Archived entries for

Unstaged Irish

By Ann Conway

When I say I’m writing a book about my Irish American family (the reason I’ve transitioned to occasional guest posts for Good Letters), I receive reading suggestions. First on the list is usually Frank McCourt’s Angeles Ashes, which, alas, I found unreadable. “Why?” people cry, appalled. Continue Reading …


By Kelly Foster

It’s not an uncommon occurrence in my class to hear some variation of the following: “Ms. Foster, I’m really sorry I’m being so hyper! I didn’t take my medication today!” And it’s not an uncommon conversation around the old faculty water cooler (yes, we do sometimes discuss students behind closed doors) to go over and over the various apocalyptic, postmodern ways in which students are losing their capacity for patient and sustained interest in finishing tasks. Continue Reading …

Translating Acedia

By Brian Volck

Students of language learn delightful words for which no good English equivalent exists: sehnsucht (German), poshlost (Russian), or duende (Spanish); rich bottomlands of human experience—good and bad—left inexplicably fallow by Anglo-Saxons. Continue Reading …

Animal Stories

By Dyana Herron

Hardly a week goes by that I don’t speak, or hear, a line from a Wes Anderson movie. My friends and I belong to that group of twenty-something Anderson fans devoted to the look and language of his quirky films, and many a line has made its way into our collective vocabulary. Continue Reading …

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