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catherine lacey

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Earlier this month, Stony Brook announced plans to cut and condense several of their Humanities programs. We asked distinguished writers—professionals who have dedicated their lives to voicing thought—to weigh in on Stony Brook’s decision. They are poets, novelists, journalists, or a combination of both. Among them are two Pulitzer prizes, three Whiting Awards, three Guggenheim fellowships, and several other prestigious awards. Here’s what they had to say: “The future of this country is Latinx; for Stony Brook to cut these programs speaks to a profound shortsightedness and a cruel indifference to the communities the university purports to serve. Only someone with no knowledge of the past, present or future would consider these programs dispensable. And it is at precisely times like these, when Latinx communities everywhere in the nation are under attack by xenophobic politicians and nativist punks, that universities like Stony Brook should be championing the genius and centrality of…

Most people think my bookcase is chaos. I don’t organize my books alphabetically, chronologically, or by genre. But there is a system and to me, it somehow makes sense: I arrange my books according to what authors I think would enjoy each other’s company. Catherine Lacey resides next to Flannery O’Connor. Colson Whitehead next to Sherwood Anderson. Ann Beattie next to F. Scott Fitzgerald. In this unconventional and somewhat bizarre arrangement, living authors rub elbows with the dead. Until recently, I never gave the fact that I read contemporary novels much thought. I always regarded them as inseparable from the rest of literature, some even more compelling than certain classics. It was not until my American Literature professor informed the class that he refused to read contemporary novels that I realized such a literary proclivity even existed. When asked why, he said he’d rather read something that had “stood the…