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FIRST PERSON: FEATURES
Reading Wallace Reading With a fellowship to study his personal library, I wanted to get as far into David Foster Wallace's head as possible. But what I found there was more than I'd bargained for.
Sweet Words From Edmund to Laura Ingalls to Augustus Gloop, in children's books, sugar is otherworldly, transcendent, symbolic. In real life, my relationship with sweets is much more fraught.
Living with Girls To care for chickens is to carry their corpses. An excerpt from Harvest: Field Notes from a Far-Flung Pursuit of Real Food.
The Arranged Marriage Some ask, why? I asked, why not?
Under the Influence What accounts for the perplexing, mysterious power of place?
The Wounded Man We're afraid to discuss the eros of young girls. But my childhood crushes were real and I definitely had a type.
Retiring to Florida It finally happened, I admit it. I thought about retiring to Florida.
Splitting Hares On going to the Playboy Club with my father.
In Defense of Stink Is hippie hygiene a serious problem? Not if we can all embrace our natural odors...
The New Anti-Semitism Was the Holocaust a unique genocide? Depending upon your response, you might qualify as a New Anti-Semite.
One Looks at One The constructed and natural worlds are entirely different realms. But sometimes, we find a space in between and the two connect.
Coming to America After living a year in Sri Lanka, New York is almost too much to take in.
Pre-Occupy In the 2000s, I was part of the anti-globalization movement. At Occupy, I found that protests have come a long way in a short time.
A Different Drummer To be happy in marching band, you must maintain certain illusions. I lasted one year.
A Reckless Autonomy My friends and I would do anything to see the bands we loved. They moved on to babies, mortgages, and jobs, but I can't give up the music.
Most Likely to Reflect I was worried how I'd look at my 40th high school reunion. When it was over, I faced a bigger fear.
Clothes Make the Humanities Professor Yes, teachers can dress like slobs — I know I did. But that doesn't mean we should.
Family Ties Few people can see their great-great-great-grandfather's liver. But I can: Chang and Eng's double liver is on display at Philadelphia's Mütter Museum, and that's where I went to celebrate their 200th birthday.
Alive with Pleasure The FDA is considering a ban on menthol cigarettes, claiming the minty flavors make the smokes more addictive. As a former menthol addict, I understand.
A Moment My student didn't finish the assignment because he couldn't be ''in the moment.'' I hear ya, kid.
Singing the Maliblues Teaching students how to drive is not for the weak of heart, especially when your company's car is a dumpy Malibu that might not last through the lesson.
Norman and Me I went to Mailer's Provincetown house to work. He wrote every single day; living with his ghost, I found I couldn't even get started.
The Metaphysics of Cutting Grass The chore offers the pleasure of visible accomplishment. More important, it lets me hook those thoughts lurking just beneath the surface.
Unbearable Bodies Days of bulimia were simple: I bought, I ate, I threw it up. Days with my doctor are the hard ones.
By Kati Nolfi

Blue Brothers My students said the poems I taught were too sad. But they were only 9. They'll learn, one day...
By Kristen Hoggatt

Paternal Instinct My father and I had very different ideas about what I should do with my life. His vision, for example, did not include traveling to Sri Lanka or selling my eggs.
Building Mileage Boston is entering winter just as I enter my 30s. The signs of time's passing, in other words, are all around me.
By Kristen Hoggatt

My Facebook Ombudsman The truth is out there...and not as Facebook status updates.
By Alex Strum

On Nicknaming I hated that my insufferable boss thought he came up with good nicknames. He was as bad at nicknaming as he was at using e-mail.
By Erin Denver

The Yard Sale Among the things I discovered on coming to the U.S.: Americans' habit of selling stuff on their lawns.
By Sujatha Bagal

Toss Around the Ol' Pigskin? Call the gender divide outdated, but Rosemary and I just could not get into football.
By Paula Marantz Cohen

The U.S. Poetry Academy Poetry saved my life. I desperately wanted it to save my Uzbek students' lives, too.
Facing the Issue I don't know if it was Michael Vick or the idea of food with a face. Either way, I'm not eating animals anymore.
By Paula Marantz Cohen

Here Is the Church, Here Is the Steeple.... Running a small church is a lot like running a small business. And you know how easy that is.
By William Whitehead

What About Bob? My neighbor Bob would have made a good friend, if only I could have read the obit before he died.
By David Wallis

The Good Fight Everyone thinks tai chi is that arm-waving thing old ladies do in urban parks. But some practice taiji — as it's better transliterated — as a martial art. Its unspoken rule? Weirdos Only.
Life's Work The Social Security statement should worry us, but it's too good a scrapbook of our working lives.
By Thomas Washington

Stadium Seating Retracing a roadtrip of my youth via Segway, I realize that much has changed (beyond the invention of the Segway).
By Karl Taro Greenfeld

Fast Friends? There's no place like home for the holidays. Unless that home is next to a Wendy's.
By Jesse Smith

The Term Paper Artist Curious about the state of higher education in America? Take a job churning out pages on Shakespeare, Faulkner, and the man one client called "Plah-toe."
"My Grandson, the Writer" My grandmother was the grande dame of an elite summer colony in New Hampshire; I was the brooding 18-year-old living with her.
X-Men and Suicide Girls Used to be a girl could read comics with the boys. Then the boys saw that a few X-Men had breasts.
By Meg Favreau

The Impracticality of Poets Breaking news: Life as a poet not lucrative!!!
By Kristen Hoggatt

Small Town Cinderella At the tiny amusement park where I worked, my costume smelled, the pirate boat had an awful driver, and the teacup ride could've taken a kid's leg off. Story Land was no Disney World.
Private Eye, Public Ear I thought life as a private eye was fast cars and faster women. It's ended up being a lot of sob stories.
By Steve Wilson

At a Crossroads I spent four years at Harvard. A year in Japan. And then two at my parents' house in Reading, Pennsylvania. An excerpt from a new illustrated book.
Disposable My father just closed the wood mill our family owned for 50 years, and here I had him assembling a particleboard bed from IKEA.
By Meg Favreau

A Bigger Boat I went to Cape Cod with my girlfriend. Her ex-boyfriend came, too. And so did a shark.
Tales of a Home Shopping Employee How fake diamonds, meat by mail, and Marie Osmond turned an aspiring fiction writer into a QVC employee...and shopper.
Welcome to America...You're Under Arrest As a Pakistani living in the U.S., I spent a night in jail over an unpaid speeding ticket. I was denied citizenship because of a DUI.  And I was mistaken for the guy who beat me up.
License to Carry a Gun You might think a poetry teacher and a loaded gun would make an unlikely pair. You'd be right.
The Breast-Laid Plans My mother told me: 'It’s about time you got some breasts.' Implants weren't a car. But, hey, she was buying.
Marathon Session Marathon season just got off to a rough start in Chicago. Two years ago, I started off down this 26-mile rocky road myself.
Confessions of a Community Theater Critic It's not a gig for the weak of heart. It's for the eternal optimist, the dead-end journalist who doesn't believe in dead ends.
Monkey and Dog I tried to write about a monkey/dog friendship, but I just keep coming back to myself.
Acts of Confession Christian hookups, stolen sandwiches, a sexy weekend in Duluth, and the most stupid argument ever. A video essay in multiple acts.
Tough Love My husband wants to be Rocky. But am I willing to be Adrienne?
Forgive Some Sinner His father was one of the greatest sportswriters of Sports Illustrated's golden age. And then it all fell apart. Now, a son tries to make sense of his father's legacy.
Drama and Melodrama One person tells another that they no longer want to grow old with them, and the toast pops up. Notes towards a definition of maturity.
   

FIRST PERSON: COLUMNS
Ask a Poet Everything you wanted to know about life, poets, and the poet's life.  All columns >
The End I should be excited for the next chapter of my life, but I'm scared.


Second Acts Dispatches from a woman of a certain age. All columns >
A Case of Shingles Life as a homeowner is a standoff between you and your roof. Who goes first?







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