, coke and meth, or who met the actual drug dealers so that my friends could distribute in the parking lot before first period.

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Sari Botton • 01/02/12

I got a nice email from Emily (Gould) the other day about my conversation with Emily Carter, published as part of a series I write for The Rumpus. She said she wished the piece had been longer, and I immediately regretted two choices I had made. The first was not pursuing further with Carter the subject of addiction to male approval and attention.

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Alice Gregory • 01/02/12

By Alice Gregory

As the title suggests, Glory “gets” things. She gets more punishments than prizes, though, and together her list of experiential acquisitions is long: She gets expelled from all the good schools in New York City. She gets thrown out of CBGB (literally).

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Sady Doyle • 12/22/11

Emily Carter spends a lot of time, in Glory Goes and Gets Some, playing with ideas about who has the right to pain. I suspect that inside many of us there’s a voice that says me, I’m the one with the problems, pay attention to me, along with a conviction that we will lose out if we’re not the saddest person in the room.  Carter actually invites you to do this.

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Ruth Curry • 12/20/11

“You had better STOP that SHIT.  You don’t know THE STREET.  They will eat you alive.  You think you’re going to get away with THAT SHIT? Do you know what’s going to happen to you? You’re going to get FUCKED UP THE ASS.

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Ellen Willis • 12/09/11

Last year I attended a feminist conference in Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia, amid preliminary rumblings of the civil war that would break up the country and mutilate the city in the name of nationalism. The conference, which brought women from all over Eastern Europe and the United States, was the first gathering of its kind in the East, a historic event. We introduced ourselves by name and place.

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Sady Doyle • 11/11/11

“I could go for about a month without working. That was the amount of debt I could float.” — “Eileen Myles,” the narrator of Inferno (a poet’s novel)

Portraits of bohemian poverty are a dime a dozen. Describing your crappy apartment, elaborately painful relationships and the earlier, cuter stages of alcoholism is a way to show that one is suffering for one’s art and is therefore good at both.

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