I do not say that the novel must be, or more often than not is, political. But where there are characters, the political may be found. A writer chooses to accent, plunge into, or ignore the political, but characters insist upon liking or disliking something that is happening or has happened or may happen. In short, every character has an opinion, whether he cares about it or not.
More… “Novel Politics”

Kelly Cherry‘s new poetry book is Quartet for J. Robert Oppenheimer. Her book of flash fiction titled Temporium is now available.


A marriage may be between two people, but weddings tend to be between the couple and everyone else. Wedding guests called upon to bear witness to the ceremony, and to shower a new couple with verbal and financial blessings, can shape the proceedings and meanings of marital rites as much as the bride and groom do. I’ve played a number of performative roles in the weddings of loved ones — bridesmaid, maid of honor, toast-giver, poetry-reader, choreographer, and stage manager — and from the wings, I’ve observed how often the friends and family of the new couple feel entitled to weigh in on what is and is not done properly. Personally, I lucked out: My own parents’ rules for the ceremonial passage into a hallowed state of matrimony were simple and few.

Rule 1: Don’t get married until you’re 30.

Rule 1b: But you don’t have to get married ever,… More…

My birthday cake sat on the dining room table. Fluffy, Linda’s elderly tabby, made an unhurried entrance to join the more-energetic Sam, who’d claimed a close place as soon as we put the cake box on the table. Sam’s full cat-name is “Sammy-get-down from-there.”


I’ve never seen Sam leap from the floor to the table. He favors a stealthy approach. He jumps onto a chair and sits like an attentive, polite guest waiting for the platter to come around. Sometimes he even lies down on the seat as though indifferent to the conversation that flows over him. He doesn’t fool me.

If he’s occupying someone’s chair, Sammy-get-down-from-there gives up his seat, but not before giving a reproachful look to indicate his displeasure.

I’ve been told that the cake is going on the traditional family cake plate, which Linda… More…


If you listen to the naysayers, America is in a dangerous, vulnerable place right now. We keep losing manufacturing business to overseas competitors, factory activity is at a 28-year-low, and the only thing we know how to make any more is dinner reservations. Also, if you haven’t heard, we’re in a recession.

But how bad can things be, really, when we have not one, not two, but three cable TV series about bakers who make extremely complicated and expensive cakes? Ultimate Cake Off, in which “cake artists” compete against one another for a $10,000 prize, soon debuts on TLC, where it will give cake fans a second slice of cathode deliciousness alongside the network’s recent hit, Cake Boss. Meanwhile, the genre’s pioneer, Food Network’s Ace of Cakes, just started its latest season.

Remember the cakes of yesteryear? They came in two flavors: chocolate and yellow. With the… More…