If, as a student, you read a famous essayist’s work, and it is immediately accessible and seems like something you might be able to write yourself, it’s galvanizing. Constraints are great for art. So are deadlines. But even better is to legitimately say to yourself, “Really? That’s a great essay? Well, shit, I can do that.”
“Against Naming,” was selected by Anya Silver as the winner of New South’s 2016 Writing Contest. Check out her interview with Poetry Editor Anna Sandy, and read/listen to Julia’s prize-winning poem
One of the biggest issues I’ve noticed with full-length submissions here at New South is that of too much exposition. (Exposition, in case anyone doesn’t know the lingo, is a fancy word for background information.)
This kind of writing is a tenuous process. You are working these small, independent bits that have occurred over months or years into a narrative that builds to the summative emotion or knowledge that inspired you to write the essay in the first place, while trying to stay grounded in the emotion you experienced when these events first transpired.